The Future Is Female

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Text on Button the future is female
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Red text on yellow background.

Curl Text White Mare 1975
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“The Future is Female” slogan was coined in the 1970s by Labyris Books, the first women's bookstore in New York City. The slogan was featured on store merchandise including t shirts and pinback buttons. 

This feminist slogan emerged in the 70s within the Lesbian Separatist Movement. In mainstream culture, this movement was described as lesbians who believed they should live in their own society separate from men. They were often described as “militant lesbians” but Lesbian Separatist member Liza Cowan describes the movement as less dogmatic; instead it was a group of people figuring out how to live as women without male interference. 

The slogan gained popularity in the 1970s after Cowan photographed her then girlfriend Alix Dobkin wearing the slogan on a t shirt and featured that photo in an advert for her publication DYKE: A Quarterly. The slogan reemerged in 2015, when the instagram account @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y featured Cowan’s photo. The slogan was once again printed on t shirts as part of the feminist fashion trend. In 2016, Hillary Clinton used the slogan in her presidential campaign, solidifying its presence in mainstream culture.


Burckhardt, A. (2018, January 13). Research Spotlight: The Radical Story Behind the Famous "The Future Is Female" Graphic T-Shirt. Retrieved from….

Gush, C. (2015, December 7). ​casting spells for a female future with 70s lesbian separatist liza cowan. Retrieved from….

Mettler, K. (2019, April 29). Hillary Clinton just said it, but 'the future is female' began as a 1970s lesbian separatist slogan. Retrieved from….

Topic: Lesbian Buttons. (2017, February 9). Retrieved from

Catalog ID CA0790