11 Inspiring Feminist Quotes From Our Favorite Writers To Celebrate Women's History Month
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March 1 marks the beginning of Women's History Month, and what better way to kick it off than with some quotes of inspiration from some of our favorite modern women writers? Although we talk about amazing women every single day, all year round, there is still something special about a month-long celebration of women from every walk of life, every profession, every color, creed and sexuality, both past and present. Especially now, it is more important than ever for the work, accomplishments and words of women to be remembered, discussed, and acknowledged. Of course, now would be the perfect time to learn more about the women history forgot, but there are plenty of badass modern women who still deserve the spotlight, too.

We've got thoughts on creativity, feminism, career, life, and more from the likes of Amy Poehler, Zadie Smith, Roxane Gay, and Caitlin Moran — all beloved in their fields for bringing women's issues and thoughts on our modern lives to the forefront. Of course, the quotes below are as varied and unique as the women who wrote them, but all of them will inspire you to do better work, be bolder and braver, and embrace your unique brand of womanhood.

1Amy Poehler On Saying Yes

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“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”

― Amy Poehler, Yes Please

2Shonda Rhimes On Making Your Own Rules

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“There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.”

― Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

3Anna Kendrick On Not Being "Nice"

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“I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity. Those last three might seem like they are covered by 'nice,' but make no mistake, they are not. A person who smiles a lot and remembers everyone’s birthday can turn out to be undercover crazy, a compulsive thief, and boring to boot. I don’t put a lot of stock in nice. I’d prefer to be around people who have any of the above qualities over 'niceness,' and I’d prefer it if that applied to me, too.”

― Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody

4Zadie Smith On Finding Meaning

“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful... and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”

― Zadie Smith, On Beauty

5Lindy West On Saying No

“I say no to people who prioritize being cool over being good. I say no to misogynists who want to weaponize my body against me. I say no to men who feel entitled to my attention and reverence, who treat everything the light touches as a resource for them to burn. I say no to religious zealots who insist that I am less important than an embryo. I say no to my own instinct to stay quiet. It's a way of kicking down the boundaries that society has set up for women - be compliant, be a caregiver, be quiet — and erecting my own. I will do this; I will not do that. You believe in my subjugation; I don't have to be nice to you. I am busy. My time is not a public commodity.”

― Lindy West, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

6Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie On Being Feminist

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“I looked the word up in the dictionary, it said: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. My great-grandmother, from stories I’ve heard, was a feminist. She ran away from the house of the man she did not want to marry and married the man of her choice. She refused, protested, spoke up when she felt she was being deprived of land and access because she was female. She did not know that word feminist. But it doesn’t mean she wasn’t one. More of us should reclaim that word. The best feminist I know is my brother Kene, who is also a kind, good-looking, and very masculine young man. My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

7Mindy Kaling On Being Brave

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“People's reaction to me is sometimes 'Uch, I just don't like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.' But it's not that I think I'm so great. I just don't hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don't let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don't hate themselves. So that's why you need to be a little bit brave.”

― Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

8Roxane Gay On Why We Read And Write

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“I learned a long time ago that life introduces young people to situations they are in no way prepared for, even good girls, lucky girls who want for nothing. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you become the girl in the woods. You lose your name because another one is forced on you. You think you are alone until you find books about girls like you. Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.”

― Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

9Tina Fey On Speaking Boldly

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“MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, 'I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?' Make statements, with your actions and your voice.”

― Tina Fey, Bossypants

10Issa Rae On Reflections

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“You guys know about vampires? ... You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”

― Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

11Patti Smith On Possibility

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“In my way of thinking, anything is possible. Life is at the bottom of things and belief at the top, while the creative impulse, dwelling in the center, informs all.”

― Patti Smith, M Train