famous quotes

Welcome to the web´s most comprehensive site of quotations by women. Over 40,000 quotations are searchable by topic, by author's name, or by keyword. Many of them appear in no other collection. And new ones are added continually.

See all TOPICS available:

See all AUTHORS available:

Search by topic:

Find quotations by TOPIC (coffee, love, dogs)
or search alphabetically below.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Search by last name:

Search by keyword:

Barbara Ehrenreich

"There is not a man shortage. There is actually a man excess. Look at the House of Representatives. Look at the Senate. Look at the tenured faculty in any American college. You will see an appalling man excess, which means a woman shortage."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in New Woman (1987)

New Quoatation

"To live in poverty is to live with constant uncertainty, to accept galling indignities, and to expect harassment by the police, welfare officials, and employers, as well as by others who are poor and desperate."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"The 'discovery' of poverty at the beginning of the 1960s was something like the 'discovery' of America almost five hundred years earlier. In the case of each of these exotic terrains, plenty of people were on the site before the discoverers ever arrived."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"Middle-class-led reform movements, from the Progressive Era to the War on Poverty, have been marred by an elitist distance from the would-be beneficiaries of reform."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"'Money does not bring happiness' -- only the wherewithal, perhaps, to endure its absence."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"... in our culture, the professional, and largely white, middle class is taken as a social norm -- a bland and neutral mainstream -- from which every other group or class is ultimately a kind of deviation."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"Historians differ on when the consumer culture came to dominate American culture. Some say it was in the twenties, when advertising became a major industry and the middle class bought radios to hear the ads and cars to get to the stores. ... But there is no question that the consumer culture had begun to crowd out all other cultural possibilities by the years following World War II."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"There is a reason why America produced the most vigorous feminist movement in the world: We were one of the only countries in which the middle class (which is wealthy by world standards) customarily employed its own women as domestic servants."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)

New Quoatation

"The fundamental point that democratic socialists have always made remains as true today and as relevant as ever: That human needs must come first, that people are more important than profits, and that some things -- health, housing, food, education -- which are essential to human survival and dignity must be guaranteed as human rights."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Whose Socialism?" Z Magazine (1990)

New Quoatation

"Sometime in the eighties, Americans had a new set of 'traditional values' installed. ... the poor and the middle class were shaken down, and their loose change funneled blithely upwards to the already overfed."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Introduction: Family Values," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"From the vantage point of the continent's original residents, or, for example, the captive African laborers who made America a great agricultural power, our 'traditional values' have always been bigotry, greed, and belligerence, buttressed by wanton appeals to a God of love."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Introduction: Family Values," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Introduction: Family Values," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Exercise is the yuppie version of bulimia."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Food Worship," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"I don't know when the cult of conspicuous busyness began, but it has swept up almost all the upwardly mobile, professional women I know. Already, it is getting hard to recall the days when, for example, 'Let's have lunch' meant something other than 'I've got more important things to do than talk to you right now.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Cult of Busyness," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Although busyness does not lead to success, I am willing to believe that success -- especially when visited on the unprepared -- can cause busyness. Anyone who has invented a better mousetrap, or the contemporary equivalent, can expect to be harassed by strangers demanding that you read their unpublished manuscripts or undergo the humiliation of public speaking, usually on remote Midwestern campuses."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Cult of Busyness," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"The secret of the truly successful, I believe, is that they learned very early in life how not to be busy. They saw through that adage, repeated to me so often in childhood, that anything worth doing is worth doing well. The truth is, many things are worth doing only in the most slovenly, halfhearted fashion possible, and many other things are not worth doing at all."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Cult of Busyness," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

" Personally, I have nothing against work, particularly when performed, quietly and unobtrusively, by someone else."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Good-Bye to the Work Ethic," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Under the new system (aka capitalism, in this part of the world), huge numbers of people had to be convinced to work extra hard, at pitifully low wages, so that the employing class would not have to work at all. Overnight, with the help of a great number of preachers and other well-rested propagandists, work was upgraded from an indignity to an 'ethic.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Good-Bye to the Work Ethic," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"As a general rule, when something gets elevated to apple-pie status in the hierarchy of American values, you have to suspect that its actual monetary value is skidding toward zero. Take motherhood: nobody ever thought of putting it on a moral pedestal until some brash feminists pointed out, about a century ago, that the pay is lousy and the career ladder nonexistent. Same thing with work: would we be so reverent about the 'work ethic' if it wasn't for the fact that the average working stiff's hourly pay is shrinking, year by year ... "

