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23 Ways Gloria Steinem Taught Us To Be Better Women

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Without Gloria Steinem's passionate zest for change and equality, women would not be where we are today.

To celebrate the feminist author, activist and all-around awe-inducing goddess on her 81st birthday, we've compiled some of her best quotes and lessons from over the years.

Here are 23 things Gloria has taught us:

1. Logic trumps all:

"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

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2. Never lose sight of your dreams:

"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

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3. Ask questions, be curious, stay hungry for answers:

"God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there's no turning back."

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4. Don't be afraid to use some muscle:

"Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself."

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5. Seek out knowledge whenever you can:

"We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach."

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6. Everything you read isn't always true:

"Most women's magazines simply try to mold women into bigger and better consumers."

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7. Stay grounded:

"A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space."

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8. Even if we don't want to, sometimes we need to hear it:

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

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9. Don't take everything at face value:

"The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn."

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10. Feminism really is for everyone:

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

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11. Don't be afraid to try new things:

“So whatever you want to do, just do it...Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential.”

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12. Not everyone's going to like you and it's O.K. to be O.K. with that:

“Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.”

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13. Women work their asses off:

"If women could sleep their way to the top, there'd be a lot more women at the top."

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14. Feminism is only one part of a greater whole:

“Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie."

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15. Keep growing, keep moving:

"The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving."

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16. The women's movement is not the only one we need to support:

“This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism."

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17. We can learn so much from the people around us:

“Each others' lives are our best textbooks.”

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18. The female anatomy is truly amazing (and unique):

“I didn’t hear words that were accurate, much less prideful. For example, I never once heard the word clitoris. It would be years before I learned that females possessed the only organ in the human body with no function than to feel pleasure. (If such an organ were unique to the male body, can you imagine how much we would hear about it—and what it would be used to justify?)”

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19. We need to love and support one another in order to succeed:

"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood."

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20. We cannot achieve full equality until men are given the same opportunities as women in all areas of life:

"Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it."

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21. Value our differences:

"For women… bras, panties, bathing suits, and other stereotypical gear are visual reminders of a commercial, idealized feminine image that our real and diverse female bodies can’t possibly fit. Without these visual references, each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms. We stop being comparatives. We begin to be unique."

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22. Gender Roles are bullsh*t:

"I would say that each of us has only one thing to gain from the feminist movement: Our whole humanity. Because gender has wrongly told us that some things are masculine and some things are feminine... which is bullshit."

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23. Understand the importance of sisterhood:

“I thought [black women] invented the feminist movement. I know we all have different experiences, but I learned feminism disproportionately from black women.”

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This post previously included a quote from a 1977 article by Steinem in reference to members of the transgender community. Although she later clarified those comments in 2013, we have substituted another quotation out of consideration for some of our readers.

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