15 Powerful Author Quotes About Feminism, Equality, And Empowerment

From pop stars to politicians, actresses to activists, famous people everywhere proudly identify themselves as feminists and share their beliefs with the world, but what about the writers of the world? It only takes a few author quotes about feminism to prove the literary world knows a thing or two about female equality, too.

Whether they're penning a novel or answering interview questions, giving a commencement speech or lecturing a creative writing class, authors choose every word they share with the world carefully. Their sentences are crafted considerately, their expressions chosen with great care, and their messages cautiously woven into each and every typed or spoken phrase they produce, especially when that message is one of feminism, equality, and empowerment. Because being a feminist is hard work — it takes thoughtfulness, openness, dedication, and action — but being a feminist author is even harder.

Being a feminist author means working, one word at a time, towards equality for women everywhere. It means creating empowered characters, crafting defenses for the equal rights of women, and critiquing the status quo. It means dismantling the patriarchy, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, and it means making feminism understandable and accessible for readers everywhere.

Just how do they do it? It may not be easy, but here are 15 author quotes about feminism that show just how powerful a feminist pen to the paper can be.

1. “The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.”

― Simone de Beauvoir

2. “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’”

— Toni Morrison

3. "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."

— Audre Lorde

4. "Very early on in writing the series, I remember a female journalist saying to me that Mrs Weasley, ‘Well, you know, she’s just a mother.’ And I was absolutely incensed by that comment. Now, I consider myself to be a feminist, and I’d always wanted to show that just because a woman has made a choice, a free choice to say, ‘Well, I’m going to raise my family and that’s going to be my choice. I may go back to a career, I may have a career part time, but that’s my choice.’ Doesn’t mean that that’s all she can do. And as we proved there in that little battle, Molly Weasley comes out and proves herself the equal of any warrior on that battlefield."

— J.K. Rowling

5. "My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it’s very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do."

— Ani DiFranco

6. "I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves."

— Mary Shelley

7. " 'Why do men feel threatened by women?' I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. 'I mean,' I said, 'men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.' 'They're afraid women will laugh at them,' he said. 'Undercut their world view.' Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, 'Why do women feel threatened by men?' 'They're afraid of being killed,' they said."

— Margaret Atwood

8. “There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver.”

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

9. "I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman."

— Anaïs Nin

10. "Maybe some women don’t find happiness at home. Maybe some women do find happiness in their careers. Or in unprofitable art. Or in providing for their families. Or in being alone. There isn’t a singular goal for any person—man or woman—and yet feminism has sold us this prepackaged notion of success that, when you open it up, is totally undefined. And I think that’s my main problem with Slaughter’s article—that she tries to come to a conclusion about this thing that is almost entirely without definition.”

— Lindy West

11. "So take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require (and how much you need to pay) in order to become creatively legitimate."

— Elizabeth Gilbert

12. "Above all, be the heroine of your own life."

— Nora Ephron

13. "I'm a feminist. I've been a female for a long time now. It'd be stupid not to be on my own side."

— Maya Angelou

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