Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes." They will say, "Women don't have what it takes."
~Clare Boothe Luce
I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.
~Rebecca West, "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982
Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge.
The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl."
Women belong in the house... and the Senate.
I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough.
~Clarie Sargent, Arizona senatorial candidate
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
Never let the hand you hold, hold you down.
I wish someone would have told me that, just because I'm a girl, I don't have to get married.
Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their opressors.
Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy.
The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler
I am woman! I am invincible! I am pooped!
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
Man endures pain as an undeserved punishment; woman accepts it as a natural heritage.
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.
~Alanis Morissette, quoted in Reader's Digest, March 2000
I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.
I was told that whistling wasn't ladylike, but I knew even then that women were simply not supposed to be that happy.
~Anonymous, quoted in Kindling the Spirit by Lois P. Frankel
You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.
~Jane Galvin Lewis
When I see the elaborate study and ingenuity displayed by women in the pursuit of trifles, I feel no doubt of their capacity for the most herculean undertakings.
~Julia Ward Howe
Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.
History is herstory too.
Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.
No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself.
I became a feminist as an alternative to becoming a masochist.
~Sally Kempton, attributed
It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.... Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
~Susan B. Anthony
One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.
There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.
~Madeleine K. Albright
I ask no favors for my sex.... All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.
~Sarah Moore Grimké
I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.
I do not wish them to have power over men, but over themselves.
There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.
The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.
Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try and give their best qualities to men - bring them softness, teach them how to cry.
~Joan Baez, "Sexism Seen but not Heard," Los Angeles Times, 1974
I've yet to be on a campus where most women weren't worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I've yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing.
Most women are one man away from welfare.
I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly. Tunafish casserole is at least as real as corporate stock.
~Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others.
~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise
I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war.
Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876, have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776.
~Susan B. Anthony
A man has every season while a woman only has the right to spring.
A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.
How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete?
I've left Bethlehem, and I feel free. I've left the girl I was supposed to be, and some day I'll be born.
~Paula Cole, "Tiger," This Fire
The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.
It matters more what's in a woman's face than what's on it.
~Claudette Colbert, quoted in Kindling the Spirit by Lois P. Frankel
To tell a woman everything she may not do is to tell her what she can do.
Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human.
Men will often admit other women are oppressed but not you.
Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet;
In short, my deary, kiss me, and be quiet.
~Mary Wortley Montagu, A Summary of Lord Lyttelton's Advice
Being a lady is an attitude.
~Chuck Woolery, Love Connection
Advertisers in general bear a large part of the responsibility for the deep feelings of inadequacy that drive women to psychiatrists, pills, or the bottle.
~Marya Mannes, But Will It Sell?, 1964
Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.
Women's chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.
~Estelle R. Ramey
I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.
~Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "Our Girls"
I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model's. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived.
~Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective
Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.
Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.
~Grover Cleveland, 1905
If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?
I listen to feminists and all these radical gals - most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men - that's their problem.
[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.
I think, therefore I'm single.
I can't be a rose in any man's lapel.
Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
The only jobs for which no man is qualified are human incubators and wet nurse. Likewise, the only job for which no woman is or can be qualified is sperm donor.
~Wilma Scott Heide
Whether women are better than men I cannot say - but I can say they are certainly no worse.
Give a woman a job and she grows balls.
The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.
It's wonderful to watch a pretty woman with character grow beautiful.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou, in Chris Orr, "Moms and Whoopi: Pioneers of Black Theater," Plexus, November 1983
American women are fools because they try to be everything to everybody.
Several men I can think of are as capable, as smart, as funny, as compassionate, and as confused - as remarkable you might say - as most women.
Not only is women's work never done, the definition keeps changing.
No man is as anti-feminist as a really feminine woman.
Men weren't really the enemy - they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.
Sometimes the best man for the job isn't.
Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object. The difference is that is not all she wants to be.
When two people marry they become in the eyes of the law one person, and that one person is the husband.
~Shana Alexander, State-by-State Guide to Women's Legal Rights, 1975
Why is it that men can be bastards and women must wear pearls and smile?