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Good-Bye to the Work Ethic," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"... consider the vice president, George Bush, a man so bedeviled by bladder problems that he managed, for the last eight years, to be in the men's room whenever an important illegal decision was made."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Unbearable Being of Whiteness," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"[On George H.W. Bush:] I was absolutely intrigued by your recent statement on the deficit. Remember how you put it? 'I am from all these people as to what -- not only what the situation is but what we can do about it.' Atta boy, Goerge I love a man who can stand up to those 'English-only' freaks and say exactly what's on his mind."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "My Reply to George," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"We who officially value freedom of speech above life itself seem to have nothing to talk about but the weather."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Moral Bypass," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Like many other women, I could not understand why every man who changed a diaper has felt impelled, in recent years, to write a book about it."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Wimps," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"... while everything else in our lives has gotten simpler, speedier, more microwavable and user-friendly, child-raising seems to have expanded to fill the time no longer available for it."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Stop Ironing the Diapers," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"No culture on earth outside of mid-century suburban America has ever deployed one woman per child without simultaneously assigning her such major productive activities as weaving, farming, gathering, temple maintenance, and tent building. The reason is that full-time, one-on-one child-raising is not good for women or children."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Stop Ironing the Diapers," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"A child is a temporarily disabled and stunted version of a larger person, whom you will someday know. Your job is to help them overcome the disabilities associated with their size and in- experience so that they get on with being that larger person, and in a form that you might like to know."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Stop Ironing the Diapers," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Whether you work outside the home or not, never tell them [your children] that being a mommy is your 'job.' Being a mommy is a relationship, not a profession."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Stop Ironing the Diapers," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"... it used to be almost the first question (just after 'Can you type?') in the standard female job interview: 'Are you now, or have you ever, contemplated marriage, motherhood, or the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Mommy Test," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"Consider the standard two-person married couple. ... They will share a VCR, a microwave, etc. This is not a matter of ideology or even personal inclination. It is practically the definition of marriage. Marriage is socialism among two people."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Socialism in One Household," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"... only wars can produce . One war leads to the next, in part because each war incubates the warriors who will fight the next, or, I should say, create, the next."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Iranscam: Oliver North and the Warrior Caste," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"When television families aren't gathered around the kitchen table exchanging wisecracks, they are experiencing brief but moving dilemmas, which are handily solved by the youngest child or by some cute extraterrestrial houseguest. Emerging from Family Ties or My Two Dads, we are forced to acknowledge that our own families are made up of slow-witted, emotionally crippled people who would be lucky to qualify for seats in the studio audience of JEOPARDY!"

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Spudding Out," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

"... when you watch television, you will see people doing many things -- chasing fast cars, drinking lite beer, shooting each other at close range, etc. But you will never see people watching television. ... we love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Spudding Out," The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)

New Quoatation

" America is addicted to wars of distraction."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in The London Times (1991)

New Quoatation

"When the Somalians were merely another hungry third world people, we sent them guns. Now that they are falling down from starvation, we send them troops. Some may see in this a tidy metaphor for the entire relationship between north and south. But it would make a whole lot more sense nutritionally -- as well as providing infinitely more vivid viewing -- if the Somalians could be persuaded to eat the troops."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in The Guardian (1993)

New Quoatation

"... Americans love marriage too much. We rush into mariage with abandon, expecting a micro-Utopia on earth. We pile all our needs onto it, our expectations, neuroses, and hopes. In fact, we've made marriage into the panda bear of human social institutions: we've loved it to death."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Burt, Loni, and Our Way of Life," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"Marriage probably originated as a straightforward food-for-sex deal among foraging primates. Compatibility was not a big issue, nor, of course, was there any tension over who would control the remote."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Burt, Loni, and Our Way of Life," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"Recall that not long ago, in our mothers' day, the standards were cruel but clear: every room should look like a motel room, only cleaner under the bed."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Housework Is Obsolescent," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"It's even occurred to me, as a teeny little subversive whisper of a thought, that if we stop mowing the lawn right now, it will probably be a long, long time before the yard gets overrun by lions and snakes."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Housework Is Obsolescent," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"... there hasn't been a serious life-style trend since the couch potato was sighted, in about 1986, on one of its rare forays to the video store. Cocooning remains a significant mass enterprise, encouraged by the availability of five hundred new cable channels and microwavable popcorn."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Won\'t Somebody Do Something Silly?," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"Labor is like motherhood to most of our political leaders: a calling so fine and noble that it would be sullied by talk of vulgar, mundane things like pay."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Honor to the Working Stiffs," The Snarling Citizen (1995)

