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Women and Men

  • Is woman a lost sex? If so, is she the only lost sex? Has woman alone conceived all the vipers in our land?

  • Men fear being used; women fear being used up.

  • Men are not amusing during the shooting season; but, after all, my dear, men were not especially designed to amuse women.

  • We are nearly all composed of such a complex mixture of human qualities that in each one of us reside both masculine and feminine principles: what man is without any female attribute and what woman never demonstrates any masculine characteristics?

    • Natalie Clifford Barney,
    • 1963, in Anna Livia, ed., A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney ()
  • When a man falls in love, he wants to go to bed. When a woman falls in love, she wants to talk about it.

  • If men ever discovered how tough women actually are, they would be scared to death.

  • The feminine in the man is the sugar in the whisky. The masculine in the woman is the yeast in the bread. Without these ingredients the result is flat, without tang or flavor.

  • A good woman is known by what she does; a good man by what he doesn't.

  • After marriage, a woman's sight becomes so keen that she can see right through her husband without looking at him, and a man's so dull that he can look right through his wife without seeing her.

  • Eternity: The interval between the time when a woman discovers that a man is in love with her and the time when he finds it out himself and tells her about it.

  • Women who insist on having the same options as men would do well to consider the option of being the strong, silent type.

  • Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness.

  • Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

  • The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.

  • Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine ... It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly.

  • ... women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself — like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks ...

  • If American men are obsessed with money, American women are obsessed with weight. The men talk of gain, the women talk of loss, and I do not know which talk is the more boring.

  • A man at his desk in a room with a closed door is a man at work. A woman at a desk in any room is available.

  • What is asserted by a man is an opinion; what is asserted by a woman is opinionated. A woman with ideas and the ability to express them is something of a social embarrassment, like an unhousebroken pet.

  • A critical, strong speech made by a man is 'blunt' or "outspoken" or 'pulls no punches.' A speech of similar force and candor made by a woman is 'waspish,' 'sarcastic,' or 'cutting.' A man of strong opinions is defined as having 'deep convictions.' A woman so constituted is merely 'opinionated,' and always 'aggressive.'

  • When women can cherish the vulnerability of men as much as men can exult in the strength of women, a new breed could lift a ruinous yoke from both.

  • ... I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men.


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  • To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little; to be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

  • There is only one sex. A man and a woman are so entirely the same thing that one can scarcely understand the subtle reasons for sex distinctions with which our minds are filled.

    • George Sand,
    • in Marie Jenney Howe, George Sand and the Search for Love ()
  • It's a great shame that the world was organized with two sexes. It makes for a lot of trouble.

  • Lots of men hate women now-a-days. ... It was a man-made world, and now we're asking to go shares in the making.

  • I think every individual, and every society, is perfected just in proportion to the combination, and cooperation, of masculine and feminine elements of character. He is the most perfect man who is affectionate as well as intellectual; and she is the most perfect woman who is intellectual as well as affectionate. Every art and science becomes more interesting, viewed both from the masculine and feminine points of view.

  • The civilization of any country may always be measured by the degree of equality between men and women; and society will never come truly into order until there is perfect equality and copartnership between them in every department of human life.

  • ... a woman may be called a wife and mother for most of her life, while a man is called a husband and father only at his funeral.

  • Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.

  • Of course men play roles, but women play roles too, blanker ones. They have, in the play of life, fewer good lines.

  • Women are more accommodating. If a woman drinks the last glass of apple juice in the refrigerator, she'll make more apple juice. If a man drinks the last glass of apple juice, he'll just put back the empty container.

  • Men have better self-images than women. You know what I've never seen in a men's magazine? A makeover.

  • Men have an easier time buying bathing suits. Women have two types: depressing and more depressing. Men have two types: nerdy and not nerdy.

  • 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.

  • The condition of women affords in all countries the best criterion by which to judge the character of men.

  • Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.

  • I feel sorry for men. They have more problems than women, because they now have to compete with women.

  • The freedom women were supposed to have found in the Sixties largely boiled down to easy contraception and abortion: things to make life easier for men, in fact.

  • I read recently in an article by G.K. Chesterton, that sex without gestation and parturition is like blowing the trumpets and waving the flags without doing any of the fighting. From a woman such words, though displaying inexperience, might come with dignity; from a man they are an unforgivable, intolerable insult. What is man's part in sex but a perpetual waving of flags and blowing of trumpets and avoidance of the fighting?

  • ... war and the 'war of the sexes' are neither divinely nor biologically ordained.

  • ... there are only two basic ways of structuring the relations between the female and male halves of humanity. All societies are patterned on either a dominator model — in which human hierarchies are ultimately backed up by force or the threat of force — or a partnership model, with variations in between.

  • You bore me ... when you talk about one sex or the other, as if they were separate things. There is only one human entity and that is a man and a woman.

  • If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.

  • The cocks may crow, but it's the hen that lays the egg.

  • Not one man, in the million, shall I say? no, not in the hundred million, can rise above the belief that woman was made for man ...

  • Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

  • When a man says he doesn't understand a woman it's because he won't take the trouble.

  • A man murmurs 'Who came before me?' A woman asks 'Who will come after me?'

  • The difference between man's love and woman's is she loves with all her heart and soul; he, with all his mind and body.

  • Men give love because they want sex. Women give sex because they want love. That's the difference between men and women. Ever notice how when we talk about our love lives, it's always about a man? Singular. All most of us want is one good man. But when men talk, it's about women. Plural. They want as many as they can get.

  • Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relations with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists and that's all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.

  • When a man loses superiority, he loses potency. That's what all this talk about castrating women is about. Castrating women are those who refuse to pretend men are better than they are and better than women are. The simple truth — that men are only equal — can undermine a culture more devastatingly than any bomb. Subversion is telling the truth.

  • Surely, if life is good, it is good throughout its substance; we cannot separate men's activities from women's and say, these are worthy of praise and these unworthy ...

