September 8, 2018

10 Quotes by Radical Women for the Women I Love.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on

I’m not a big fan of quotes.

I know, it’s paradoxical: I am an editor of a mindful magazine (yes, the one you are reading right now) whose social media presence almost relies on inspirational, uplifting, and mindful quotes by people “who get it.”

I find quotes often too easy; they compress large pieces and thoughts into tiny, likable form. Something too simple. To describe a book by a single quote is like judging an entire album by its hit single. The most famous quotes have a tendency to become flat clichés, which often lose their initial power. Also, sometimes quotes make zero sense (my pet peeves are the “unknown” source ones).

However, I have to eat my own words now. I’ve been uplifted by quotes lately. I’ve found my own niche, my specific area of quotes that I highly resonate with. Let’s call it Quotes by Powerful Women.

I know, this is a hot topic right now—especially after all the Women’s Marches, #metoo movement, Rupi Kaur’s and Warshan Shire‘s boom in poetry, Beyonce’s Lemonade, Michelle Obama’s soon-to-be-published autobiography, and the refreshing rise of social media-based feminism.

Personally, I’m loving it. Last year I found a poet whose words made so much sense that I even tattooed “A” on my arm to stand for her name, Audre Lorde.

The funny thing about the quote world is that most of the famous ones about writing, success, art, creativity, or mindfulness are written by men. Of course, there are some exceptions, as like the beautiful, powerful Maya Angelou, the Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, and everyone’s favorite Brené Brown, but still, an awful lot of the quotes that you find on the internet on pages like Goodreads or BrainyQuote or by just googling with your favourite keywords, are written by men.

As one of Elephant Journal‘s Instagram content makers, I spend a good chunk each week writing and finding powerful words. Since I realized the lack of female voices, I started making an active effort to find the ones outside of our patriarchal history choir. And boom. There are many!

Here are my current top 10 favorite quotes by radically forward-thinking, brave, and creative women, for women:

“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.” ~ Hélène Cixous

“Your silence will not protect you.” ~ Audre Lorde

“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.” ~ Audre Lorde

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” ~Virginia Woolf

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” ~ Michelle Obama

“Girls should never be afraid to be smart.” ~ Emma Watson

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” ~ Sara Blakely

“To the young women who aspire to leadership and public service, I say: Believe in the power of your voices & your potential to make change.” ~ Kamala Harris

“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” ~ Warsan Shire

And my ultimate, all-time favourite:

“I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.” 

~ Maya Angelou

Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sara Kärpänen  |  Contribution: 15,000

author: Sara Kärpänen

Image: @elephantjournal Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video