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Katha Pollitt

  • Like Broadway, the novel, and God, feminism has been declared dead many times.

  • For many people, feminism is one of those words of which, as St. Augustine said about time, they know the meaning as long as no one is asking.

  • For me, to be a feminist is to answer the question 'Are women human?' with a yes.

  • ... funny how ready people are to believe that counseling, which even when voluntary takes years to modify garden-variety neuroses, can work wonders in months with resistant patients who hate each other.

  • We tend to tell strangers what we think will make us sound good. I myself, to my utter amazement, informed a telephone pollster that I exercised regularly, a bare-faced lie.

  • For me, religion is serious business — a farrago of authoritarian nonsense, misogyny and humble pie, the eternal enemy of human happiness and freedom.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in The Nation ()
  • Every inch of progress is won in struggle.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • "The Cheese Stands Alone," The Nation ()
  • ... on the whole 'blasphemy' has been a force for good in human history. It is part of the process by which millions of people have come to reject theocracy and think for themselves.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in The Nation ()
  • When it comes to ideas — and religions are, among other things, ideas — there is no right not to be offended. ... In fact, if you need laws ... to protect your faith, maybe your faith is weak.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in The Nation ()
  • Thanks to feminism, women can now acquire status in two ways: through marriage or their own achievements. Cure cancer or marry the man who does, either way society will applaud. Unless he marries into the British royal family, it doesn't work that way for men. Wives shed no glory on their husbands. Having tea with Nancy Reagan is an honor; having tea with Denis Thatcher is a joke.

    • Katha Pollitt
  • When you consider that God could have commanded anything he wanted — anything! — the Ten [Commandments] have got to rank as one of the great missed moral opportunities of all time. How different history would have been had he clearly and unmistakably forbidden war, tyranny, taking over other people's countries, slavery, exploitation of workers, cruelty to children, wife-beating, stoning, treating women — or anyone-- as chattel or inferior beings.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in The Nation ()
  • Can currently existing religion be disentangled from the misogyny of its texts, its traditions, and its practices? ... a resounding NO: misogyny not only pervades the major faiths, it's baked in.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in Free Inquiry ()
  • Whether you look at Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, wherever a distinction of sex is made, it is to the advantage of men. If you think of religions as if they were novels, the authors are men, and so are the major characters ...

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in Free Inquiry ()
  • While woman sheds the Blood of Life each moon at menstruation, man can only shed the blood of death through warfare and killing.

    • Katha Pollitt,
    • in Mother Jones ()

Katha Pollitt, U.S. writer, poet, cultural critic, feminist

(1949)