New Quoatation

"However and wherever war begins, it persists, it spreads, it propagates itself through time and across space with the terrifying tenacity of a beast attached to the neck of living prey. This is not an idly chosen figure of speech. War spreads and perpetuates itself through a dynamic that often seems independent of human will. It has, as we like to say of things we do not fully understand, 'a life of its own.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)

New Quoatation

"Ineluctably, the insults inflicted in one war call forth new wars of retaliation, which may be waged within months of the original conflict or generations later."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)

New Quoatation

"Warriors make wars, but it is also true that, in what has so far been an endless reproductive cycle, war makes warriors."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)

New Quoatation

"... war is, in some not yet entirely defined sense, a self-replicating pattern of behavior, possessed of a dynamism not unlike that of living things."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)

New Quoatation

"... war has dug itself into economic systems, where it offers a livelihood to millions ... It has lodged in our souls as a kind of religion, a quick tonic for political malaise and a bracing antidote to the moral torpor of consumerist, market-driven cultures."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)

New Quoatation

"We [on the left] have to be used to being a minority -- a small minority -- for some time to come. The odd thing is that the right, even when it is in power, likes to think of itself as an embattled minority against this elite that somehow runs everything. Whereas the left, even when it has no power at all, likes to imagine it somehow represents the majority of people. These are mirror-image delusions."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in The South End Press Collective, eds., Talking About a Revolution (1998)

New Quoatation

"... no job, no matter how lowly, is truly 'unskilled.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (2001)

New Quoatation

"It's not just the work that has to be learned in each situation. Each job presents a self-contained social world, with its own personalities, hierarchy, customs, and standards."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (2001)

New Quoatation

"We ate eggs every morning, meat for lunch and meat again for dinner, invariably accompanied by gravy or at least pan drippings. We buttered everything from broccoli to brownies and would have buttered butter itself if it were not for the problems of traction presented by the butter-butter interface."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Got Grease," in The Los Angeles Times (2002)

New Quoatation

"Ours is a society that routinely generates destitution -- and then, perversely, relieves its conscience by vilifying the destitute."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Hobo Heaven," in The New York Times Book Review (2002)

New Quoatation

"In a process that had begun in the 1980s and suddenly accelerated in the early 2000s ... [t]he peaks of great wealth grew higher, rising up beyond the clouds, while the valleys of poverty sank lower into perpetual shadow. The once broad plateau of the middle class eroded away into a narrow ledge, with the white-knuckled occupants holding on for dear life."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"Some people make stuff; other people have to buy it. And when we gave up making stuff, starting in the 1980s, we were left with the unique role of buying. ... we shopped till we dropped, all right, face down on the floor."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"The money that fueled the explosion of gluttony at the top had to come from somewhere or, more specifically, from someone. Since no domestic oil deposits had been discovered, no new seams of uranium or gold, and since the war in Iraq enriched only the military contractors and suppliers, it had to come from other Americans."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"... the greatest capitalist innovations of this past decade have been in the realm of squeezing money out of those who have little to spare: taking away workers' pensions and benefits to swell profits, offering easy credit on dubious terms, raising insurance premiums and refusing to insure those who might ever make a claim, downsizing workforces to boost share prices, even falsifying time records to avoid paying overtime."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"The war with Iraq ... had to be one of the greatest non sequiturs in military history. Attacked by a gang composed largely of Islamic militants from Saudi Arabia, the United States countered by invading an unrelated country, and one of the most secular in the Middle East at that."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"... the fastest-growing brand of religion is of the magical 'name it and claim it' variety, in which the deity exists only to meet one's immediate, self-identified needs."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"... a great deal of the wealth at the top is built on the low-wage labor of the poor. Take Wal-Mart, our largest private employer and premiere exploiter of the working class. ... You think it's a coincidence that this union-busting low-wage retail empire happens to have generated a $65 billion family fortune?"

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"... we are reaching the point, if we have not passed it already, where the largest public housing program in America will be our penitentiary system."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"Frontline battle troops, most of whom have been in the military for about a year, earn about $17,000 a year -- which puts them at about the level of theater ushers and crossing guards. ... If supporting our troops is to mean something more than a bumper sticker, the least we could do is lift them out of poverty."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"... bullying, like water, flows downhill. Busboys don't bully maitre d's."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"You still don't like the idea of gay marriage? Then, as my friend the economist Julianne Malveaux says: Don't marry a gay person. Case closed, problem solved."

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"[On property tax exemptions for religious groups:] why this odd privileging of faith over, say, knowledge or reason? Recall that Webster's offers as a general definition of faith 'firm or unquestioning belief in something for which there is no proof.' Would we want a faith-based defense system, for example, in which bombs are to be deflected by prayer? Or faith-based Medicare ... ?"

Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land Is Their Land (2008)

New Quoatation

"It's a glorious universe the positive thinkers have come up with, a vast, shimmering aurora borealis in which desires mingle freely with their realizations. ... Dreams go out and fulfill themselves; wishes need only to be articulated."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"A whole industry has grown up to promote positive thinking, and the product of this industry, available at a wide range of prices, is called 'motivation.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"... the seeker who embraces positive theology finds ... that you can have all that stuff in the mall, as well as the beautiful house and car, if only you believe that you can. But ... if you don't have all that you want, if you feel sick, discouraged, or defeated, you have only yourself to blame. Positive theology ratifies and completes a world without beauty, transcendence, or mercy."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"All the basic technologies ever invented by human to feed and protect themselves depend on a relentless commitment to hard-nose empiricism: you cannot assume that your arrowheads will pierce the hide of a bison or that your raft will float just because the omens are propitious and you have been given supernatural reassurance that they will."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"Human intellectual progress, such as it has been, results from our long struggle to see things 'as they are,' or in the most universally comprehensive way, and not as projections of our own emotions. Thunder is not a tantrum in the sky, disease is not a divine punishment, and not every death or accident results from witchcraft."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"I realize that after decades of positive thinking the notion of realism, of things as they are, may seem a little quaint. ... When the stakes are high enough and the risks obvious, we still turn to people who can be counted on to understand those risks and prepare for worst-case scenarios. A chief of state does not want to hear a general in the field say that he 'hopes' to win tomorrow's battle or that he's 'visualizing victory' ..."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"One of the most essential and mundane of human activities -- taking care of children -- requires high levels of anxious vigilance. ... [Parents] dare not risk assuming that the sudden quiet from the toddlers' room means they are studying with Baby Einstein. Visualize fratricidal stranglings and electric outlets stabbed with forks: this is how we have reproduced our genomes."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"When our children are old enough, and if we can afford to, we send them to college, where ... the point is to acquire the skills not of positive thinking but of critical thinking ... "

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

"How can we expect to improve our situation without addressing the actual circumstances we find ourselves in? Positive thinking seeks to convince us that such external factors are incidental compared with one's internal state or attitude or mood."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2009)

New Quoatation

" By the Reagan era, the 'culture of poverty' had become a cornerstone of conservative ideology: poverty was caused not by low wages or a lack of jobs but by bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles. The poor were dissolute, promiscuous, prone to addiction and crime, unable to 'defer gratification' or possibly even set an alarm clock. The last thing they could be trusted with was money."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Rediscovering Poverty," in The Nation (2012)

New Quoatation

"Poverty is not ... a cultural aberration or a character flaw. Poverty is a shortage of money."

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Rediscovering Poverty," in The Nation (2012)

New Quoatation

"... if you search the bible, you will find no reference to birth control or gay marriage, and you will not find a word, strangely, about stem cell research. I have searched."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in Freethought Today (2012)

New Quoatation

"Now as for God's particular interest in us or agenda for us in general, whatever issue you look at, sex or social morality, all the evidence points in one direction. He is just not that into us."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in Freethought Today (2012)

New Quoatation

"... our great common challenge ... is to free people from religion, get it out of our laws, our schools, our health systems, our government and, I would add, also our sporting events. I would really like to see some separation of church and stadium, if we could work on that."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in Freethought Today (2012)

New Quoatation

"The fact is that heterosexual sex for most people is in no way free of the power relations between men and women."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in Evelyn Shapiro and Barry M. Shapiro, The Women Say/The Men Say (1979)

New Quoatation

"... poverty is not a 'culture' or a character defect: it is a shortage of money."

Barbara Ehrenreich, in Linda Tirado, Hand to Mouth (2014)

New Quoatation

Barbara Ehrenreich, U.S. journalist, writer, activist, democratic socialist
(1941 - )

Full name: Barbara Alexander Ehrenreich. One of my heroes.