A bit misleading, since I'm not gonna attempt my own. But I thought it might be interesting at this juncture to introduce some others' thoughts on the subject.
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
-Rebecca West, British writer, speaking in 1913
Feminism is a belief that although women and men are inherently of equal worth, most societies privilege men as a group. As a result, social movements are necessary to achieve political equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies.
"A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men."
- Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. Magazine, leader of the Women's Movement.
Feminism has as its goal to give every woman "the opportunity of becoming the best that her natural faculties make her capable of."
--Millicent Garrett Fawcett, 1878
A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.
-Michelle Le Doeuff
"Along with many contemporary feminists, I reject the reductionist concept of Patriarchy... not because it is too radical and confronting...but because it is not radical enough and does not confront its own silencing or marginalized women who do not always suffer primarily from or personally prioritize gender oppression.
-Val Plumwood, "Does Ecofeminism Need the Master Subject?"
"...Thus, when feminism was the preserve of a tiny band of the committed few, who suffered gladly the contempt of the world, the intense solidarity of sisterhood was relatively easy to maintain. But as the movement broadened its appeal and drew in not only the daughters of the men of 1789, but some of the daughters of the servants of the men of 1789 and even the daughters of the slaves, sharp differences of opinion and allegiance began to make themselves felt. Could it be that the feminist 'revolution' shared a family likeness with its grandparent, the bourgeois revolution?
...All these reflections led me to some disturbing questions. For if feminism could no longer be seen to be the obvious and reasonable interpretaion of womens' experience...then what is it founded on? It began to seem that the term 'faith' to describe these convictions was a more appropriate metaphor than we had realized. For whatever its undoubted foundation in an experiential reality of female life, it was becoming clear there must be something else at work in the process that results in some women becoming feminists while others do not."
--Angela West, "Deadly Innocence: Feminism and the Mythology of Sin"
Living life as an African American woman is a necessary prerequisite for producing black feminist thought, because within black women’s communities thought is validated and produced with reference to a particular set of historical, material, and epistemological conditions.
--Patricia Hill Collins
One of the greatest gifts of Black feminism to ourselves has been to make it a little easier simply to be Black and female.
Womanist is to Feminist as purple is to lavender
"Feminism is a struggle to end sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates
Western culture on various levels."
- bell hooks, "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women & Feminism"
"A feminist is a person who answers "yes" to the question, "Are women human?" Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men. And it's certainly not about trading personal liberty--abortion, divorce, sexual self-expression--for social protection...It's about justice, fairness, and access to the broad range of human experience. It's about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class
with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It's about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others... "
"Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings"
-Cheris Kramerae, author of A Feminist Dictionary, 1996.
Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others. ~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise
"It's important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It's the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It's the way we talk about and treat one another. It's who makes the money and who makes the compromises and who makes the dinner. It's a state of mind. It's the way we live now.”
To tell a woman everything she may not do is to tell her what she can do. ~Spanish Proverb
Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human. ~Robin Morgan
Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths. ~Lois Wyse
The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. ~Roseanne Barr
"Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word." ~Elizabeth Bibesco
"Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women's opportunities, not to limit them."
My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without the restriction of externally imposed definition."
"There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "Poor dear, it's probably PMS."' Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "What an asshole." Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole." --Molly Ivins