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "Nurse to the Archbishop" (1931), Truth Is Not Sober ()
  • I never can see why they make such a fuss and get so frightened because wimmen does a thing or two now they usedn't to. Nothing short of a earthquake can make them not men an' wimmmen, an' that's the main thing.

  • ' ... Men always say there is no female Shakespeare.' 'Humph! You study the fellows who say that, and you'll see they are a long way from being Shakespeares themselves. Why shouldn't women have the same privilege?'

  • ... I early became conscious that men breathe more audibly than women. Sit in a room in silence with men and women, and you can always hear the men breathing.

  • How true it is that men live for Things and women for People!

  • Every great man has a woman behind him ... And every great woman has some man or other in front of her, tripping her up.

  • 'A woman is as good as a man' is as meaningless as to say, 'a Kaffir is as good as a Frenchman' or 'a poet is as good as an engineer' or 'an elephant is as good as a racehorse' — it means nothing whatever until you add: 'at doing what?'

  • The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are 'the opposite sex' — (though why 'opposite' I do not know; what is the 'neighbouring sex'?).

  • I sometimes think men don't 'hear' very well, if I take your meaning to be 'understand what is going on in a person.' That's what makes them so restful. Women wear each other out with their everlasting touching of the nerve.

  • Women are / Superior to men in every way, / But chiefly in the intellect.

  • Consider the 'new' woman. She's trying to be Pollyanna Borgia, clearly a conflict of interest. She's supposed to be a ruthless winner at work and a bundle of nurturing sweetness at home. It remains for each woman to find her place and each man his in this cultural chaos of mixed signals.

  • Femininity and masculinity are social constructs. Female and male are biological. We don't have to learn to be men or women but we do have to learn to be ladies and gentlemen.

  • A man loves a woman so much, he asks her to marry — to change her name, quit her job, have and raise his babies, be home when he gets there, move where his job is. You can hardly imagine what he might ask if he didn't love her.

    • Gabrielle Burton,
    • "No One Has a Corner on Depression, But Housewives Are Working on It," in Mary Kay Blakely, The New York Times ()
  • Men and women, women and men. It will never work ...

  • A women needs a man like a fish needs a net.

  • The only difference between men and women is that women are able to create new little human beings in their bodies while simultaneously writing books, driving tractors, working in offices, planting crops — in general, doing everything men do.

  • You see an awful lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy.

  • As women got little crumbs of power, men began to act paranoid — as if we'd disabled them utterly. Do all women have to keep silent for men to speak? Do all women have to be legless for men to walk?

  • Men must be stripped of arrogance and women must become independent for any mutually nurturing alliance to endure between the sexes.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Jane Eyre's Unbroken Will," What Do Women Want? ()
  • If the men in the room would only think how they would feel graduating with a 'spinster of arts' degree they would see how important this is.

  • ... we are becoming the men we wanted to marry.

  • More women are becoming the men they wanted to marry, but too few men are becoming the women they wanted to marry. That leaves most women with two jobs, one outside the home and one in it ...

  • ... the system which admits the unworthy to the vote provided they are men, and shuts out the worthy provided they are women, is so unjust and illogical that its perpetuation is a sad reflection upon American thinking.

  • Had I been crested, not cloven, my Lords, you had not treated me thus.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to courtiers, in Nigel Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage ()
  • [On being criticized for her serious expression:] I simply ache from smiling. Why are women expected to beam all the time? It's unfair. If a man looks solemn, it's automatically assumed he's a serious person, not a miserable one.

  • ... a woman who has known but one man is like a person who has heard only one composer.

  • I believe that if a man does a job as well as a woman, he should be paid as much.

    • Celeste Holm,
    • in Sandra Lee Jackson, Past and Promise ()
  • Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet, / In short, my deary, kiss me! and be quiet.

    • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
    • "A Summary of Lord Lyttleton's Advice to a Lady" (1768), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 ()
  • I have never in all my various travels seen but two sorts of people, and those very like one another; I mean men and women, who always have been and ever will be the same.

  • It was the usual masculine disillusionment in discovering that a woman has a brain.

  • If God had made a woman before he made a man, that might've been the end of creation. A woman, used to having the run of the Garden, and all of its say-so to herself, might've raised Jesse with God if she'd been roused up one morning to find a rib missing, and a man there to spoil the quiet and mess up the neatness and to pounce on her in the one-flesh act.

  • Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy, fat women.

  • ... I took Josiah out to one side, and says I, 'Josiah Allen, if Tirzah Ann is to be brought up to think that marriage is the chief aim of her life, Thomas J. shall be brought up to think that marriage is his chief aim.' Says I, 'it looks just as flat in a woman, as it does in a man.'

  • ... I have brought him [my son] up to think that purity and virtue are both masculine and femanine gender, and that God's angels are not necessarily all she ones.

  • The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, 'Men never know when things are dirty or not;' and the gentlemen perhaps thought each to himself, 'Women will have their little nonsenses and needless cares.'

  • The freer that women become, the freer will men be. Because when you enslave someone — you are enslaved.

  • Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, once asked a group of women at a university why they felt threatened by men. The women said they were afraid of being beaten, raped, or killed by men. She then asked a group of men why they felt threatened by women. They said they were afraid women would laugh at them.

    • Molly Ivins,
    • in Regina Barreca, ed., The Penguin Book of Women's Humor ()
  • Let the sexes mutually forgive each other their follies; or, what is much better, let them combine their talents for their general advantage.

  • Love occupies a vast space in a woman's thoughts, but fills a small portion in a man's life.

  • Francesca's was a grievance of which most of her sex have to complain; a man's letter is always the most unsatisfactory thing in the world. There are none of those minute details which are such a solace to feminine anxiety; the mere fact of writing, always seems sufficient to content a masculine conscience.

  • Where young boys plan for what they will achieve and attain, young girls plan for whom they will achieve and attain.

  • There should be an end to the bitterness of feeling which has arisen between the sexes in this century.

  • A house does not need a wife any more than it does a husband.

  • A man does not have to stay at home all day, in order to love it; why should a woman?

  • Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn't make sense not to use both.

  • When women are angry at men, they call them heartless. When men are angry at women, they call them crazy.

  • Women do not have to depend on men in order to advance in leadership. Women in the United States would not be able to vote today if they waited for men to give them the vote. It is the same for feminine leadership in any field. Women have to work for what they believe in and cause it to happen. The problems that men have in accepting women will be overcome by women, not by men.

  • ... I suppose it is because woman's courage is mental and man's physical, that in times of great strain women always make the better showing.

  • Men love a joke — on the other fellow. But your really humorous woman loves a joke on herself.

  • Men play harder than they work; women work harder than they play.

  • Girls inevitably grew into women, but something of the boy persisted in every man.

  • She had always been too wise to tell him all she thought and felt, knowing by some intuition of her own womanhood that no man wants to know everything of any woman.

  • The concept of 'Momism' is male nonsense. It is the refuge of a man seeking excuses for his own lack of virility. I have listened to many women in various countries, and I have never found a woman who willingly 'mothers' her husband. The very idea is repulsive to her. She wants to mother the children while they are young, but never their fathers. True, she may be forced into the role of mother by a man's weaknesses and childishness, and then she accepts the role with dignity and patience, or with anger and impatience, but always with a secret, profound sadness unexpressed and inexpressible.

  • I do not think women understand how repelled a man feels when he sees a woman wholly absorbed in what she is thinking, unless it is about her child, or her husband, or her lover. It ... gives one gooseflesh.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "There Is No Conversation," The Harsh Voice ()
  • It struck her that the difference between men and women is the rock on which civilization will split before it can reach any goal that could justify its expenditure of effort.

  • Idiocy is the female defect ... It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy ...

  • ... men are not realists — only women are.

  • Women are as old as they feel, and men are old when they lose their feelings.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • I believe in the single standard for men and women.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • When a woman goes wrong, a man goes right after her.

  • I have never heard of a male artist concerned about the effect of his growth and expansion on his family. We accept the fact that his work justifies all sacrifices. But woman does not feel this is enough of a justification.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • Women, I contend, are not men's equals in anything except responsibility. We are not their inferiors, either, or even their superiors. We are quite simply different races.

    • Phyllis McGinley,
    • "The Honor of Being a Woman," The Province of the Heart ()
  • It is well known that a mother with fatherless children drove some man away with her bitchiness, while a father with motherless children is the tender victim of some selfish woman.

  • I long to hear that you have declared an independency — and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation. That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to her husband, John Adams (1776), in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family 1762-1784 ()
  • Whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives. But ... notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our masters, and without violence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to her husband, John Adams (1776), in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family 1762-1784 ()
  • ... man and woman are two locked caskets, of which each contains the key to the other.

  • Women lead in ways different from men's. Men, I think, have been programmed to give orders. Women have been programmed to motivate people, to educate them, to bring out the best in them. Ours is a less authoritarian leadership. I think women tend to play hardball less often. This is the trend of office politics anyway: the days of warring factions are over. We're talking now in terms of cooperation, and I think that is the game women play best.

    • Muriel Fox,
    • in Marilyn Loden, Feminine Leadership ()
  • A true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit of conqueror and conquered; it knows of but one great thing; to give of one's self boundlessly, in order to find one's self richer, deeper, better.

  • ... true emancipation ... will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation," Anarchism ()
  • Women are door-mats and have been; / The years those mats applaud — / They keep their men from going in / With muddy feet to God.

  • The fact is that men need women more than women need men; and so, aware of this fact, man has sought to keep woman dependent upon him economically as the only method open to him of making himself necessary to her.

  • The lecturer in a marriage course at one of the big Eastern colleges for women recently said that a woman, even if she earns money, must act as if her husband were the important member of the family financially. She said this was the right psychological approach. It's not only the right psychological approach, but it's a recognition of fact.

  • In a woman-dominated society like our own, it's a cinch for a successful wife to spotlight her work, in public. If she's too successful, that's something to avoid as a conversational topic, at least among her husband's friends.

  • Woman throughout the ages has been mistress to the law, as man has been its master.

  • I will be neither man nor woman, / I will be just a human.

    • Anna Wickham,
    • "The Revolt of Wives," The Contemplative Quarry ()
  • There are no medicine men without medicine women. A medicine man is given power by a woman, and it has always been that way. A medicine man stands in the place of the dog. He is merely an instrument of woman. It doesn't look that way anymore, but it is true.

  • ... I just wish, when neither of us has written to my husband's mother, I didn't feel so much worse about it than he does.

  • It might be marvelous to be a man — then I could stop worrying about what's fair to women and just cheerfully assume I was superior, and that they had all been born to iron my shirts. Better still, I could be an Irish man — then I would have all the privileges of being male without giving up the right to be wayward, temperamental and an appealing minority.

  • I don't think men try to make women be like them, but I think women try to make men be like them, a lot.

  • It takes three or four women to get each man into, through, and out of the world.

  • Now we are expected to be as wise as men who have had generations of all the help there is, and we scarcely anything.

  • As far as male and female are concerned, difference is a biological fact, whereas equality is a political, ethical and social concept. No rule of nature or of social organization says that the sexes have to be the same or do the same things in order to be social, political and economic equals.

    • Alice S. Rossi,
    • "The Biosocial Side of Parenthood," in Human Nature ()
  • We know of no culture that has said, articulately, that there is no difference between men and women except in the way they contribute to the creation of the next generation.

  • ... to the extent that either sex is disadvantaged, the whole culture is poorer, and the sex that, superficially, inherits the earth, inherits only a very partial legacy. The more whole the culture, the more whole each member, each man, each woman, each child will be.

  • Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to be as mediocre as possible.

  • ... the assumption that men and woman are essentially alike in all respects, or even in the most important ones, is a damaging one, as damaging as the assumption that they are different in ways in which they aren't different, perhaps more so ...

    • Margaret Mead,
    • 1938, in Margaret M. Caffrey and Patricia A. Francis, eds., To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead ()
  • ... the right line of conduct is the same for both sexes, though the manner in which it is pursued, may somewhat vary, and be accommodated to the strength or weakness of the different travelers.

  • Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different.

  • A woman has all too much substance in a man's eyes at the best of times. That is why men like women to be slim. Her lack of flesh negates her. The less of her there is, the less notice he need take of her. The more like a male she appears to be, the safer he feels.

  • How unfair it was, reflected Dame Laura, that women in love looked their best and men in love looked like depressed sheep.

  • I object to anything that divides the two sexes. My main point is this: human development has now reached a point at which sexual difference has become a thing of altogether minor importance. We make too much of it; we are men and women in the second place, human beings in the first.

    • Olive Schreiner,
    • 1884, in S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner, ed., The Letters of Olive Schreiner 1876-1920 ()
  • ... the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says — work; and to us it says — seem!

  • It is delightful to be a woman; but every man thanks the Lord devoutly that he isn't one.

  • I am not convinced that men and women were ever meant to share the same house, though some people can do it beautifully.

  • The well-mannered man never puts out his hand in greeting until a lady extends hers. This is a test of good breeding that is constantly applied. ... The first move in the direction of cordiality must come from the lady, the whole code of behaviour being based on the assumption that she is the social superior.

  • I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. ... He never is finished till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently realised than ever happens here.

  • [Addressing her male readers:] You are not our protectors. ... If you were, who would there be to protect us from?

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1871, in Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • A woman reasons by telegraph, and his [a man's] stage-coach reasoning cannot keep pace with hers.

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1867, in Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman. Children need their fathers at home and they need their mothers outside of it. That is, the work of the world needs to be done by men and women together.

  • The truth has never been told about women in history: that everywhere man has gone woman has gone too, and what he has done she has done also. Women are ignorant of their own past and ignorant of their own importance in that past.

  • For Nature is not unjust. She does not steal into the womb and like an evil fairy give her good gifts secretly to men and deny them to women. Men and women are born free and equal in ability and brain. The injustice begins after birth.

  • I do not believe there is any important difference between men and women — certainly not as much as they may be between one woman and another or one man and another.

  • For no country is a true democracy whose women have not an equal share in life with men, and until we realize this we shall never achieve a real democracy on this earth.

  • A man is educated and turned out to work. But a woman is educated — and turned out to grass.

  • ... men cannot be free in a nation where women are forbidden freedom.

  • The basic discovery about any people, therefore, is the discovery of the relationship between its men and women.

  • ... were the Men philosophers in the strict sense of the term, they would be able to see that nature invincibly proves a perfect equality in our sex with their own.

  • The most sympathetic of men never fully comprehend woman's concrete situation.

  • It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.

  • The face of a woman is always a help or a hindrance in her life story, whatever the strength or range of her mind, however important the things which concern her. Men have wanted it to be this way.

  • For woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink / Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free ...

  • Your sex are placed in so unjust a position here, that it is policy to ensure their submission by presenting to them a religion which promises them an equality with their oppressors hereafter.

  • We are a society that values a man for what he does in the world, a woman for how she looks.

  • We need only look at the language we use about men, women and sex to understand the differences. Men score, they make it, they collect notches — language that connotes conquest and accomplishment. Women are seduced, they're taken, they give up their virginity — words that suggest submission and loss. He's the actor, she the acted-upon. He gains status; she loses it as she gives up this socially prized commodity. He's a stud; she's too easy, a slut.

  • The theory that the man who raises corn does a more important piece of work than the woman who makes it into bread is absurd. The inference is that the men alone render useful service. But neither man nor woman eats these things until the woman has prepared it.

  • I believe in the difference between men and women. In fact, I embrace the difference.

    • Elizabeth Taylor,
    • in Joseph Papa, Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend ()
  • I do believe the reason why so few men, even among the intelligent, wish to encourage the mental cultivation of women, is their excessive love of the good things of this life; they tremble for their dear stomachs, concluding that a woman who could taste the pleasures of poetry or sentiment would never descend to pay due attention to those exquisite flavours in pudding or pie, that are so gratifying to their philosophic palates ...

    • Jane Taylor,
    • 1808, in Ada M. Ingpen, ed., Women As Letter-Writers ()
  • Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women.

  • Isn't it interesting how men 'leave' their families, but women 'abandon' their children?

  • After sex, men fear too much intimacy; they want to separate again. Women want to talk, to continue the merging, melting fusion into one. Postcoital conversations keep the woman's power alive. Through unconscious severance, by falling asleep, the man regains his self.

  • Freud, living at a time when women were proving their heads were no different from men's, substituted the penis for the head as the organ of male superiority, an organ women could never prove they had.

  • The average man is more interested in a woman who is interested in him than he is in a woman — any woman — with beautiful legs.

  • ... a sense of deep strain between women and men has been permeating our species' life as far back into time as the study of myth and ritual permits us to trace human feeling.

  • ... what is human and the same about the males and females classified as Homo sapiens is much greater than the differences.

  • A man likes to feel that he is loved, a woman likes to be told.

  • After the door of a woman's heart has once swung on its silent hinges, a man thinks he can prop it open with a brick and go away and leave it.

  • Womankind suffers from three delusions: marriage will reform a man, a rejected lover is heartbroken for life, and if the other women were only out of the way, he would come back.

  • If women envy men, we can now see that it's because of the privileges their anatomy confers and not the anatomy itself.

  • ... until it had been clearly explained that men were always and always partly wrong in all their ideas, life would be full of poison and secret bitterness. Men fight about their philosophies and religions, there is no certainty in them; but their contempt for women is flawless and unanimous.

  • Men simply don't understand how women are. They think there's some other kind.

  • ... certain ancient cavilers have gone so far as to deny that the female sex, as opposed to the male sex, is made in the likeness of God, which likeness they must have taken to be, as far as I can tell, in the beard.

  • The human animal ... is ... neither male nor female ... And if I am allowed to jest a little in passing, I have a joke that is not altogether irrelevant: nothing resembles a male cat on the windowsill more than a female cat.

