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Dale Spender

  • Language helps form the limits of our reality.

  • This monopoly over language is one of the means by which males have ensured their own primacy, and consequently have ensured the invisibility or 'other' nature of females ...

  • ... what has been termed 'correct' English is nothing other than the blatant legitimation of the white middle-class code.

  • Language is not neutral. It is not merely a vehicle which carries ideas. It is itself a shaper of ideas ...

  • When women are supposed to be quiet, a talkative woman is a woman who talks at all.

  • When I learnt, however, that in 1911 there had been twenty-one regular feminist periodicals in Britain, that there was a feminist book shop, a woman's press, and a woman's bank run by and for women, I could no longer accept that the reason I knew almost nothing about women of the past was because there were so few of them, and they had done so little.

  • Openly questioning the way the world works and challenging the power of the powerful is not an activity customarily rewarded.

  • ... men have their cake and get to eat it too, for while they decree themselves as representative of humanity, women who argue that men are not, are simply showing how little they know! And when men's standards are defined as human standards, then women who assert that women are different, demonstrate how 'inhuman' they are. It is a real 'Catch 22.'

  • ... for centuries women have been saying many of the things we are saying today and which we have often thought of as new ...

  • There is a real split today between those who push the button and those who do the dying.

    • Dale Spender,
    • 1982, in Dale and Lynne Spender, Scribbling Sisters ()
  • Have you noticed that all the news, statistics, strategies about unemployment are provided by those who are employed? As soon as you are unemployed you cease to exist ...

    • Dale Spender,
    • 1982, in Dale and Lynne Spender, Scribbling Sisters ()
  • I know there is no danger that I will ever forget that people construct their own reality, that human beings are not led to the same version of events and of the world by the same physical evidence.

    • Dale Spender,
    • 1982, in Dale and Lynne Spender, Scribbling Sisters ()
  • ... men have been in charge of according value to literature, and ... they have found the contributions of their own sex immeasurably superior.

  • Every medium — oral, written, print, and now electronic — has its own associated thought patterns and mind sets.

    • Dale Spender,
    • in H. Jeanie Taylor, Cheris Kramarae, and Maureen Ebben, eds., Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship ()
  • Well into the 19th century there were pronouncements from just about every branch of science and medicine that reading, writing, and thinking were dangerous for women. Articles in the Lancet declared that women's brains would burst and their uteruses atrophy if they engaged in any form of rigorous thinking. The famous physician J.D. Kellogg insisted that novel reading was the greatest cause of uterine disease among young women and urged parents to protect their daughters from the dreaded consequences of print.

    • Dale Spender,
    • in H. Jeanie Taylor, Cheris Kramarae, and Maureen Ebben, eds., Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship ()
  • Men who teach only men are called scholars. Women who teach only women are called political agitators.

    • Dale Spender
  • Feminism has fought no wars ... killed no opponents ... set up no concentration camps ... starved no enemies ... practiced no cruelty. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets ... for reforms in the law.

Dale Spender, Australian feminist scholar, writer, educator, consultant

(1943)