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Famous Feminists Throughout History

If you take birth control, vote, read, or are LGBTQ, you probably should tip your hat to some of the most famous feminists throughout history.

By Jules FortmanPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

Feminism has made huge changes in the way women and men live life — all for the better. Feminists made it possible for women to vote, giving children the ability to be raised by single parents away from abusive partners, and also helped promote sexual health for everyone.

If you have ever reaped the rewards of feminism, then you have a lot of activists from the past to thank. Some of the most famous feminists throughout history have both directly and indirectly engineered the world we now have. Next time you grab birth control or voice your political opinion, think of the hard work these individuals preformed in order for that right to be yours for the use.

Susan B. Anthony

Perhaps one of the most famous feminists throughout history to champion a specific cause, Susan B. Anthony was most heavily linked to fighting for the women's right to vote. Had it not been for Anthony and her suffragettes, we may not have had the chance to vote against politicians who would want to take away our rights.

It's also worth noting that Susan B. Anthony was a leader in the abolitionist movement as well. So, even at the beginning of feminist history in the US, feminism was tied in with civil rights as a movement that promoted political egalitarianism.

Simone De Beauvoir

Simone De Beauvoir was one of the greatest feminist authors of the 20th century, and her books were regularly directed at pointing out the hypocrisy of patriarchy. The Second Sex was so bold in its statements, it was even banned by the Catholic Church and cited as "pornography."

Along with being in an open relationship with Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir also made waves by openly speaking out against slut-shaming single mothers.

Gloria Steinem

Ms. magazine founder and all-around social activist Gloria Steinem was one of the biggest feminist names during the Civil Rights movement. She was both one of the most famous feminists throughout history, as well as a famous anti-war and civil rights spokesperson.

If you're sick of slut-shaming, have had an abortion, or are thankful for being able to buy birth control, Gloria Steinem is one of the names you need to thank.

Dorothy Pitman Hughes

Gloria Steinem's close friend and fellow Ms. founder, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, is also one of the most famous feminists throughout history's battle for equal rights. She's considered to be one of the first intersectional feminists and one of the most famous female leaders of the Civil Rights movement.

In her time, she's been a child welfare advocate, a groundbreaking business owner, a public speaker, and one of the most outspoken advocate for women's rights in recent decades. We can all respect that — and hope to achieve as much.

Mary Wollstonecraft

One of the first women to question men's superiority in (relatively) modern times was Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century writer with one titled "A Vindication of Rights of Women," which rejected the notion that women are somehow lesser to men.

She's one of the most well-known feminist philosophers in the 18th century, and had it not been for her trailblazing, many of the most famous feminists throughout history would never have had the courage to speak up.

Betty Friedan

In the 1950s and 1960s, a strange phenomenon happened with women throughout America. They suffered "the problem with no name," also known as depression due to being forced to live lifestyles that had nothing to do with what they wanted for themselves.

Betty Friedan became one of the most famous feminists throughout history because she had the guts to admit that society had a problem with the way women were being treated. Her earth-shattering book, The Feminine Mystique, was credited with starting the feminist resurgence of the 60s.

Marlene Dietrich

There was a point in recent history where women really weren't supposed to wear pants — ever. That's why one of the earlier feminists in Hollywood was the blonde bombshell known as Marlene Dietrich. She was one of the first women to break the taboo of wearing a suit on camera, and once was almost arrested for wearing a suit in public.

If it wasn't for Marlene Dietrich, the idea of women wearing suits, pants, or jeans would never have been acceptable. From her, many fashionistas were able to find the confidence to dress for themselves and the image they wanted, rather than the men who told them how to dress.

Dietrich wasn't the only lady who had this idea. Coco Chanel, a fellow feminist, also regularly took care to dress ladies in pants when most others would have scoffed at the idea.

Malala Yousafzai

Girls like Malala Yousafzai prove that the kids are alright, too. She was a vocal activist promoting women's right to education and careers in her home country of Pakistan when terrorists shot her in the head near her school. She survived, and continued her mission.

Today, Malala Yousafzai is one of the most daring and outspoken feminists in the world. Though she's not even 25, Malala Yousafzai has spoken at the United Nations and become one of the top leaders in education-related feminism.

Sojourner Truth

While many of the more famous feminists throughout history came from well-heeled backgrounds, Sojourner Truth started her life as a slave. After 30 years of slavery, she was set free — and she used this freedom to advocate women's rights, as well as the right of slaves to be free.

Over the years, she touched thousands of people and spread the idea that all men and women were created equal. She became one of the most famous abolitionists of all time, and also was one of the oldest role models for the women's suffrage movement.


About the Creator

Jules Fortman

Modern feminist making moves one pink hat at a time.

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