8 Sexist Quotes By Powerful People That Will Make You Cringe

As often as we think we’re moving closer toward equality as a society, someone comes around and screws it up. Sexism is prevalent everywhere we look. It’s on the streets, it’s even in our pens and yogurt.

And powerful people keep making sexist remarks, which it’s like, you’re in the public eye. STOPPPP. Alex Bilmes, editor of Esquire UK, said in a recent panel on sexism in the media that “The women that we feature in the magazine are ornamental.” Last I checked, having a vagina doesn’t make you a Christmas tree decoration.

Other gems from Bilmes’ panel include, “Women are objects,” and “I could lie to you and say they’re interested in their brains as well, but on the whole, we’re not. They’re there to be beautiful objects. They’re objectified.”

Bilmes isn’t the only one to say something cringe-worthy. I even found a few women who said things that made me shudder. But when you look up “sexist women quotes” you turn up “sexiest women” so…there’s that.

Check out these 8 powerful people making powerfully sexist comments:

Marissa Mayer, President & CEO Yahoo

Pretty sure feminism gave you the equal opportunities to allow you to run a huge corporation but whatever.

Photo Source: Drew Altizer / WENN.com

Pat Robertson, Founder Christian Broadcasting Network, ABC Family, Etc.

Yeah Pat, that's exactly right.

Photo Source: WENN.com

Katy Perry, Pop Star

Come onnnnnnn! Our girl icon is not a feminist, but I think she doesn't know what it means.

Photo Source: FayesVision/WENN.com

Rush Limbaugh, Political Talk Show Host

This also coming from a guy who called a woman a slut because she wanted birth control.

Photo Source: WENN.com

Sally Kern, Oklahoma State Legislator

Nothing like women saying women don't work as hard as men!

Photo Source: Oklahoma House

Todd Akin, Missouri Senator

He later said that he "misspoke," which I think is a grand understatement.

Photo Source: Ted Akin Facebook

Ted Turner, Founder CNN

Well, at least your wife still loves you I guess...until you behead her.

Photo Source: HRC/ WENN

Michael Caine, Actor & Author

Holy sexism, Batman! I don't think Bruce Wayne would be happy about this, Alfred.

Photo Source: WENN.com

Which quote do you think is the worst? Have you heard anything worse than these? Tell me in the comments!

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  • So you won’t process my comment? There’s a surprise…

  • well I know I’m gonna get banned but y’know, fuck it and all that jazz.
    Not a feminist. So Sexist.

    You people are fucking moronic.

    I’m surprised you ever even got a website running, let alone learned the keyboards use.

  • Rivka

    Some of these quotes are not sexist, but are rather examples of confusion over the meaning of the word “feminist”.
    Yes, the correct meaning of “feminist” might mean believing in equal rights for all, but some people think that feminism means hating men, or something like that. Often when people, especially women, say they’re not feminist, they just mean that they don’t hate men, etc. Misuse of the word “feminist” and genuine sexism are different things.

    On the other hand, some other quotes here are sexist, through and through.

  • lucas

    and besides, most of these things aren’t sexist, they are just wrong. No one is saying something sexist like “women shouldn’t vote”.

    • Donutgirl

      It is sexist though, do your research before you speak

  • lucas

    saying that your not a feminist doesn’t mean that your a misogynist, it just means that you are selfish. selfish in the sense that you don’t care. if you are going to start judging people about how much they do for a cause then us keyboard commandos wont appreciate well.

  • Chris

    Then you’re a feminist. You don’t have to be an activist to be a feminist.

  • Catherine Denis

    Can I be a feminist and a pretty princess at the same time?
    Stereotypical feminism says I can’t, which I don’t like.

    • Chris

      Then maybe you should stop giving credence to stereotypes.

      • Donutgirl


    • Donutgirl

      You can of course be what you want to be and how you want to be, just don’t be sexist, racist, a serial killer or anything like that.
      I know it’s 4 years later but…

  • Sparkling

    LISTEN, geniuses, a real feminist is someone who wants men and women to have EQUAL rights. I can’t believe how many of you think that feminists want women to have more rights than men. The whole reason feminism became a movement was to get women the rights that men already had but they didn’t.

