Quotations about:
    women


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When once you see
the glint of wine shining at the feasts of women,
then you may be sure the festival is rotten.

[γυναιξὶ γὰρ
ὅπου βότρυος ἐν δαιτὶ γίγνεται γάνος,
οὐχ ὑγιὲς οὐδὲν ἔτι λέγω τῶν ὀργίων.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 260ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For when women
Share at their feasts the grape's bewitching juice;
From their licentious orgies, I pronounce
No good results.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

For where women have the delight of the grape-cluster at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

For where ’mong women
The grape’s sweet poison mingles with the feast,
Nought holy may we augur of such worship.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

When women drain the wine-cup at the feast,
Foul is the orgie, dangerous the disease.
[tr. Rogers (1872)]

For where the gladsome grape is found at women’s feasts, I deny that their rites have any longer good results.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

For when
In women's feasts the cluster's pride hath part,
No good, say I, comes of their revelry.
[tr. Way (1898)]

When once the gleam
Of grapes hath lit a Woman's Festival,
In all their prayers is no more health at all!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

For where women
have the sparkle of the vine in their festivities,
there, I say, nothing wholesome remains in their rituals.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

As for women, my opinion is this: when the sparkle of sweet wine appears at their feasts, no good can be expected from their ceremonies.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

I tell you, when women
have the cluster’s refreshment at banquets,
there’s nothing healthy left about their orgies.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Take my word,
when women are allowed to fast on wine, there is no
telling to what lengths their filthy minds will go!
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

I say that feast where a woman takes
The gleaming grape is most diseased.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

For whenever the liquid joy
of the grape comes into women's festivals, then, I assure, you,
there's nothing wholesome in their rites.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Because when women
get their sparkle at a feast from wine,
I say the entire ritual is corrupt.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

For when the women have
The bright grape-cluster gleaming at their feasts,
There’s nothing healthy in these rites, I say.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

Wherever women get the gleaming grape to drink in their feasts, everything about their rites is diseased.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I’m telling you both, no good comes out of drunk women.
Wine wisdom and orgies are dangerous.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

For whenever the pleasure of the grape's
cluster comes shimmering to women in feast, I say no-
thing is left wholesome in their orgies!
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

Whenever women at some banquet start to take pleasure in the gleaming wine, I say there's nothing healthy in their worship.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

It's always the same: as soon as you allow drink and women at a festival, everything gets sordid.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

When women start getting into the wine, I say it’s gone too far. It’s not healthy.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

There is no good in these festivals where shimmering wine corrupts women.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

For where women have the delight of the grape at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 31-Jan-23 | Last updated 31-Jan-23
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Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) English social philosopher, feminist, writer
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ch. 3 (1792)
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Added on 25-Jan-23 | Last updated 25-Jan-23
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Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.

[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

               Their homes
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]

I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be. ⁠
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]

               Our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

               Women leave
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
Over Bakkhos!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

               ... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]

Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

     Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
     Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
     I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
     If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

How our women
had run off
to celebrate
perferse rites
     in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
     whoever he is.
Everywhere
     in the midst of their revels
          stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
to copulate
with any man
     who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
It's Aphrodite,
not Bacchus,
     they worship.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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She’d stopped reading the kind of women’s magazine that talks about romance and knitting and started reading the kind of women’s magazine that talks about orgasms, but apart from making a mental note to have one if ever the occasion presented itself she dismissed them as only romance and knitting in a new form.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, “Wednesday” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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Added on 1-Dec-22 | Last updated 15-Dec-22
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For ages past, women were defined only in relation to other people, and the definition lingers: 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.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
One’s Company: Reflections on Living Alone, ch. 1 (1992)
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Added on 9-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there is something specific you want him to do.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1963)
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Added on 18-Nov-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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If Nature had arranged that husbands and wives should have children alternately, there would never be more than three in a family.

Laurence Housman
Laurence Housman (1865-1959) English playwright, writer, illustrator
(Attributed)
 
Added on 30-Sep-21 | Last updated 30-Sep-21
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Men who don’t like girls with brains don’t like girls.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1966)
    (Source)

Originally published in McLaughlin's "The Neurotic's Notebook" column in The Atlantic, some time in 1965.
 
Added on 24-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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There is, in fact, no incompatibility between the principles of feminism and the possibility that men and women are not psychologically identical. To repeat: equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group. In the case of gender, the barely defeated Equal Rights Amendment put it succinctly: “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” If we recognize this principle, no one has to spin myths about the indistinguishability of the sexes to justify equality. Nor should anyone invoke sex differences to justify discriminatory policies or to hector women into doing what they don’t want to do.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Blank Slate, Part 5, ch. 18 (2002)
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Added on 30-Jun-21 | Last updated 30-Jun-21
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What, sir, would the people of this earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir. Mighty scarce.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Women, a Eulogy of the Fair Sex,” Speech at the Correspondents Club, Washington, DC (11 Jan 1868)
    (Source)

The speech (responding to a toast) was printed on 13 January in the Washington Star. The last sentence (or, in some cases, "Almighty scarce") was apparently added later in Twain's published speeches.

Variant: "What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce."
 
Added on 21-Jun-21 | Last updated 21-Jun-21
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Women just can’t be trusted any more.

[Ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 456 (11.456) [Agamemnon] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 274]
    (Source)

Agamemnon, who was slain on his homecoming by Clytemnestra, is giving Odysseus marital advice when the latter visits Hades. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "For ’tis no world to trust a woman now." [tr. Chapman (1616)]
  • "Remember still, women unfaithful are." [tr. Hobbes (1675)]
  • "For since of womankind so few are just, / Think all are false, nor even the faithful trust." [tr. Pope (1725)]
  • "For woman merits trust no more." [tr. Cowper (1792), l. 453]
  • "No more are women to be trusted now." [tr. Worsley (1861), st. 54]
  • "For that trust / Henceforth in women must never be plac'd." [tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 706ff]
  • "No trust in women!" [tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 455]
  • "For there is no more faith in woman." [tr. Butcher/Lang (1879) and Palmer (1891)]
  • "From now henceforth in women no troth or trust shall be." [tr. Morris (1887)]
  • "For after all this there is no trusting women." [tr. Butler (1898)]
  • "For no longer is there faith in women." [tr. Murray (1919)]
  • "There is no putting faith in women." [tr. Lawrence (1932)]
  • "Women, I tell you, are no longer to be trusted." [tr. Rieu (1946) and DCH Rieu (2002)]
  • "There is no trusting in women." [tr. Lattimore (1965)]
  • "No woman merits trust." [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
  • "The time for trusting women's gone forever!" [tr. Fagles (1996), l. 456]
  • "Women are no longer to be trusted." [tr. Verity (2016)]
  • "No more is there faith in women." [tr. Green (2018)]
  • "For there’s no trust / in women anymore." [tr. Johnston (2019), l. 577ff]
 
Added on 2-Jun-21 | Last updated 20-Dec-21
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Because society would rather we always wore a pretty face, women have been trained to cut off anger.

Nancy Friday (1933-2017) American author and feminist
My Mother/My Self (1977)
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Added on 22-Apr-21 | Last updated 22-Apr-21
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The first symptom of true love in a young man is timidity; in a young girl it is boldness. This is surprising, and yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming each the other’s qualities.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Vol. 4, Book 3, ch. 6 (1862) [tr. Hapgood]
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Added on 24-Mar-21 | Last updated 24-Mar-21
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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.”

Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American author and critic [pen name "Sec"]
Out of My Time (1971)
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Added on 28-Oct-20 | Last updated 28-Oct-20
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How unhappy are women! Their own sex their most inveterate enemy. An husband tyrannizes; a lover dishonors and despises them. Watched on all sides, thwarted in all things; ever in fear and in constraint; without support or succour; with a number of lovers but not one friend. Is it then to be wondered at that they should become a compound of humor, dissimulation, and caprice?

Anne "Ninon" de l'Enclos (1620-1705) French author, courtesan, patron of the arts [Ninon de Lenclos, Ninon de Lanclos]
The Memoirs of Ninon de L’Enclos, Vol. 1, “Life and Character” (1761)
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Added on 25-Aug-20 | Last updated 25-Aug-20
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The allurement that women hold out to men is precisely the allurement that Cape Hatteras holds out to sailors: they are enormously dangerous and hence enormously fascinating.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The Incomparable Buzz-Saw,” The Smart Set (May 1919)
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Added on 20-Apr-20 | Last updated 20-Apr-20
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Perhaps the condition of women affords, in all countries, the best criterion by which to judge the character of men.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
Views of Society and Manners in America, Letter 23, Mar. 1820 (1821)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
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“Come on, now. Home we go and a nice cuppa,” said Mr. Butler, who was convinced that tea was the cure for most female ills, from miscarriage to bankruptcy.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
The Green Mill Murder (1993)
 
Added on 2-Nov-17 | Last updated 2-Nov-17
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Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys,
Are never valued till they make a noise.

George Crabbe (1754-1832) English poet, writer, surgeon, clergyman
Tales of the Hall, “The Maid’s Story” (1819)
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A good martini, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman … or a bad woman, depending on how much happiness you can stand.

George Burns (1896-1996) American comedian
Dr. Burns’ Prescription for Happiness, “Nine Definitions of Happiness” (1984)
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The invisible man is a Wellsian supervillain, but the invisible women are all around us, anxious and unseen.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Annihilation Score, ch. 19 (2015)
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If God didn’t want women to be looked at, he would have made ’em ugly — that’s reasonable, isn’t it? God isn’t a cheat; He set up the game Himself — He wouldn’t rig it so that the marks can’t win, like a flat joint wheel in a town with the fix on. He wouldn’t send anybody to Hell for losing in a crooked game.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land, ch. 27 [Patty] (1961)
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People always ask if a woman can be a wife and mother and have a career at the same time. Why don’t they ask if she can be a hostess, chauffeur, cook, gardener, nurse, seamstress, social secretary, purchasing agent, baby machine, and courtesan — and a wife and a mother, too?

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. (Mar 1973).
 
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If there hadn’t been women we’d still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends.

Orson Welles (1915-1985) American writer, director, actor
Interview with David Frost, David Frost Show (12 May 1970)
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Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Jane Eyre, ch. 12 [Jane] (1847)
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I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Quoted in P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton, Bring on the Girls: The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy (1953).
 
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Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) Austrian-American film actress and inventor [b, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler]
(Attributed)

Quoted in Richard Schickel, The Stars (1962).
 
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“Charm” — which means the power to effect work without employing brute force — is indispensable to women. Charm is a woman’s strength just as strength is a man’s charm.

Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) British sexologist, physician, social reformer [Henry Havelock Ellis]
The Task of Social Hygiene (1912)
 
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A cheerful temper, joined with innocence will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured.

Addison - cheerful temper - wist_info quote

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Tatler #192 (1 Jul 1710)
 
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I could name all day, those women I deem great in Greece alone and the records would scarcely be complete. And what of Joan of Arc and Emma Goldman? Kate Richards O’Hare and Sarah Bernhardt? Katherine the Great and Elizabeth Barrett Browning? H.D. and Sara Teasdale? Isibella of Spain who pawned her gems that Columbus might sail, and Edna St. Vincent Millay? And that queen, Marie, I think her name was, of some small province — Hungary I believe — who fought Prussia and Russia so long and so bitterly. And Rome — oh, the list is endless there, also — most of them were glorified harlots but better be a glorified harlot than a drab and moral drone, such as the text books teach us woman should be. Woman have always been the inspiration of men, and just as there are thousands of unknown great ones among men, there have been countless women whose names have never been blazoned across the stars, but who have inspired men on to glory.

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
Letter to Harold Preece (c. Dec 1928)
 
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A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) American poet
(Attributed)
 
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There is a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to the gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women … recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution, and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man.

Gustave LeBon (1841-1931) German psychologist
Revue d’Anthropologie (1879)
 
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If we cannot trust woman with the knowledge of her own body, then I claim that two thousand years of Christian teaching has proved to be a failure.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) American birth control activist, sex educator, nurse
“The Morality of Birth Control,” speech, Park Theatre, New York (18 Nov 1921)
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Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 3 (1895)
 
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It is really mortifying, sir, when a woman possessed of a common share of understanding considers the difference of education between the male and female sex, even in those families where education is attended to …. Nay, why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me, sir, if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealousy of rivals near the throne.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Thaxter (15 Feb 1778)
 
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“The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord.”

Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. “Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Unseen Academicals (2009)
 
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I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives her a feeling of freedom, self-reliance and independence. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm while she is on her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) American reformer, aboltionist, sufferagist
Letter to the editor of “Sidepath” magazine (1898)
 
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So, why do you write these strong female characters?

Because you’re still asking me that question.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Equality Now Tribute Address (15 May 2006)
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There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

P. J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Modern Manners (1989 ed.)
 
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If your flirting strategy is indistinguishable from harassment, it’s not everyone else that’s the problem.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
“Convention Harassment Policy Follow-Up,” blog entry (5 Jul 2013)
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Men know that women are an over-match for them, and therefore they choose the weakest or most ignorant. If they did not think so, they never could be afraid of women knowing as much as themselves.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment

In James Boswell, Tour to the Hebrides (1785).
 
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“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives — let us admit it — a certain weight to the opinions expressed.) So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
“Writing the Male Character,” Hagey Lecture, U. of Waterloo (9 Feb 1982)
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Published in a revised version as "Writing the Male Character," Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982 (1983).

Usually paraphrased, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."
 
Added on 3-Jul-14 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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As I have noted in the past, vaginas are like, a thousand times tougher than testicles. Those ladyparts are basically tough as tractor tires. Our balls are as tough as tissue paper. We get flicked in the nuts by a badminton birdie we’ll double over for twenty minutes, moaning and rocking back and forth. Our balls are like little yarn-bundles contained in a thin, wifty sack of outlying flesh. They unspool like bobbins of delicate thread when damaged. Women on the other hand push entire people out of their lady-realms like divine fucking beings. So, maybe that vagina-analog isn’t the best insult, misogynist dudes. Kay? Kay.

Chuck Wendig (b. 1976) American novelist, screenwriter, game designer, blogger
“Burning the MRA Playbook,” Terrible Minds blog (29 May 2014)
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On men using references to female genitalia as insults.
 
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I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 3 (1929)
 
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Maybe my values are outdated, but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts. Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so. I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers — all that sort of thing.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
 
Added on 3-Jun-14 | Last updated 3-Jun-14
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KEATING: Now, language was developed for one endeavor, and that is? Mr. Anderson? Come on! Are you a man or an amoeba? Mr. Perry?
NEIL: Uh, to communicate.
KEATING: No! To woo women!

Tom Schulman (b. 1951) American screenwriter, director
Dead Poets Society (1989)
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Added on 2-Jun-14 | Last updated 18-Sep-20
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Women are random clusters of vagaries.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
The Father Hunt, ch. 8 [Wolfe] (1968)
 
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I had first noticed her in the lobby of the Churchill, because she rated a glance as a matter of principle — the principle that a man owes it to his eyes to let them rest on attractive objects when there are any around.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
“Frame-Up for Murder,” ch. 1 [Archie] (1958)
 
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And not a girl goes walking
Along the Cotswold lanes
But knows men’s eyes in April
Are quicker than their brains.

John Drinkwater (1882-1937) English poet and dramatist
“Cotswald Love”
 
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Again, the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 1, ch. 5 / 1254b [tr. B. Jowett (1885)]
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Aristotle is arguing that there is a natural distinction between the rulers and ruled, starting first with animals, then with sex. Alternate translations:
  • "Again, the relation of male to female is naturally that of superior and inferior, ruling and ruled, and the same kind of relation must necessarily exist in the case of all men generally." [tr. Bolland (1877)]
  • "So is it naturally with the male and the female; the one is superior, the other inferior; the one governs, the other is governed; and the same rule must necessarily hold good with respect to all mankind." [tr. Ellis (1912)]
  • "Again, as between the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject. And the same must also necessarily apply in the case of mankind as a whole." [tr. Rackham (1932)]
  • "Further, the relation of male to female is by nature a relation of superior to inferior and ruler to ruled. The same must of necessity hold in the case of human being generally." [tr. Lord (1984)]
 
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Susan smiled at me, giving Molly the Female Once-Over — a process by which one woman creates a detailed profile of another woman based upon about a million subtle details of clothing, jewelry, makeup, and body type, and then decides how much of a social threat she might be. Men have a parallel process, but it’s binary: Does he have beer? If yes, will he share with me?

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 9 (2010)
 
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If you rebel against high-heeled shoes, take care to do it in a very smart hat.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, and Fascism, ch. 79 (1928)
 
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Who loves not wine, women, and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.

[Wer nicht liebt Weib, Wein und Gesang,
A Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang.]

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer
(Attributed)

Attributed in Matthias Claudius, Der Wandsbecker Bothe (1775). Inscription in the Luther Room, Wartburg, Germany.
 
Added on 24-May-13 | Last updated 1-May-17
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Women commend a modest Man, but like him not.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5805 (1732)
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Added on 23-Jan-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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Next to God, we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth having.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Thoughts, Feelings, and Fancies (1857)
 
Added on 14-Feb-08 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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