Quotations about:
    women


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O my dear brother, what is there to say?
In vision I already see a time —
and it is not far distant from this day —
in which the pulpit shall denounce by writ
the shameless jades that Florentines call ladies,
who go about with breasts bare to the tit.
What Moslem woman ever has required
a priestly discipline, or any other,
before she would go decently attired?
But if the chippies only could foresee
swift Heaven’s punishment, they’d have their mouths
already open to howl misery.

[O dolce frate, che vuo’ tu ch’io dica?
Tempo futuro m’è già nel cospetto,
cui non sarà quest’ora molto antica,
nel qual sarà in pergamo interdetto
a le sfacciate donne fiorentine
l’andar mostrando con le poppe il petto.
Quai barbare fuor mai, quai saracine,
cui bisognasse, per farle ir coperte,
o spiritali o altre discipline?
Ma se le svergognate fosser certe
di quel che ’l ciel veloce loro ammanna,
già per urlare avrian le bocche aperte.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 23, l. 97ff (23.97-108) (1314) [tr. Ciardi (1961)]
    (Source)

Forese Donati speaking to Dante, anticipating the "future" (already-past) travails of Florence in the early 1300s, apparently brought about (in part) by the city's shameless women being scantily clad (though no such church edict survives in the record).

Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

O, Brother! shall I tell, or hide my thought?
The horrible display that Fancy views,
Which soon the pregnant moments will produce,
And Impudence and Pride's disgraceful lot.
Soon a stern Voice will teach the shameless kind
A decent covering, as they may, to find,
Their naked shoulders from the Sun to hide!
Was it amongst Barbarians ever known,
That nought but threats can bind the modest Zone,
On the young virgin and the plighted Bride?
But if these dainty Dames could read the Skies,
And spy the slumb'ring tempest soon to rise,
Those lips that whisper Love, would shriek Despair.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19-21]

O sweet brother!
What wouldst thou have me say? A time to come
Stands full within my view, to which this hour
Shall not be counted of an ancient date,
When from the pulpit shall be loudly warn’d
Th’ unblushing dames of Florence, lest they bare
Unkerchief’d bosoms to the common gaze.
What savage women hath the world e’er seen,
What Saracens, for whom there needed scourge
Of spiritual or other discipline,
To force them walk with cov’ring on their limbs!
But did they see, the shameless ones, that Heav’n
Wafts on swift wing toward them, while I speak,
Their mouths were op’d for howling.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Oh dear brother! what shall I say to thee?
A future time now within my view,
To which the present hour will be but new,
When interdict will issue from the chair
To Florence ladies of effrontery,
With naked bosoms, where the pays you spy.
Barbarians and Saracens were there e'er
Forced to go covered, and their right mind in,
By spiritual or other discipline?
Their future lot could but the shameless see,
What the swift Heaven is bringing on its wing,
To howl their mouths would soon be opening.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

O brother sweet, what wilt thou have me say?
A future time is in my sight already,
To which this hour will not be very old,
When from the pulpit shall be interdicted
To the unblushing womankind of Florence
To go about displaying breast and paps.
What savages were e'er, what Saracens,
Who stood in need, to make them covered go,
Of spiritual or other discipline?
But if the shameless women were assured
Of what swift Heaven prepares for them, already
Wide open would they have their mouths to howl.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

O brother dear, what wouldst have further told?
A future time already do I see,
In which the present day will not be old.
When in the Church they'll publish a decree
Against the insolent lady Florentines,
Not to expose their breasts for all to see.
When were Barbarians seen or Saracens,
To whom was needed clothing to enforce.
Or spiritual, or other disciplines?
But if the shameless ones could see the course
Which Heaven prepareth for them speedily.
Now would begin their howlings of remorse.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O sweet brother, what wouldst thou that I say? A future time is already in my sight, to which this hour will not be very old, in which from the pulpit it shall be forbidden to the brazen-faced dames of Florence to go displaying the bosom with the paps. What Barbarian, what Saracen women were there ever who required either spiritual or other discipline to make them go covered? But if the shameless ones were aware of that which the swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open for howling.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

O sweet brother, what would st thou have me say? Already in my vision is a time to come to which this hour shall not be very old,
when the brazen-faced women of Florence shall be forbidden from the pulpit to go abroad showing their breasts with the paps.
What Barbary, what Saracen women ever lived, to whom either spiritual, or other discipline were necessary, to make them go covered?
But if the shameless creatures were assured of what swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