  • Stephanie

    Katy Perry needs to find out what a feminist actually is. A feminist is someone who believes that men and women should be treated equally. I dont see what is so hard to understand about that and I think its sad that in todays society people still think that feminists are all men hating lesbians. Without feminism people like Katy Perry would never have the chance to perform or earn the amount of money she does. Without feminism all of us would be stuck in the house- bound to a future of cleaning, cooking and looking after children while men would be expected to work and earn money. There’s nothing wrong with this but the point is that both sexes shouldnt be confined to this one way of life. Everyone should have the chance to do what they want and im sorry if some people think this is unreasonable but for some strange reason I believe it and consider myself a feminist. And whats wrong with talking about it? It only raises awareness so the next generation makes even more progress in acheving this goal.

  • LittleRedWolfGirl

    Please actually READ this, don’t just skim through it and process only parts of it and take it out of context! That happens FAR too often and it causes serious communication problems!

    It seems a lot of you don’t understand what feminism is really about. It’s not about women’s rights over others. It’s about equality for ALL. I’m a proud feminist, and I want to get rid of gender stereotypes for guys and girls, I want to get rid of homophobia and racism, and all other forms of prejudice. Being a feminist isn’t a bad thing. It’s not about being an angry man-hater. When you want equality, and want to get rid of discrimination, that by definition makes you a feminist. It’s not about labels, it’s about reality. The problem is the negative stigma placed on the word ‘feminist’ by people like Pat Robinson who are so freaking afraid of strong women, and women’s rights. They’ve tried to make it seem like a bad thing to be called a feminist, and it makes a lot of people (celebrities included) afraid to call themselves feminist. Yes, it started with the women’s rights movement, and was focused on women, but it’s so much more than that now. The point this site often tries to make (but I feel it falls on deaf ears, so to speak) is that by saying “I’m not a feminist,” you’re basically saying “I’m not for equality,” since, as I said above, being a feminist means wanting true equality.

    • Donutgirl


  • Popcorn

    I read somewhere that being a feminism is wanting to be treated equally and wanting to be taken seriously as a person and as a woman. So I think, that being my definition, that many girls are feminists, because I think (and hope!) that all girls want to be taken seriously and want to earn the same amount of money as a man for the same job.

    I also think its very outrageous to say that Gloria Steinem sat around and complained about not being equal, because the 70s and 60s were turning points for women’s rights, and we might still have been only seen as objects that give birth. She started a magazine that expressed her and the opinion of many women like her, and she began a movement that allows us now, as girls, to hold any job we want and to be able to say that we won’t be held back by stereotypes.

    However, now, feminism is different; it involves showing that we can do the same thing as men, and as we slowly break down more and more barriers, it will send a message of capability. It is definitely more subtle than the parades and marches of 40 years ago, but it can be equally effective, and we need to think about what people like those in the slideshow say: are they being supportive of our right to progress? Will it hold us back? If not, then we need to say so; it will make us stronger.

  • Nat

    A feminist does not have to be someone who actively fights for women’s rights.
    A feminist is just someone who supports and believes that women deserve equal rights.
    Therefore, Katy Perry stating she is not a feminist, entails she does not support equal rights for women, meaning her statement is, in fact, sexist.

    It is likely that she does not understand the meaning of being a feminist.

    Anyways, every time a very public female figure says she is not a feminist, it further pushes the stereotype that feminisn is dead/not needed anymore/has not been instrumental in helping women/is about hating men/is not for “pretty women” etc.

    Every time I see Gurls here say they refuse feminism, it deeply upsets me. We would be critical if someone did not label themselves as pro-gay rights or pro-black rights. pro-women’s rights = feminism. We should get just as mad when people do not want to label themselves as that because it means they do not support equal rights for women.
    That is not the same as pushing the label on someone.

  • Rebekah

    Hey girls, I think we have all started to get the wrong idea about feminism. I think Katy Perry and Marissa Mayer are feminists even if they don’t think they are. Just like you guys are feminists even though you don’t think you are. Like what Leigh said (“Feminism didn’t make Marissa Mayer the CEO of Google — determination did.”) which is true, just saying you’re a feminist doesn’t make you successful, but actions do. But she did believe that she had that right to become something even though she was a women, she had the right to compete with men for a CEO title, she believed in herself. Don’t you see that if it wasn’t for feminism she couldn’t have done that. She would have been laughed at, and ridiculed. If you believe that men are not equal or that women are better than men, YOU ARE NOT A FEMINIST. Feminism is strictly about equality between both genders, no one should have more opportunities not guys or girls, but we each should still get opportunities.

