20 Feminist Book Quotes That Will Reenergize You Right Now

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I don’t know about you, but I am SPENT right now. Everyday, there's a new fury-igniting headline (come to think of it, every hour, sometimes) to remind us of the regular injustices being committed, the lies we are being told, the immense work that needs to be done, and all the work that was done that is now being, systemically and furiously, undone by a White House administration and Congress who couldn’t be more disconnected from the American people (generally, no matter what side of the aisle your politics happen to fall on.) Could you use a little feminist inspiration right now? I certainly know I could.

You don’t need me to tell you there’s a lot to be angry about these days; a lot to be discouraged by, disheartened by, and terrified of. And, frankly, anger and frustration can be enormously exhausting. Being furious is a full time job.

At the same time, anger and frustration can be great catalysts for activating change. Angry people — as I seem to be reminded of regularly these days — have been known to change the world. But we don’t have to change the world alone. There are plenty of places and people (and books!) to turn to for some feminist inspiration and reenergizing (bonus: they’ll turn your attention away from the daily news, at least for a few minutes.) Here are 22 feminist book quotes that’ll help reenergize you right now.

“I'm tired, very weary, and I cry for my sisters. Tears get nothing, of course. One needs a generation of warriors who can't be tired out or bought off. Each woman needs to take what she endures and turn it into action. With every tear, accompanying it, one needs a knife to rip a predator apart; with every wave of fatigue one needs another platoon of strong, tough women coming up over the horizon to take more land, to make it safe for women. I'm willing to count the inches.”

"I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent's tongue — my woman's voice, my sexual voice, my poet's voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”

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— from Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldua

“Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing.”

― from Room by Emma Donoghue

“Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not 'if only.' Not 'as long as.' I matter equally. Full stop.”

"You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise."

— from "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”

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“So much of feminism has been women speaking up about hitherto unacknowledged experiences and so much of antifeminism has been men telling them these things don’t happen. ‘You were not just raped,’ your rapist may say, and then if you persist there may be death threats because killing people is the easy way to be the only voice in the room.”

— from The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

“The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist, and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.”

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“Women are interesting and important in real life. They are not an afterthought of nature, they are not secondary players in human destiny, and every society has always known that.”

― from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Asking for a system that was built for the express purpose of oppression to ‘um, please stop oppressing me?’ is nonsense work. The only task worth doing is fully dismantling and replacing that system.”

— from Why I Am Not A Feminist by Jessa Crispin

“Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most— those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them — have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation. Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.”

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“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.”

― from The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde

“Great minds may have cold hearts. Form but no color. It is an incompleteness. And so they are afraid of any woman who both thinks and feels deeply.”

— from Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

“No wonder they invented the myth of female inadequacy."

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— from Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

“One sure test of social privilege is how much anger you get to express without the threat of expulsion, arrest, or social exclusion.”

“At the time of this writing, Donald Trump seeks the Republican nomination supported largely by a bunch of angry white people who sense where history is going and DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL and are therefore hoping that if they punch and shove enough brown people, it will fix it. Perhaps when you read this, Donald Trump will be president or maybe superking. But even if that happens, he shall pass. Time does not go backward.”

“I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

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— from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

“The ability to feel the anger and convey it to others is itself the transformative experience for many women. Women’s anger spurs creativity and drives innovation in politics and social change, and it always has.”

“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts, a free society dies or cannot be born.”

― from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

“To the rebel girls of the world: / Dream bigger / Aim higher / Fight harder / And, when in doubt, remember / You are right”

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— from Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli