On being inspired by others

By Jen Thorpe

On my bedside table I have a tiny book that sits next to my bed which contains quotes written down from books over the past few years. In fact, here is a picture of it.

It is only a little book, and the quotes are only written in pencil. It is covered in wrapping paper from a gift someone gave me. All in all, it is fairly inconspicuous.

Inside this book are all the clever things that writers more talented and wise than me have said. This book is what I read when I am feeling like a little motivation boost (it is like a cup of coffee before a long day, without any of the health risks).

So today I wanted to share some of the clever things that are in my quotes book, and hopefully get you to share some of your favourite quotes that inspire you.

Here goes:

Abbie Hoffmann:

Democracy is not something that you believe in, or something that you hang your hat on. It’s something that you do, you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles and falls. If you participate, you win, and the future is yours. (my emphasis)

JK Rowling:

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

Jennifer Di Marco:

…there are forces in the world that can take away women’s rights. They can invalidate our love, beat us down, rape us, make up our minds for us. These forces insist that all strong women only undermine men, and that all lesbians hate men altogether. They insist that if we’re beautiful, we must be stupid and if we don’t take extreme measures to stop their rape then we are to blame.

A lot can be taken away from a woman. A lot can be done to break her. Fear is a disease, and hatred and violence are the symptoms. There are those who wish to crush us, defeat us. But we must not, we will not, grant their wishes. Together all women must rise up. We must take our stand in unity and power. Raise our voices against the darkness. Then, instead of being crushed, we will stand strong. Instead of being defeated, we will be victorious. We will conquer hate.

I will never forget these facts. I will never for an instant doubt. Because through the fear, the hatred and violence, we are indeed standing strong in our victory. We are surviving. (my emphasis)

Abra Fortune Chernik:

As long as society resists female power, fashion will call healthy women physically flawed. As long as society accepts the physical, sexual and economic abuse of women, popular culture will prefer women who resemble little girls.

As young feminists, we must place unconditional acceptance of our bodies at the top of our political agenda. We must claim our bodies as our own to love and honour in their infinite shapes and sizes. Fat, think, soft, hard, puckered, smooth, our bodies are our homes. By nourishing our bodies, we care for and love ourselves on the most basic level. When we deny ourselves physical food, we go hungry emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and politically. We must challenge ourselves to eat and digest, and allow society to call us too big. We will understand their message to mean too powerful.

Rebecca Walker:

Sex in silence and filled with shame is sex where our agency is denied. This is sex where we, young women, are powerless and at the mercy of our own desires. For give our bodies what they want and crave, for exploring ourselves and others, we are punished like Eve reaching for more knowledge. We are called sluts and whores. We are considered impure or psychotic…we must decide that this is no longer acceptable, for sex is one of the places where we do our learning solo…

…The question is not whether young women are going to have sex, for this is far beyond any parental or societal control. The question is rather, what do young women need to make sex a dynamic, affirming, safe and pleasurable part of our lives?

Sharon Lennon:

Alienation is a key ingredient to keeping girls and women performing according to plan. It’s the backup system just in case the initial instructions on being female don’t sink in.

Jennifer Reid Maxcy Myhre

If she doesn’t follow the rules she is labelled unfeminine, manlike, butch. These are words that provoke immediate recoil. These are words that anti-feminists have used to keep women silent. They are words we must learn not to be afraid of.

We are called masculine when we act as we please, when we take control of our bodies and lives, when we speak loud and refused to be silenced, when we assert the dignity of our person and our right to self-determination, when we are ambitious, courageous, sex and proud…we are called butch when we become indifferent to the male gaze. We are called masculine and butch in order to keep us in our place, to scare us, to gag and silence us.

I refuse to live my life in a box labelled ‘female’. In my more ambitious and perhaps foolishly hopeful moments, I imagine a world in which there is no simple categorisation by sex, no gender, but only people.

Germaine Greer:

Even if it had been real, equality would have been a poor substitute for liberation. Fake equality is leading women into double jeopardy.

Liberation struggles are not about assimilation but about asserting difference, endowing that difference with dignity and prestige, and insisting on it as a condition of self-definition and self-determination.

If equality means entitlement to an equal share of the profits of economic tyranny, it is irreconcilable with liberation. Freedom in an unfree world is merely license to exploit.

Alison Jaggar:

If we are sincerely concerned with ending the subordination of all women, feminists cannot afford unquestioned assumptions, orthodoxies or dogmatic commitments to positions alleged to be ‘politically correct’.

Mmatshilo Motsei:

Rape is a message from one man to another.

George Orwell:

Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think; orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

So now it’s your turn. What are some quotes that lead you to act, to think more positively, to live in the world in a way that empowers you and others?


1 thought on “On being inspired by others”

  1. choice is a very loaded word.choice depends a lot on what you know is possible.there do have to be choices indicated.some people actually seem to invent their choices,but i think that more often we learn about a possibility and think:i could do that,or,i don’t want to do that,i don’t want to be like that…adrienne rich


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