  • Leigh

    I agree with Charlotte.

    I’m not a feminist BECAUSE of women like Marissa Mayer who aren’t feminists. Feminism didn’t make Marissa Mayer the CEO of Google — determination did. Feminism, to me, implies a lot of spinning your wheels about inequality and sexism. (Misogyny is another matter entirely.) Sexism will remain a societal institution as long as women are sitting around talking about it. More women need to do what Marissa Mayer does — fight for equality through action. Marissa Mayer’s position is one small step toward putting women in equal authority as men in our society, and she didn’t get there by harping on how sexist society is. She went out, fought the odds, and did it. THAT is a role model for women, not someone like Gloria Steinem who sits around and complains about her inability to be equal to men rather than fighting her way to the top.

    • Charlotte

      Well said.

    • Nat

      Pointing out sexism in our society, and working to fix it is not “complaining.”
      Marissa Mayer got her position because of the gains feminism has made. Not acknowledging that would be ignorant. Now that she has her position, she can ignore what helped her get there? I don’t think so.

      • Chris

        Now that was actually well-said. Marissa Mayer and Leigh can pretend they got to wherever they are all by their lonesome, but not 40 years ago, societal inertia would have absolutely precluded them from reaching their current positions. Women (and men) who argued and fought and continue to argue and fight for equal treatment paved the way. Feminism means determinism for all. If you say you’re not a feminist but you’re still in favor of equal treatment and equal opportunity, then you’re just afraid of the label, which is pathetic.

  • Lanah

    I don’t consider Katy Perry sexist for that statement, nor do I consider Marissa Mayer sexist. I am not feminist, but that is because I feel that everyone should be equal. I don’t support the equal rights of one group over another. That doesn’t mean I don’t support women’s rights, and I feel like there is a possibility these two women feel the same.

    • dark_moon258@yahoo.com

      You must not know what femminism founding values were. The first femminists became so in order to achieve equal voting rights. The second wavers (circa 60’s-90’s) were for equal pay and job opporitunities. So in actuallity being a femminist doesn’t mean your for women’s rights over another genders’ just like being for animal rights doesn’t mean your more for animals over humans. I say I’m a femminist and I’m for animal and human rights (in a sense I’m for every right except for the right to be a douche-bag.)

  • Anna

    “If you’re not a feminist, you’re a masochist.” – Gloria Steinem

  • Rose

    Dude can we stop labeling everyone who wants women’s rights a feminist then getting mad because they don’t wanna be called that?! I think animals deserve to be treated nicely, but im in no way shape or form an animal activist, I eat meat but im not against animals,

    in all honesty the more you post things like this the more I think it’s stupid…Im starting to think feminism is stupid. Until you stop calling out males for saying really male-minded things…, and girls for making mistakes, don’t go all “don’t slut shame!, be a feminist! blah blah blah” Because then you are being hypocrites and becoming exactly what people currently think of feminist, man haters who can’t take a joke. I think we deserve equality, but was everyone who wanted equal rights for black people activists? NO! Were all the famous black firsts activists? NO! They just did what they did because they felt that they needed to step up to the plate and not let the white people stop them. Labeling everyone who wants equal rights for women a feminist is not going to get the point across, sowing them how powerful we really are and putting our foot down will. By this I mean focus on the thick headed macho jerk jokes like ” get back in the kitchen” not “Im not a feminist” quotes.

    Wanting equality doesn’t require a label.

    • Chris

      “Man-haters who can’t take joke” =/= feminism. Stop perpetuating stereotypes in the same breath that you condemn them.

      If you are in favor of equal rights for both sexes, you are a feminist (*and*, as it turns out, a masculist), whether you want to accept the label or not.

  • Doll

    Alex Bilme’s quote seems taken out of context. It wasn’t his personal feelings on the matter. He was just stating a common fact. Women are objectified in magazines, including Esquire. Hell, there is a whole cosmetic industry dedicated to making them feel that way too. Even if he should try to change this in his magazine, there is a culture that exists everywhere that treat women this way….I am however, disappointed with Michael Caine. 🙁

  • Charlotte

    The Katy Perry one is totally fine. I consider a feminist to be fighting for the right to be equal with men. I’m not a feminist either, because I don’t fight for it, but I do agree that women should be equal with men. Just because Katy isn’t a feminist DOES NOT mean she is a sexist!