The 20 Best Feminist Quotes From 2014 That Will Inspire And Motivate You

If you can say one definite thing about 2014, it's that it was the unofficial year of feminism. The meaning behind feminism was something that was discussed by nearly every major player in Hollywood. The question "do you consider yourself a feminist?" was asked so often that it was almost weird when it wasn't brought up in an interview. While we saw many A-listers embrace the word feminism and all that it means, we also saw an unpleasant amount of celebs set the movement back a little bit (Shailene Woodley, what are you doing, girl?).

Feminism was such a major issue this year that TIME magazine even stated that the word needed to be taken out of our vocabulary (they later apologized for that statement, because why wouldn't they?). Even though it sometimes felt like stars were using their support of feminism as a way to gain popularity, it was still refreshing to see gender equality being discussed so often in the media.

There were so many great things said about feminism this year that are worth remembering, from both male and female celebrities. And while it was certainly amazing to hear some of our favorite famous dudes say great things about feminism (I'm looking at you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt), I wanted to focus on the inspirational things women had to say this year. The 20 best quotes about feminism in 2014 will leave you feeling motivated to try to make some sort of change in the world — or at least to stand up for what you believe in. Here's hoping 2015 is the year where we have even more inspiring quotes — and more importantly, significant changes to the way we view gender equality.

Emma Watson

After Emma Watson was named U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, she gave an incredible speech on feminism and gender equality to launch the HeForShe Campaign that earned her a standing ovation. Among the many things Emma said, this quote in particular stands out: “I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.”

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Lena Dunham

Lena has said and done so much for feminism that it’s hard to pick just one of her quotes. This year, her thoughts on feminism during an NPR interview really stood out for me: “My version of feminism is at its most basic level — it’s about equality. I think that so many women have been misinformed about what feminism means. They think it means growing out your armpit hair, burning your bras, and storming through the streets with a skewer ready to get men. What it actually means is you believe in human rights and women should be fairly compensated for the jobs that they do and that they should be [offered] the same opportunities and they shouldn’t be discriminated against or hurt because of their gender.”

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Taylor Swift

There was once a time when Taylor Swift said she wasn’t a feminist. In 2014, she seemed to change her stance completely, and instead of being against the word, she worked to inspire other women to be feminists as well. In an interview with The Guardian UK, Taylor had some great things to say: “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena — without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for — has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

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Claire Danes

When asked if she was a feminist in a Glamour interview, Claire said: “I am a feminist. And I’m so glad that Lena Dunham exists, because she is one too, and she’s quite vocal about it. Yes, women have more freedom and more influence than ever, but it’s hardly equal. It’s just not. It’s really f–king crazy. I’m sorry I’m cursing. But it’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood]. I have real anxiety about directing, and that’s something to question and challenge and correct.”

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Laverne Cox

This was Laverne Cox’s year, and she made an impact on so many different people. Although she had a lot of smart things to say, this was one of my favorite quotes from her, taken from Dame magazine: “I think transwomen, and transpeople in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be a man or woman on your own terms. A lot of what feminism is about is moving outside of roles and moving outside of expectations of who and what you’re supposed to be to live a more authentic life.”

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Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer hit the nail on the head when she discussed feminism and her role in The Tudors as Anne Boleyn: “Men still have trouble recognizing that a woman can be complex, can have ambition, good looks, sexuality, erudition, and common sense. A woman can have all those facets, and yet men, in literature and in drama, seem to need to simplify women, to polarize us as either the whore or the angel. That sensibility is prevalent, even to this day.”

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Roxane Gay

In her book Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay obviously had a lot of amazing things to say about feminism. This is one of my favorites, because it really explains how so many of us feel. We want to help, but we can’t all be perfect — and that’s OK. "I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I am right. I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world.”

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Chrissy Teigen

You might have a lot of opinions about Chrissy Teigen’s crazy Twitter statements, but you can’t argue with her quote about feminism: “People have sorely messed up the definition of feminism. It isn’t saying this is wrong and this is right. It’s having the power to do whatever the f–k you want. It’s about having your own beliefs and staying true to them.”