~Lynn Hecht Schafren
You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived I'm sure I would have played his mother. That's the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger and the women get older.
Easy is an adjective used to describe a woman who has the sexual morals of a man.
Isn't that the problem? That women have been swindled for centuries into substituting adornment for love, fashion (as it were) for passion?
Young wives are the leading asset of corporate power. They want the suburbs, a house, a settled life, and respectability. They want society to see that they have exchanged themselves for something of value.
Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.
Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.
It starts when you sink in his arms and ends with your arms in his sink.
To me, "sexual freedom" means freedom from having to have sex.
And the crazy part of it was even if you were clever, even if you spent your adolescence reading John Donne and Shaw, even if you studied history or zoology or physics and hoped to spend your life pursuing some difficult and challenging career, you still had a mind full of all the soupy longings that every high-school girl was awash in... underneath it, all you longed to be was annihilated by love, to be swept off your feet, to be filled up by a giant prick spouting sperm, soapsuds, silk and satins and, of course, money.
No one should have to dance backward all of their lives.
When a woman behaves like a man, why doesn't she behave like a nice man?
We have to have faith in ourselves. I have never met a woman who, deep down in her core, really believes she has great legs. And if she suspects that she might have great legs, then she's convinced that she has a shrill voice and no neck.
The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.
Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.
It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.
~Sally Kempton, Esquire, 1970
I'm just a person trapped inside a woman's body.
Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.
~Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals
Women are not the weak, frail little flowers that they are advertised. There has never been anything invented yet, including war, that a man would enter into, that a woman wouldn't, too.
Tomboys are an assertion of reality, of practicality. Forced femininity is a waste of energy and resources, and therefore of oneself. Live to live.
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
Our only hope for the redemption of woman from the thralldom of dress lies in the belief that her hitherto limited sphere of activities has been so insufficient for her intellectual occupations that she has been forced to expend her thoughts in decorating her person, instead of enlarging her mind.
~Mercy B. Jackson
There is more difference within the sexes than between them.
~Ivy Compton-Burnett, Mother and Son
Because women's work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we're the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it's our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we're nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we're nymphos and if we don't we're frigid and if we love women it's because we can't get a "real" man and if we ask our doctor too many questions we're neurotic and/or pushy and if we expect childcare we're selfish and if we stand up for our rights we're aggressive and "unfeminine" and if we don't we're typical weak females and if we want to get married we're out to trap a man and if we don't we're unnatural and because we still can't get an adequate safe contraceptive but men can walk on the moon and if we can't cope or don't want a pregnancy we're made to feel guilty about abortion and...for lots of other reasons we are part of the women's liberation movement.
~Author unknown, quoted in The Torch, 14 September 1987
Why is it that only girls stand on the sides of their feet? As if they're afraid to plant themselves?
~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, 1990
Many beautiful women have been made happy by their own beauty, but no intelligent woman has ever been made happy by her own intelligence.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
During the feminist revolution, the battle lines were again simple. It was easy to tell the enemy, he was the one with the penis. This is no longer strictly true. Some men are okay now. We're allowed to like them again. We still have to keep them in line, of course, but we no longer have to shoot them on sight.
~Cynthia Heimel, Sex Tips for Girls, 1983
I didn't want to be a boy, ever, but I was outraged that his height and intelligence were graces for him and gaucheries for me.
We haven't come a long way, we've come a short way. If we hadn't come a short way, no one would be calling us baby.
A woman is like a tea bag. It's only when she's in hot water that you realize how strong she is.
~Attributed to both Eleanor Roosevelt and Carl Sandburg
The little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.
~Robert Louis Stevenson
Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly.
Sexism is a social disease.
Men are irrelevant. Women are happy or unhappy, fulfilled or unfulfilled, and it has nothing to do with men.
One does not have to sleep with, or even touch, someone who has paid for your meal. All those obligations are hereby rendered null and void, and any man who doesn't think so needs a quick jab in the kidney.
~Cynthia Heimel, Sex Tips for Girls, 1983
Women are all female impersonators to some degree.
All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are sides, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side.
~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, 1929
You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word.
My advice to the women's clubs of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.
~James McNeill Whistler