O sweet brother, what wilt thou have me say? A coming time is already before my eyes to which this hour will not be very old when from the pulpit it shall be forbidden to the brazen women of Florence to go showing the breast with the paps. What barbarous women, what Saracens, ever were there that needed, to make them go covered, spiritual disciplines or any other? But had the shameless creatures knowledge of what the swift heavens prepare for them, they would have their mouths open already for howling.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O sweet brother, what would'st thou have me say?
A time to come already I see indeed,
Wherefrom this hour shall not be far away.
In which from pulpit shall it be forbid
To the unashamed women of Florence then
To go showing the breast with paps not hid.
What woman of Barbary, what Saracen,
did ever need, to make her go covered,
Spiritual or other regimen?
But if the unabashed ones were assured
Of what swift heaven prepares for them on high
Their mouths would open and their howls be heard.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Brother of mine, what wilt thou have me say?
This hour shall not be very old perhaps
Ere time shall bring what I foresee to-day:
A pulpit interdict, no less, which claps
Down on our brazen jades of Florentines
Flaunting unveiled the bosom and the paps.
What female Turk or Berber e'er showed signs
Of needing to be covered up by force
Of spiritual or other disciplines?
But could these wantons know what Heaven's swift course
Prepares for them, they'd have their mouths ajar
Already, fit to bellow themselves hoarse.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say? Already in my vision is a future time, to which this hour shall not be very old, when the brazen-faced women of Florence shall be forbidden from the pulpit to go displaying their breasts with the papas. What Barbarian, what Saracen women were there ever, who required either spiritual or other discipline to make them go covered? But if the shameless creatures were assured of what swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

My dear brother, how can I tell you this:
I see a future time -- it won't be long --
in which bans from the pulpit shall clamp down
on those ladies of Florence who, bold-faced,
now walk our city streets as they parade
their bosom to the tits! What barbarous girl,
what female Saracen, had to be taught
spiritual discipline, or anything,
to keep her body decently concealed?
But if these shameless creatures only knew
what the swift heavens have in store for them,
they would by now be screaming their heads off!
[tr. Musa (1981)]

O gentle brother, what do you want me to say?
Already I can see a time ahead,
Before the present hour is very old,
In which the impudent women of Florence
Will be preached against from the pulpit because
They go about showing their breasts to the nipples.
What women of Barbary, what Saracens
Ever needed, to make them go covered,
Either spiritual or other discipline?
But if the shameless creatures were assured
Of what swift heaven is getting ready for them,
They would have their mouths open already, to howl.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

O
sweet brother, what would you have had me say?
A future time’s already visible
to me -- a time not too far-off from now --
when, from the pulpit, it shall be forbidden
to those immodest ones -- Florentine women --
to go displaying bosoms with bare paps.
What ordinances -- spiritual, civil --
were ever needed by barbarian or
Saracen women to make them go covered?
But if those shameless ones had certain knowledge
of what swift Heaven’s readying for them,
then they would have mouths open now to howl.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say? Already I foresee a time to come, to which this time will not be too distant, when, from the pulpits, the brazen women of Florence will be forbidden to go round displaying their breasts and nipples.
When was there ever a Saracen woman, or woman of Barbary, who needed disciplining spiritually or otherwise, to force her to cover herself? But the shameless creatures would already have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

O dear brother, what can I say? A future time is already in my sight when this hour will not seem very ancient, when from the pulpit it will be forbidden to the brazen Florentine women to walk about showing their chests with their breasts.
What barbarian women, what Saracens ever needed either spiritual or other penalties to make them go covered up?
But if those shameless ones knew what the swift heavens are preparing for them, they would already have opened their mouths to howl.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

What, dearest brother, would you have me say?
A future time, already in my sight,
will come (when our time’s still not history),
when, from the pulpit, there’ll be issued bans
forbidding bare-faced Florence girls to go
with blatant breasts and both their boobs on show.
What mere barbarians or Saracens
required a priest or threat of on-spot fines
to make them cover up when they go out!
If, though, these brazen creatures only guessed
what Heaven so swiftly will bring down on them,
then they’d already howl with open mouths.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say?
In my vision even now I see a time,
before this hour shall be very old,
when from the pulpit it shall be forbidden
for the brazen ladies of Florence
to flaunt their nipples with their breasts.
What barbarous women, what Saracens,
have ever needed spiritual instruction
or other rules, to walk about in proper dress?
But if these shameless creatures knew
what the swift heavens are preparing, even now
their mouths would be spread open in a howl.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

O, my sweet brother, what can you ask me to say?
Looking into the future, I already see --
And the hour will not be long in coming, I believe --
When priests in our pulpits will forbid Florence's lewd
And insolent women from going about the streets,
Their breasts bare well below the nipples.
Were there ever barbarian women, or Turks,
Who needed heavy discipline -- by priests
Or by law -- to keep them decently covered? But such
Disgraceful creatures, should they realize
For sure what quick-handed Heaven has ready for them,
They'd now be ready to open their mouths and howl!
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 2-Feb-24 | Last updated 2-Feb-24
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We are women: in some things, we hesitate.
But in others, no one can surpass our courage.

[γυναῖκές ἐσμεν: τὰ μὲν ὄκνῳ νικώμεθα,
τὰ δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἡμῶν θράσος ὑπερβάλοιτό τις.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Auge [Αὐγῃ], frag. 276 (c. 408 BC) [tr. @sentantiq (2014)]
    (Source)

Nauck (TGF) frag. 276, Barnes frag. 18, Musgrave frag. 4. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Frail women as we are, too oft our fears
Subdue us, but at other times our courage
By none can be exceeded.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

We are women, sometimes defeated by fear,
sometimes unsurpassed in courage.
[Source]

 
Added on 30-Jan-24 | Last updated 30-Jan-24
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Men are convinced that women have it easy, but they haven’t convinced many women.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1966)
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That society is badly arranged which forces nearly all women to be servants.

Henri Barbusse
Henri Barbusse (1873-1935) French novelist, poet, journalist, activist
Light, ch. 23 (1919)
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Added on 21-Aug-23 | Last updated 21-Aug-23
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It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for any body who asks her.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Emma, Vol. 1, ch. 8 [Emma] (1816)
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Women have very simple tastes. They can get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 1, § 17 (1916)
    (Source)
 
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PENTHEUS: Do you hold your rites
during the day or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night.
The darkness is well suited to devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better suited to lechery and seducing women.
DIONYSUS: You can find debauchery by daylight too.

[Πενθεύς: τὰ δ᾽ ἱερὰ νύκτωρ ἢ μεθ᾽ ἡμέραν τελεῖς;
Διόνυσος: νύκτωρ τὰ πολλά: σεμνότητ᾽ ἔχει σκότος.
Πενθεύς: τοῦτ᾽ ἐς γυναῖκας δόλιόν ἐστι καὶ σαθρόν.
Διόνυσος: κἀν ἡμέρᾳ τό γ᾽ αἰσχρὸν ἐξεύροι τις ἄν.]

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

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

PENTHEUS: By night or day these sacred rites perform'st thou ?
BACCHUS: Mostly by nighty for venerable is darkness.
PENTHEUS: To women this is treacherous and unsafe.
BACCHUS: E'en in the broadest day may shame be found.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day someone may devise what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

PENTHEUS: Performest thou these rites by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most part by night -- night hath more solemn awe.
PENTHEUS: A crafty rotten plot to catch our women.
DIONYSUS: Even in the day bad men can do bad deeds.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

PENTHEUS: Dost thou perform thy rites by day; or night?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night; darkness gives dignity.
PENTHEUS: Craft rather and seduction it denotes.
DIONYSUS: Base acts are oft made manifest by day.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 462ff]

PENTHEUS: Is it by night or day thou performest these devotions?
DIONYSUS: By night mostly; darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Calculated to entrap and corrupt women.
DIONYSUS: Day too for that matter may discover shame.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

PENTHEUS: By night or day dost thou perform his rites? ⁠
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night: gloom lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Ay -- and for women snares of lewdness too.
DIONYSUS: In the day too may lewdness be devised.
[tr. Way (1898)]

PENTHEUS: How is thy worship held, by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most oft by night; 'tis a majestic thing,
The darkness.
PENTHEUS: Ha! with women worshipping?
'Tis craft and rottenness!
DIONYSUS: By day no less,
Whoso will seek may find unholiness.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your sacred acts at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: At night for the most party. Darkness possesses solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness for women is deceitful and corrupt!
DIONYSUS: Even in daytime one could discover disgraceful behavior.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your mysteries by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night. Darkness induces religious awe.
PENTHEUS: For women darkness is treacherous and impure.
DIONYSUS: Impurity can be practiced by daylight too.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

