Maybe I couldn’t make it. Maybe I don’t have a pretty smile, good teeth, nice tits, long legs, a cheeky ass, a sexy voice. Maybe I don’t know how to handle men and increase my market value, so that the rewards due to the feminine will accrue to me. Then again, maybe I’m sick of the masquerade. I’m sick of pretending eternal youth. I’m sick of belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex. I’m sick of peering at the world through false eyelashes, so everything I see is mixed with a shadow of bought hairs; I’m sick of weighting my head with a dead mane, unable to move my neck freely, terrified of rain, of wind, of dancing too vigorously in case I sweat into my lacquered curls. I’m sick of the Powder Room. I’m sick of pretending that some fatuous male’s self-important pronouncements are the objects of my undivided attention, I’m sick of going to films and plays when someone else wants to, and sick of having no opinions of my own about either. I’m sick of being a transvestite. I refuse to be a female impersonator. I am a woman, not a castrate.
—Germaine Greer (b.1939) Australia Academic, Journalist, Scholar, Writer
If your husband expects you to laugh, do so; if he expects you to cry, don’t; if you don’t know what he expects, what are you doing married?
—Mignon McLaughlin (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
Whether they give or refuse, it delights women just the same to have been asked.
—Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (c.43 BCE–c.18 CE) Roman Poet
No matter how good she looks, some other guy is sick and tired of putting up with her crap.
Women speak two languages – one of which is verbal.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
Money and women are the most sought after and the least known about of any two things we have
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
Women are the real architects of society.
—Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) American Abolitionist, Author
Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality
The works of women are symbolical. We sew, sew, prick our fingers, dull our sight, producing what? A pair of slippers, sir, to put on when you’re weary—or a stool. To stumble over and vex you… “curse that stool!” Or else at best, a cushion, where you lean and sleep, and dream of something we are not, but would be for your sake. Alas, alas! This hurts most, this… that, after all, we are paid the worth of our work, perhaps.
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61) English Poet
Woman is the companion of man, gifted in equal mental capacity.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader
There is only one proper way to wear a beautiful dress: to forget you are wearing it.
—Delphine de Girardin (1804–55) French Novelist, Author
Coming to terms with the rhythms of women’s lives means coming to terms with life itself, accepting the imperatives of the body rather than the imperatives of an artificial, man-made, perhaps transcendentally beautiful civilization. Emphasis on the male work-rhythm is an emphasis on infinite possibilities; emphasis on the female rhythms is an emphasis on a defined pattern, on limitation.
—Margaret Mead (1901–78) American Anthropologist, Social Psychologist
And when a woman’s will is as strong as the man’s who wants to govern her, half her strength must be concealment.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
The source of all life and knowledge is in man and woman, and the source of all living is in the interchange and the meeting and mingling of these two: man-life and woman-life, man-knowledge and woman-knowledge, man-being and woman-being.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
The people I’m getting furious with are the women’s liberationists. They keep getting on their soapboxes proclaiming that women are brighter than men. That’s true, but it should be kept quiet or it ruins the whole racket.
—Anita Loos (1888–1981) American Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter
Most women defend themselves. It is the female of the species—it is the tigress and lioness in you—which tends to defend when attacked.
—Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013) British Head of State
A good cigar is as great a comfort to a man as a good cry is to a woman.
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803–73) British Novelist, Poet, Politician
There is only one real tragedy in a woman’s life. The fact that her past is always her lover, and her future invariably her husband.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
I have an idea that the phrase ‘weaker sex’ was coined by some woman to disarm the man she was preparing to overwhelm.
—Ogden Nash (1902–71) American Writer of Sophisticated Light Verse
I … am always glad to touch the living rock again and dip my hand in the high mountain air.
—Isaac Asimov (1920–92) Russian-born American Writer, Scientist
Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.
Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
—Abigail Adams (1744–1818) American First Lady
Men greet each other with a sock on the arm, women with a hug, and the hug wears better in the long run.
—Edward Hoagland (b.1932) American Essayist, Novelist
There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.
—Madeleine Albright (1937–2022) Czech-born American Diplomat
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
—Timothy Leary (1920–96) American Psychologist, Author
I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.
—Marilyn Monroe (1926–62) American Actor, Model, Singer
A fickle and changeful thing is a woman ever.
—Virgil (70–19 BCE) Roman Poet
I’ve reached the age where competence is a turn-on.
—Billy Joel (b.1949) American Singer, Songwriter, Musician
Women really do rule the world. They just haven’t figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we’re all in big big trouble.
On the theory of the soul
—David Hume (1711–76) Scottish Philosopher, Historian
Friends are generally of the same sex, for when men and women agree, it is only in the conclusions; their reasons are always different.
—George Santayana (1863–1952) Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher