7 Feminist Quotes From The 1990s That Are Still Relevant Today
Honestly, trying to pair down my favorite feminist quotes from 1990s to just a selective little list was really, really hard. Because yeah, a lot changes in 20 years. I became a person, for example. But the '90s were, in many ways, a launching pad for the cultural touchstones around which we currently structure our lives. The '90s were the bomb, especially for feminism and strong female characters in pop culture. It was rad. Thanks, decade of the '90s!
Now, most of the quotes from this list are direct pop culture references — songs, movies, television shows — because what I think was so incredible about the '90s was the surge of empowering, feminist-minded media. It wasn't just pundits and writers (though, don't get me wrong, pundits and writers are always important, and the '90s had plenty of great feminist ones around) voicing their opinions. Girl groups, ensemble theater pieces, and female-led TV were also weighing in on important issues, and doing it with some flair and a sense of humor.
While I think that, for the most part, these quotes are pretty recognizable and self-explanatory, the first on this list may need a little context. It's from Thelma & Louise, a 1991 movie starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis that is, in my opinion, the definitive anthem for female friendship. It's in reference to an attempted rape. It's said by a woman protecting another woman. It was important then, and it's especially important now.
So are the rest of these quotes. Thanks for the lessons, '90s — because they're all still worth learning.
1. "In the future, when a woman is crying like that, she isn't having any fun."
― Louise Sawyer, Thelma & Louise (written by Callie Khouri)
2. “To love women, to love our vaginas, to know them and touch them and be familiar with who we are and what we need. To satisfy ourselves, to teach our lovers to satisfy us, to be present in our vaginas, to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so they cannot be ravaged in the dark without great consequence, so that our center, our point, our motor, our dream, is no longer detached, mutilated, numb, broken, invisible, or ashamed.”
― Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues
3. "The hardest thing to do in the world is live in it. Be brave. Live."
― Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ( created by Joss Whedon)
4. "You don't have to hold onto the pain to hold onto the memory."
― Janet Jackson, singer/songwriter
5. "People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even. But every so often I'll have, like, a moment, where just being myself in my life right where I am is, like, enough."
― Angela Chase, My So-Called Life (created by Winnie Holzman)
6. "I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time."
― Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You (written by Karen McCullah and Kristen Smith)
7. "BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real."
― Kathleen Hanna, Riot Grrl Manifesto