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Jenny Slate

Sometimes a long quote isn’t needed when you’re asked about whether or not you’re a feminist. Jenny Slate proved that point when she made this quote to MTV News: “Am I a feminist? F— yeah, I’m a feminist. I think that unfortunately people who are maybe threatened by feminism think that it’s about setting your bra on fire and being aggressive, and I think that’s really wrong and really dangerous.”

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Beyonce was another star who didn’t openly embrace feminism until this year — but once she did, she was pretty much unstoppable. In an essay about feminism she wrote for The Shriver Report, Bey had many notable things to say including these stand-out quotes: “Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.” She also said, “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more — commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”

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Amy Poehler

Will Amy Poehler ever not be on a list about amazing feminist quotes? I doubt it. She has said so many things that are inspirational to all feminists and women in general, but this one is particularly great, taken from her interview with Elle magazine. She was commenting on how some celebrities want to disassociate themselves with feminism: “Some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.”

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Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai made women everywhere proud with her thoughts on feminism. During her Forbes 30 Under 30 speech, she said: “It is the woman who controls the whole house…it’s her job, that’s what she’s supposed to do…We have to change this idea that women are not only supposed to work in the house…but she also has the ability to go outside and do business, to be a doctor, to be a teacher, to be an engineer, she should be allowed to have any job she likes. She should be treated equally, as men are.”

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Miley Cyrus

A slightly unexpected voice of feminism is Miley Cyrus, who is actually a passionate advocate for gender equality. In her interview with Tavi Gevinson for Elle magazine, she said: “I still don’t think we’re there 100 percent. I mean, guy rappers grab their crotch all f—ing day and have hos around them, but no one talks about it. But if I grab my crotch and I have hot model bitches around me, I’m degrading women? I’m a woman — I should be able to have girls around me! But I’m part of the evolution of that. I hope.”

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Leighton Meester

In an essay for the Huffington Post about her role in Of Mice and Men, Leighton spoke about feminism and sexism, saying, “If this woman is purely a victim, why is she so hated? And if she is truly harmless, why is she so threatening? Without question, it was a commentary on the social climate at the time, which still surprisingly applies today. But if sexism is one of the featured themes, why not say it?”

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Lupita Nyong'o

During her speech at the 7th Annual Black Women In Hollywood luncheon, Lupita Nyong’o said: “I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside, that there is no shade in that beauty.”

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Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner spoke at Elle’s Women In Hollywood event, and made headlines when she discussed the sexism that is still very real in Hollywood. She said, “I mean, the ‘Men in Hollywood’ event is every day. It’s called Hollywood. Fifty-one percent of the population should not have to schedule a special event to celebrate the fact that in an art that tells the story of what it means to be human and alive, we get to play a part!”

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Martha Plimpton

Martha Plimpton was one of the celebrities who talked about the stigma behind the word “feminism” in an essay to the New York Times : “I take a lot of pride in calling myself a feminist and always have. We’re going to have to insist on correcting bigotry as it happens, in real time. And fear of women’s equality, or the diminishment of it, is a kind of bigotry. I think it’s important to remove the stigma associated with women’s equality, and as such, yes, normalizing the word ‘feminist’ and making sure people know what it means is incredibly important, whether we’re talking to celebrities or anyone.”

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Reese Witherspoon

In an interview with Glamour , Reese Witherspoon said what many of us have been thinking about women who hate the word “feminism:” “I don’t really understand why a woman wouldn’t feel like she deserves equality, equal pay, equal rights. We need to just not only maintain the status quo but push forward and really continue the good fight for equality for people everywhere.”

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Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick was honest about how many of us have felt about the word feminism during an interview with The Daily Beast. She said: “It’s hard because words confuse me sometimes. There isn’t a word for a member of an ethnic minority who is pro equal rights for all races, but there is a word for gender equality — and that’s feminism. It’s a very female-centric word. I understand that the implication is that ‘I’m a woman who supports women’ and not ‘I’m a person who supports gender equality.’ I feel like the word can be appropriated by the wrong people for that reason and misinterpreted by those people, but you just have to fight back and own that word. It’s practically become a curse word… Why are we afraid of that word? It exists and we can’t get rid of it, so let’s fight for it and embrace it.”

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In her essay “We Should All Be Feminists,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says so many important things about feminism. The essay is worth reading on its own, but this comment sums up how we all feel: "In addition to being angry, I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better.”

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