  • ... a man may build and decorate a beautiful house, but it remains for a woman to make a home of it for him. It is the personality of the mistress that the home expresses. Men are forever guests in our homes, no matter how much happiness they may find there.

  • Manliness has been defined as assertion of the self. Womanliness has been defined as the nurturing of selves other than our own — even if we quite lose our own in the process. (Women are supposed to find in this loss their true fulfillment.) But every individual person is born both to assert herself or himself and to act out a sympathy for others trying to find themselves — in Christian terms, meant to love one's self as one loves others ... Jesus never taught that we should split up that commandment — assigning 'love yourself' to men, 'love others' to women. But society has tried to.

    • Barbara Deming,
    • "Two Perspectives on Women's Struggle," We Cannot Live Without Our Lives ()
  • I think the world has been split in half for much too long — between masculine and feminine. Or rather, between what is said to be masculine and said to be feminine. 'Vive la différence!' has been a popular saying ... I would like to argue that perhaps our most crucial task at this point of history — a task for women and men — is not to celebrate these so-called differences between our natures but to question boldly, by word and act, whether they properly exist at all, or whether they do not violently distort us, whether they do not split our common humanity.

    • Barbara Deming,
    • "Two Perspectives on Women's Struggle," We Cannot Live Without Our Lives ()
  • Without a woman, he who's natural / Is sad, for she's his mother, sister, love. / And rarely is she enemy to him.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Letter of the God of Love" (1399), in Thelma S. Fenster and Mary Carpenter Erler, eds., Poems of Cupid, God of Love ()
  • ... books were not composed / By women, nor did they record the things / That we may read against them and their ways. / Yet men write on, quite to their heart's content, / The ones who plead their case without debate. / They give no quarter, take the winner's part / Themselves, for readily do quarrelers / Attack all those who don't defend themselves. / If women, though, had written all those books, / I know that they would read quite differently, / For well do women know the blame is wrong. / The parts are not apportioned equally, / Because the strongest take the largest cut / And he who slices it can keep the best.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Letter of the God of Love" (1399), in Thelma S. Fenster and Mary Carpenter Erler, eds., Poems of Cupid, God of Love ()
  • [When asked why women had no sense of humor:] Do you know why God withheld the sense of humour from women? That we may love you, instead of laughing at you.

  • In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman.

  • When going on a date with someone they met online, the number-one fear that straight women have is going on a date with a serial killer. The number-one fear straight men have is going on a date with a fat woman. That says everything.

  • ... nature has decreed that for what men suffer by having to shave, be killed in battle, and eat the legs of chickens, women make amends by housekeeping, childbirth, and writing all the letters for both of them ...

  • Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland. We have never been involved in a decision to annex the territory of a neighboring country, or to fight for foreign markets on distant shores. These are the games men play, not us. We want to be neither oppressors nor oppressed. The women's revolution is the final revolution of them all.

  • [When asked if men are really superior to women in any way:] In some areas. For example, most men can throw a softball or a large rock farther than a woman can, and on that basis alone it's obvious men deserve to be president of AT&T.

  • All male roommates first thing in the morning look rumpled and adorable. All female roommates at 7:30 in the morning look like Lon Chaney. No one knows why this is true, but it is.

  • How does it feel to be a woman minister? I don't know; I've never been a man minister.

  • Once in a Cabinet we had to deal with the fact that there had been an outbreak of assaults on women at night. One minister suggested a curfew; women should stay home after dark. I said, 'But it's the men who are attacking the women. If there's to be a curfew, let the men stay home, not the women.'

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Andrea Medea and Kathleen Thompson, Against Rape ()
  • After all, God made man and then said I can do better than that and made woman.

  • ... when men don't like another man everyone assumes he's no good and that the men know what they are talking about, yet when women dislike another woman people just think they're being catty.

  • 'Tis hard we should be by the men despised, / Yet kept from knowing what would make us prized; / Debarred from knowledge, banished from the schools, / And with the utmost industry bred fools.

  • We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions," The First Woman's Rights Convention (1848), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • ... I want to say one word to the men who are present. I fear you think the 'new woman' is going to wipe you off the planet, but be not afraid. All who have mothers, sisters, wives or sweethearts will be very well looked after.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1895, in Michael Anthony Lawrence, Radicals in Their Own Time: Four Hundred Years of Struggle for Liberty and Equal Justice in America ()
  • We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.

  • [After a male friend said men were 'afraid women will laugh at them':] I asked some women ... 'Why do women feel threatened by men?' 'They're afraid of being killed,' they said.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • "Writing the Male Character," Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 1960-1982 ()
  • 'A man,' says Seyavi of the campoodie, 'must have a woman, but a woman who has a child will do very well.'

  • In a man they forgive anything. In a woman nothing.

  • All men are no more alike than all women, only aliker.

  • Jimmie is clever, but he is no match for a clever woman. No man is, for that matter.

  • When a man is attacked in print, it's usually for saying what he says; when a woman is attacked in print, it's often for being who she is.

  • Men and women ... need and want recognition of their value and uniqueness. The goal is not to make women more like men, or men more like women, but for everyone to become most like themselves.

  • It sometimes looks as though woman would not be woman unless man insisted upon it, since she tends so markedly to be just a human being when away from men, and only on their approach does she begin to play her required role.

  • Research has shown that men attribute their success to ability; both men and women in research studies attribute women's successes to luck. If we believe that women succeed only by chance, by extension we also believe that women are incapable of creating success.

  • ... the sexes in each species of beings ... are always true equivalents — equals but not identicals ...

  • All peace-loving women shut up when they sense they have stepped onto Guy Turf. Guy Turf is a murky realm of ego and pride and chivalry and testosterone and heroism.

  • Sex differences may be 'natural,' but gender differences have their source in culture.

  • On the whole, Western society is organized around the assumption that the differences between the sexes are more important than any qualities they have in common.

  • Away back in the cave-dwelling days, there was a simple and definite distribution of labor. Men fought and women worked. Men fought because they liked it; and women worked because it had to be done. ... The masculine attitude toward life was: 'I feel good today; I'll go out and kill something.'

  • Woman has two works to perform: a work of differentiation, of man from herself, and a work of unification, of man with herself. ... We, woman, are now entering upon our second work.

  • Women are strangers in the country of man ...

  • Women are penalized both for deviating from the masculine norm and for appearing to be masculine. When women try to establish their competence, they are scrutinized for evidence that they lack masculine (instrumental) characteristics as well as for signs that they no longer possess female (expressive) ones. They are taken to fail, in other words, both as a male and as a female.

  • Stories told around the water-cooler as well as statistics confirm that a man's competence is more likely to be presupposed, a woman's questioned.

  • ... whatever is morally wrong, is equally wrong in man and in woman and no virtue is to be cultivated in one sex, that is not equally required by the other.

    • Anna Jameson,
    • 1847, in G.H. Needler, Letters of Anna Jameson to Ottilie Von Goethe ()
  • 'Man's world' and 'woman's place' have confronted each other since Scylla first faced Charybdis. ... if women have only a place, clearly the rest of the world must belong to someone else and, therefore, in default of God, to men.

  • Power behaviors that are seen as appropriate for men will not ... be seen as appropriate for women. ... Successful managers are those who are able to acquire and use power strategies effectively. Those power styles and strategies that are most associated with being perceived as powerful and competent, with being effective or persuasive, are also associated with being masculine. ... the evidence suggests that both masculine and feminine styles may be effective if used by men, but masculine styles are not effective when used by women. The ineluctable conclusion is that women have the choice of using power in an indirect (manipulative) way and risking either being ineffective or unrecognized, or using direct styles and risking being both ineffective and disliked.

  • If you're an extraordinarily gifted woman, the door is open. What women are fighting for is the right to be as mediocre as men.

    • Grace Hartigan,
    • in Arlene Raven, Cassandra Langer, Joanna Frueh, eds., Feminist Art Criticism ()
  • Of all the systems — if indeed a bundle of contradictions and absurdities may be called a system — which human nature in its moments of intoxication has produced, that which men have contrived with a view to forming the minds and regulating the conduct of women, is perhaps the most completely absurd.

  • [Referencing Virginia Woolf's remark about the centuries women acted as mirrors, reflecting men at twice their natural size:] Men reflect women half their natural size.

  • There is more difference within the sexes than between them.

  • [On female and male judges:] A wise old woman and a wise old man reach the same conclusion.

    • M. Jeane Coyne,
    • "Women's Milestone; Majority on Minnesota Court," New York Times ()
  • Neither the biologically determined categories 'male' and 'female' nor the socially produced categories 'masculine' and 'feminine' are absolute — entirely consistent, even monolithic, within themselves. Each inhabits and is inhabited by its opposite.

  • ... we will no longer be led only by that half of the population whose socialization, through toys, games, values and expectations, sanctions violence as the final assertion of manhood, which that half holds to be synonymous with nationhood.

    • Wilma Scott Heide,
    • in Marvin Bressler, eds., American High Education: Prospects and Choices ()
  • When a man gets up to speak, people listen, they look. When a woman gets up, people look; then, if they like what they see, they listen.

  • Women have to be twice as good [as men] for half as much pay.

    • Agnes Macphail,
    • in Terence Allan Crowley, Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality ()
  • They say women talk too much. If you have worked in Congress you know that the filibuster was invented by men.

  • Male supremacy has kept her [woman] down. It has not knocked her out.

  • In politics women ... type the letters, lick the stamps, distribute the pamphlets and get out the vote. Men get elected.

  • Other wars end eventually in victory, defeat or exhaustion, but the war between men and women goes on forever.

  • ... to benefit the life conditions of men does not necessarily benefit the life conditions of women, although their interests may be apparently identical.

  • ... our culture is definitely the eighth grade. It's run by eighth-grade boys, and the way these boys show a girl they like her is by humiliating her and making her cry.

  • Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors.

  • In a society where the rights and potential of women are constrained, no man can be truly free. He may have power, but he will not have freedom.

  • Woman! woman! What a disturbing element you are in the universe — man's universe!

  • Very few men care to have the obvious pointed out to them by a woman.

  • Women are programmed to love completely, and men are programmed to spread it around. We are fools to think it's any different.

  • 'A man's way of loving is so different from a woman's,' sighed Anna. 'There ain't nothing,' said Mrs. Grimmage, 'there ain't nothing that makes them so sulky and turns them against you so soon as saying anything like that.'

  • ... love comes to man through his senses — to woman through her imagination.

  • They used to say that eighteen beautiful daughters were not equal to one son with a limp, but times have changed.

  • The men who espoused unpopular causes may have been considered misguided, but they were rarely attacked for their morals or their masculinity. Women who did the same thing were apt to be denounced as harlots or condemned for being unfeminine — an all-purpose word that was used to describe almost any category of female behavior of which men disapproved.

  • The difference between men and women is inalienable. It is not a political fact, subject to cultural definition and redefinition, but a physical verity. We do truthfully experience our lives differently because our bodies are different. It is in what we do with our experience that we are the same. We feel, absorb and examine with the same intensity, and intense experience honestly examined informs the art of both sexes equally. ... The power of imagination illuminates all human lives in common.

  • I can do as much work as any man ... We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. What we want is a little money. You men know that you get as much again as women when you write, or for what you do. When we get our rights, we shall not have to come to you for money, for then we shall have money enough of our own.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • 1851, in Carleton Mabee, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend ()
  • The real problem betewen the sexes is that for men, sex is a gender-underliner, they need it for their egos. We don't need sex to make us feel we are the person we need to be.

  • If you educate a man you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.

  • A man has every season while a woman only has the right to spring. That disgusts me.

  • Women are not forgiven for aging. Bob Redford's lines of distinction are my old-age wrinkles.

