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Quotations about Women


I was meant to be woman-the-joyous, but I carry in my heart a thousand centuries of pain. I was meant to be woman-the-radiant, but my eyes tell a world-old story.... This destruction that we permit through our own unenlightenment, this gnarled and knotted being, this life bound to its pack, is not of God. It is of you, or it is of me. God gave us time to live, but we have so distorted it that we have only time to perish. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

As long as there are women in the world, men will have a greatly exaggerated idea of how many things take care of themselves. ~Robert Brault,

I do not mean that woman is the only inspiration which can move the currents of men's lives, but she is surely the best, strongest and most universal. She may be mother, sweetheart, wife, daughter or friend, but she holds in her hand more power than all the rest of the world but God. ~William Ellis, 1899

I love all women's smiling eyes,
I love all women's tempting lips,
I love all women's loving hearts,
I love all women's tender skin,
I love all women's glowing flesh,
I love all women's weakness,
I love all women's strength.
I love!  I love!  I love!
~Adolf Wolff (1883–1944), "Paneroticism," Songs, Sighs and Curses, 1913

...was I not born to be loved, caressed, and worshipped all my life? ~F. W. Robinson, Twelve O'Clock, 1861

Her little heart fought its way through a world that still crushed women down... To be a warrior and keep beautiful too! But Betty managed it. ~Rupert Hughes, The Golden Ladder, 1924

Give Womanhood and Childhood both their Due;
The Lioness and Cubs are Lions, too.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Women," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

      There is no question about it — woman is different. That is half the secret of her charm. She is one of those delightful subjects we can discuss, concuss, and rediscuss from every imaginable point of view, ad infinitum, world without end, without ever coming to any final conclusion, because woman is not final herself.
      She is always changing, always improving, forever eluding the grasp of the crude male intelligence by never doing just what it expects her to do — the net result being that she usually arrives at her predestined goal before the perplexed and blinking man in the case finds out what she is really driving at.
      Then, of course, he consoles himself by denouncing her as illogical, and endeavors to cover his defeat with some such cynical philosophy as that of Chimmie Fadden: "You never kin tell what a woman is goin' to do until it's too late to do you any good to know." This is the principal function of philosophy everywhere — explanation of failure.
      ~Woods Hutchinson, A.M., M.D. (1862–1930), Civilization and Health, "Chapter VIII: The Hardy Nerves of Woman," 1914

Many, many times I have thought that if there is to be a revival in the world, or in this country, of the truly liberal spirit, it will come through the influence of women... The women of this country could make over, if they wished to do so, the procedures of government. ~Dorothy Thompson, Political Guide: A Study of American Liberalism and Its Relationship to Modern Totalitarian States, 1938

In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
An angel-guard of loves and graces lie...
~James Montgomery

The smile of a woman has done more to shape the map of the world, than all the power of all the armies ever commanded by man. ~William Ellis, 1899

The time has gone by forever when woman can be regarded as a mere ornament, and can be shut out of active life. She is not a doll or a toy. She has her duties and responsibilities. She is not born merely to be married as soon as possible, and from girlhood to consider her wedding as the goal of her life. Thousands of young women will never be married, and yet their life need not be a failure though their fingers are never circled by a wedding-ring. Women have immortal souls. Their heaven does not depend upon being linked with a husband. Every young girl should set for her great central aim in life, to be a woman, a true, noble, pure, holy woman, to seek ever the highest things. That should be her aim, — to realize in her character all the possibilities of her womanhood. Accept your duty, and do it. Accept your responsibility, and meet it. Be true in every relation you are called to fill. Be brave enough to be loyal always to your womanhood. Train your mind to think. Set your ideal before you, — rich, beautiful womanhood, — and bend all your energy to reach it. ~J.R. Miller, Girls: Faults and Ideals, 1892 [Altered. –tg]

I love the angel and beast in women. ~Adolf Wolff (1883–1944), "A Sphinx," Songs, Sighs and Curses, 1913

A nod of recognition today to all the jobs that magically do themselves and to the women who do them. ~Robert Brault,

Girls are gifted with the power to create their heart's desire: a beautiful life, and an amazing world. It is in girls' spirits, bodies, and dreams. It is the power of creation. ~Maureen Theresa Smith, First Moon: Celebration & Support for a Girl's Growing-Up Journey, 2005

No man who respects his mother or loves his sister, can speak disparagingly of any woman; however low she may seem to have sunk, she is still a woman. I want every man to remember this. Every woman is, or, at some time, has been a sister or daughter.... ~Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin, Tried As By Fire; or, The True and the False, Socially.