PENTHEUS: These sacred practices of your god, the worship,
The rites of great devotion, do they
Hold at night, or in the day.
DIONYSUS: [...] We hold our rites mostly at night
Because it is cooler. And the lamps
Lend atmosphere and feeling to the heart in worship.
[...]
PENTHEUS: And I say night hours are dangerous
Lascivious hours, lechery ....
DIONYSUS: You'll find debauchery in daylight, too.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

PENTHEUS: The rites -- at night or by day you perform them?
DIONYSUS: At night, mostly; there’s majesty in darkness.
PENTHEUS: And for women there’s trickery and smut.
DIONYSUS: Even by day one may discover shame.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your mysteries
during the day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night.
The dark is more conducive to worship.
PENTHEUS: You mean to lechery and bringing out the filth in women.
DIONYSUS: Those who look for filth, can find it at the height of noon.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

PENTHEUS: Do you worship in daylight or at night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness is most sacred.
PENTHEUS: That is treacherous and unwholesome for women.
DIONYSUS: Some find shame even in daylight.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate these sacred rites at night or in the day?
THE STRANGER: At night mostly, since darkness induces devotion.
PENTHEUS: No, darkness is devious and corrupts women.
THE STRANGER: Even in the day someone could devise shameful deeds.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

PENTHEUS: You practice this cult by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness is just a filthy trap for women.
DIONYSUS: Some people can dig up dirt in daytime, too.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by day? -- or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night -- because the darkness has its holiness.
PENTHEUS: It's treacherous, for women, and corrupts them.
DIONYSUS: What's shameful can be found even by light of day.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000), l. 571ff]

PENTHEUS: Do you practice your rites at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night: darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: This is an immoral trick aimed at women.
DIONYSUS: Someone could engage in shameful deeds even by day.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

PENTHEUS: And you perform these practices at night?
DIONYSUS: Man's true nature's seen in darkness not in light.
PENTHEUS: While darkness shrouds a woman's true duplicity.
DIONYSUS: Duplicity's not found in night exclusively.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

PENTHEUS: Tell me, when do you hold your worship? By clear day, or dark night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night -- it is a majestic time.
PENTHEUS: Indeed! A majestic time to take advantage of women. Shameful!
DIONYSUS: There are enough shameful things done by day. And enough shameful thoughts in your head, I am sure!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

PENTHEUS: These ... holy orgies of yours… do you perform them during the day or in the night?
DIONYSUS: Most of them during the night. Darkness adds a certain modesty.
PENTHEUS: That’s quite a dubious thing for the women… and rather lecherous, I’d say.
DIONYSUS: Shame, of course can be seen during the day, too, if it exists and if one were to look for it.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

PENTHEUS: Do you conduct the mysteries in the night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Us'ally by night, for darkness holds reverence.
PENTHEUS: Is this thing deceitful or unwholesome towards women?
DIONYSUS: One might also uncover shameful things i' the day.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

PENTHEUS: When you dance these rites,
is it at night or during daylight hours?
DIONYSUS: Mainly at night. Shadows confer solemnity.
PENTHEUS: And deceive the women. It's all corrupt!
DIONYSUS: One can do shameful things in daylight, too.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 604ff]

PENTHEUS: These mysteries. Do you practise them by day, or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night. Dark is better for devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better for lechery and the taking of women.
DIONYSUS: That happens in daylight too.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

PENTHEUS: And are these rites conducted by day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Night, for the most part. It’s so much more ... spiritual. Good for devotion.
PENTHEUS: The night’s a trap for women’s virtue.
DIONYSUS: And the day isn’t? You don’t get out much, do you?
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your rituals by day or night?
DIONYSUS: By night. We believe that darkness is holy.
PENTHEUS: It's a cunning time to force filth upon women.
DIONYSUS: Vice thrives in daylight, too.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the sacred rites [hiera] by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day you can find what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 28-Mar-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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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 11-Jul-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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More quotes by Wollstonecraft, Mary

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)]

 
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More quotes by Euripides

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, 3. “Wednesday” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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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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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)
    (Source)
 
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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)
 
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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.
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
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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."
 
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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]
 
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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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)
 
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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)
    (Source)
 
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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)
    (Source)

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."
 
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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)
 
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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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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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