  • This toxic striving for perfection is a female thing. How many men obsess about being perfect? For men, generally, good enough is good enough.

  • Every time a woman makes herself laugh at her husband's often-told jokes she betrays him. The man who looks at his woman and says 'What would I do without you?' is already destroyed.

  • God made men stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I've ever met.

    • Farrah Fawcett,
    • in Ronald Warren Deutsch, Inspirational Hollywood ()
  • God hath put no such difference between the Male and Female as man would make.

  • Men of quality are not threatened by women of equality.

  • When a man of forty falls in love with a girl of twenty, it isn't her youth he is seeking but his own.

    • Lenore Coffee,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • ... the trouble with a woman standing behind her man is that she can't see where she is going!

    • Johnnetta B. Cole,
    • speech (1992), in Gloria Wade-Gayles, ed., My Soul Is a Witness ()
  • Men look at themselves in mirrors. Women look for themselves.

  • A man who thinks he knows even one woman — knows none.

  • One thing we Older Women have learned, however, is that guys are simple contraptions. They like sex, and they like it when their women like it, and that's about it. Younger women tend to make things more complicated. They worry far too much about cellulite. Basically, if you're naked and smiling, men are pretty happy.

  • Anyone who believes that men and women have the same mind-set hasn't lived on earth. A man thinks that everything he does is wonderful, that the sun rises and sets around him. But a woman has doubts.

  • Alas! a woman that attempts the pen, / Such an intruder on the rights of men, / Such a presumptuous Creature, is esteem'd, / The fault, can by no vertue be redeem'd.

    • Anne Finch,
    • "The Introduction," Miscellany Poems, Written by a Lady ()
  • There is a hidden fear that somehow, if they are only given a chance, women will suddenly do as they have been done by.

  • We have overdone this matter of distinctions and differences. We have differentiated and analyzed until we were near dissolution. We must unify. We are souls. Female souls? Male Souls? No, immortal souls.

  • For a man to be a man, did he have to be a soldier, or at least prepare himself for war? For a woman to be a woman, did she have to be a mother, or at least prepare herself to raise children? Soldiers and mothers were the sacrificial couple, honored by statues in the park, lauded for their willingness to give their lives to others.

  • My research suggests that men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same, using similar words to encode disparate experiences of self and social relationships. Because these languages share an overlapping moral vocabulary, they contain a propensity for systematic mistranslation ...

  • 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.

    • Lillian Gish,
    • in Stuart Oderman, Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen ()
  • ... when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind. When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.

  • ... a woman's success is more likely to be explained by external factors like luck or ease of task, or by high effort, an internal but unstable factor, whereas a man's success is more likely to be attributed to high ability. The reverse is true for explanations of failure; men are said to fail because of hard luck, a hard task, or low effort, whereas women are said to fail because of low ability.

    • Bernice Lott,
    • "The Devalutaion of Women's Competence," in Janis S. Bohan, ed., Seldom Seen, Rarely Heard: Women's Place in Psychology ()
  • A woman's work, from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, is as hard as a day at war, worse than a man's working day. ... To men, women's work was like the rain-bringing clouds, or the rain itself. The task involved was carried out every day as regularly as sleep. So men were happy — men in the Middle Ages, men at the time of the Revolution, and men in 1986: everything in the garden was lovely.

  • [On the Adam and Eve story:] They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality.

  • The men in this family seemed like garden flowers, sweet and colorful and quick to fade ... The women, by contrast, were like weeds — there were so many of them, and they lasted on and on with a minimal flowering, able to subsist on altogether less in the way of space, nourishment and hope.

  • Ever notice how whenever you're in pain, guys think you've got your period? You're lying on the floor with a spear coming out of your chest, and he says, 'What's the matter, you got cramps?'

    • Marjorie Gross,
    • in Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern, Humor at Work ()
  • Two business women can 'make a home' together without either one being over-burdened or over-bored. It is because they both know how and both feel responsible. But it is a rare man who can marry one of them and continue the home-making partnership.

    • Cyrstal Eastman,
    • 1920, in Blanche Wiesen Cook, Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution ()
  • Men have always been permitted to be people. We have just recently made it.

  • The men are much alarmed by certain speculations about women; and well they may be, for when the horse and ass begin to think and argue, adieu to riding and driving.

    • Adelaide Anne Proctor,
    • letter to Anna Jameson (1838), in Gerardine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson ()
  • The figure of a handsome woman, blindfolded, holding a pair of scales in her outstretched, majestic hand, was used by Man to symbolize the Spirit of Justice long before he admitted any of her sex to the bar or jury duty ... Man has always liked to have some woman, especially one about eight feet high and of earnest aspect, to represent his ideas or inventions. At the same time, of course, he anxiously thwarted her attempts to utilize the inventions or pursue the theories he held. Thus, he wanted women to be illiterate, but to represent the Spirit of Education ... He wanted some smiling damsel to typify Architecture for him, but never to build his houses. And, much as he insisted on having his women folk meek and shy, he was always portraying them blowing trumpets and leading his armies to war.

    • Miriam Beard,
    • "Woman Springs from Allegory to Life," in The New York Times ()
  • I do not assume that woman is better than man. I do assume that she has a different way of looking at things.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • interview (1893), in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • Men are generally more law-abiding than women. Women have a feeling that since they didn't make the rules, the rules have nothing to do with them.

  • If a woman gets nervous, she'll eat or go shopping. A man will attack a country — it's a whole other way of thinking.

  • I always thought the difference between men and women was pockets.

  • A man is commanding — a woman is demanding. A man is forceful — a woman is pushy. A man is uncompromising — a woman is a ball-breaker. A man is a perfectionist — a woman's a pain in the ass. He's assertive — she's aggressive. He strategizes — she manipulates. He shows leadership — she's controlling. He's committed — she's obsessed. He's persevering — she's relentless. He sticks to his guns — she's stubborn. If a man wants to get it right, he's looked up to and respected. If a woman wants to get it right, she's difficult and impossible.

    • Barbra Streisand,
    • speech at the Women in Film luncheon (1986), in Lynda Obst, Hello, He Lied--And Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches ()
  • If a man wants to get it right, he's looked up to and respected. If a woman wants to get it right, she's difficult or impossible. If he acts, produces and directs, he's called multitalented. If she does the same thing, she's called vain and egotistical.

  • For guys, sex is like going to a restaurant. No matter what they order off that menu, they walk out saying, 'Damn! That was good!' For women, it don't work like that. We go to the restaurant; sometimes it's good, sometimes you got to send it back ... Or you might go, 'I think I'm going to cook for myself today.'

  • ... men never would share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.

  • Never underestimate a man's ability to underestimate a woman.

  • ... there's something about male sports privilege that contributes to the sexual objectification and abuse of women. Given how pervasive and what cultural icons men's sports are, that's a scary thought.

  • The stronger women get, the more men love football.

  • Not all women give most of their waking thoughts to the problem of pleasing men. Some are married.

    • Emma Lee,
    • in Jilly Cooper and Tom Hartman, eds., Violets and Vinegar ()
  • Powerful men often succeed through the help of their wives. Powerful women only succeed in spite of their husbands.

  • All too many men still seem to believe, in a rather naïve and egocentric way, that what feels good to them is automatically what feels good to women.

  • Men don't have to worry about turning forty. They have to worry about turning ninety, and even then they can father children. They just can't recognize them or pick them up.

  • Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next-door and just visit now and then.

  • ... I've always thought men and women are not too well suited to each other. It's inevitable that they should come together, but, again, how well suited are they to live together in the same house?

  • ... one has to remember that Men are not like Us, doesn't one?

  • ... claims about what's 'natural' have long been used to reinforce traditional gender roles and values. ... Even the notion that women should have children at all is based on the idea that a woman's inherent and most important role is that of mother. Shockingly, men's 'innate' roles are a lot more fun than the ones bestowed on women.

  • The men may be the head of the house, but the women are the neck and they can turn the head any way they want.

  • The grim possibility is that she who 'hides her brains' will, more than likely, end up with a mate who is only equal to a woman with 'hidden brains' or none at all.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • "In Defense of the Equality of Men," in Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women ()
  • He had read somewhere that the desire of a man is for a woman, and the desire of a woman is to be desired.

  • No man worth his salt does not wish to be a husband and father; yet no man is raised to be a husband and father and no man would ever conceive of those relationships as instruments of his prime function in life. Yet every woman is raised, still, to believe that the fulfillment of these relationships is her prime function in life and, what's more, her instinctive choice.

    • Vivian Gornick,
    • "The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs," Essays in Feminism ()
  • A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is put you on hold.

  • Consider how odd it would be if all we knew about elephants had been written by elephants. Would we recognize one? ... So when the human male describes his world he maps its distances from his unspoken natural center of reference, himself. He calls a swamp 'impenetrable,' a dog 'loyal' and a woman 'short.' ... The only animal who can observe man from the outside is of course the human female: we women who live in his house, in his shadow, on his planet. And it is important that we do this. This incompletely known animal conditions every aspect of our individual lives and holds the destruction of Earth in his hands.

    • Alice B. Sheldon,
    • 1973, in Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon ()
  • It is a man's world at the top, at the bottom, and in between. Men are in the catbird seat as far as income, opportunity, status, and power are concerned. This is the way it always has been and, as far as men are concerned, it is the way it always should be.

  • Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

  • The idea of the mistress is fundamentally embarrassing. ... It is not just the secrecy and deception, it is the playing of a preordained role, which is based on the assumption that what women want is to be adored and showered with gifts and that what men want is to have an eternally available playmate while not giving freely of themselves. It is not very flattering to either sex.

  • Men always try to keep women out of business so they won't find out how much fun it really is.

    • Vivien Kellems,
    • in Alice Charlotte Goff, Women Can Be Engineers ()
  • Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly.

  • The only problem with women is men.

    • Kathie Sarachild,
    • in Jonathon Green, ed., International Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations ()
  • It is apparent that we cannot speak of inferiority and superiority, but only of specific differences in aptitudes and personality between the sexes. These differences are largely the result of cultural and other experiential factors.

  • Women never bought Freud's idea of penis envy: who would want a shotgun when you can have an automatic?

  • A pedestal is as much a prison as any other small space.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words ()
  • How to tell a businessman from a businesswoman: A businessman is aggressive; a businesswoman is pushy. A businessman is good on details; she's picky. He loses his temper at times because he's so involved in his work; she's bitchy. He knows how to follow through; she doesn't know when to quit. He stands firm; she's hard. He's a man of the world; she's been around. He isn't afraid to say what he thinks; she's mouthy. He drinks martinis because of excessive job pressures; she's a lush. He exercises authority diligently; she's power mad. He's climbed the ladder of success; she's slept her way to the top. He's a stern taskmaster; she's hard to work for!

    • Anonymous,
    • in Marilyn Loden, Feminine Leadership ()
  • Nothing could be more grotesquely unjust than a code of morals, reinforced by laws, which relieves men from responsibility for irregular sexual acts, and for the same acts drives women to abortion, infanticide, prostitution, and self-destruction.

  • To the Pilgrim Mothers, who not only had their full share of the hardships and privations of pioneer life but also had the Pilgrim Fathers to endure.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • toast following a toast to the Pilgrim Fathers, in Prosper Cravath et al., Early Annals of Whitewater 1837-1867 ()
  • I find that, in general, the amount of sharing men do with each other in one year is about the same as what I share with my female friends while we wait for our cars at the valet.

  • Polls show that what women fear most from men is violence, and what men fear most from women is ridicule.

  • ... but men don’t want women who are brave. They want women who make them feel like men.

  • The feminine in the man is the sugar in the whiskey. The masculine in the woman is the yeast in the bread. Without these ingredients the result is flat, without tang or flavor.

  • Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. 'He is very dreamy,' she says. 'But he is not the sun. You are.'

  • Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different ...