Oh Woman! lovely Woman! Nature made thee
To temper Man: We had been Brutes without you,
Angels are Painted fair, to look like you;
There's in you all that we believe of Heav'n,
Amazing Brightness, Purity and Truth,
Eternal Joy, and everlasting Love.
~Thomas Otway

Before woman can advance, man must love her for the higher, not the lower faculties of her being... the wife, the friend, the mother. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation IV: Spring-time on the Western Coast," 1850  [Edith speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I also inherited something else, a trait that's increasingly rare nowadays and one that I've grown proud of. [My father] taught me, in his own stumbling, unorthodox, wordless way, to respect women—that they are more than one-night stands and objects of amusement. In every instance, there's a soul beneath that supple, scented skin, and you should never stroke one without first touching the other. ~Joseph Kita, "Sex, Women, and Love," Wisdom of Our Fathers, 1999

Her shape arises!
She less guarded than ever, yet more guarded than ever,
The gross and soil'd she moves among do not make her gross and soil'd,
She knows the thoughts as she passes, nothing is conceal'd from her,
She is none the less considerate or friendly therefor,
She is best belov'd, it is without exception, she has no reason to fear and she does not fear,
Oaths, quarrels, hiccupp'd songs, smutty expressions, are idle to her as she passes,
She is silent, she is possess'd of herself, they do not offend her,
She receives them as the laws of Nature receive them, she is strong,
She too is a law of Nature — there is no law stronger than she is.
~Walt Whitman, "Song of the Broad-Axe," 1856

I suspect that nearly all women either are angels, or would be so if well treated. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

You say I am discontented, proud and ambitious; that's true, and I'm glad of it. I am discontented, because I can't help feeling that there is a better sort of life than this dull one made up of everlasting work, with no object but money. I can't starve my soul for the sake of my body, and I mean to get out of the treadmill if I can. I'm proud, as you call it, because I hate dependence where there isn't any love to make it bearable.... I'm willing to work, but I want work that I can put my heart into, and feel that it does me good, no matter how hard it is. I only ask for a chance to be a useful, happy woman, and I don't think that is a bad ambition. Even if I only do what my dear mother did, earn my living honestly and happily, and leave a beautiful example behind me, to help one other woman as hers helps me, I shall be satisfied. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Christie," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

Women blossom and re-blossom throughout their lives, thus in age making a beautifully garden'd reminiscence of many kinds of flowers. ~Terri Guillemets, "Tending," 2012

A woman's eyes are so essential a thing with me; I turn to them so often, and find they give me so much to think about, that if I were nothing but head, women might, for all I cared, be nothing but eyes. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "The Character of a Person of my Acquaintance"  [Lichtenberg's unfinished "autopsychography" (Norman Alliston, 1908). —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Amy's lecture did Laurie good, though, of course, he did not own it till long afterward; men seldom do,—for when women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do; then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it; if it fails, they generously give her the whole. ~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, "Learning to Forget," 1869

If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

The poems in this book are intensely feminine and for me this means more than anything else that they are deeply human. We are yet scarcely aware, in spite of our boasted twentieth-century progress, of what lies deeply hidden, of mystery and passion, of domestic love and joy and sorrow, of romantic visions and practical ambitions, in the heart of a woman. The emancipation of woman is yet to be wholly accomplished; though woman has stamped her image on every age of the world's history, and in the heart of almost every man since time began, it is only a little over half a century since she has either spoke or acted with a sense of freedom. During this time she has made little more than a start to catch up with man in the wonderful things he has to his credit; and yet all that man has to his credit would scarcely have been achieved except for the devotion and love and inspiring comradeship of woman. ~William Stanley Braithwaite, Introduction to Georgia Douglas Camp Johnson, The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems, 1918

‘Women’ and ‘Shakespeare’ are the two best words in the English language! ~B. W. Woodward, Old Wine in New Bottles: For Old and New Friends, 1890  [“Reverend Somebody” —tg]

Had Stephen been better acquainted with men and women, she would have been more satisfied with herself for being the first at the tryst. The conventional idea, in the minds of most women and of all men, is that a woman should never be the first. But real women, those in whom the heart beats strong, and whose blood can leap, know better. These are the commanders of men. In them sex calls to sex, all unconsciously at first; and men answer to their call, as they to men’s. ~Bram Stoker, The Man, 1905

That deep, thrilling voice bearing all the perfume of the womanly soul in its flow... ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons

She's worth her tea and toast ten times over, — nobody knows what a "thunder-and-lightning woman" is till she gets alongside of one of those old-maidish girls, with hair the color of brown sugar, and eyes like the blue of a teacup. She must be foudroyant and pyramidal, — if these French adjectives may be naturalized for this one particular exigency. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "The Widow Rowens Gives a Tea-Party," The Professor's Story, 1859  [A little altered. Published 1861 as Elsie Venner: A Romance of Destiny. Foudroyant: dazzling, stunning, from the French 'struck by lightning.' —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Every woman has distinctly pretty days — and distinctly homely ones; and usually the homely ones come to the front viciously when you're booked for something extraordinary. ~Kate Trimble Sharber (b.1883), Amazing Grace, 1914

[She] had Charms enough to engage any Heart; she had all the Advantages of Youth and Nature; a Shape excellent; a most agreeable Stature, not too tall, and far from low, delicately proportioned; her Face a little inclined round, soft, smooth and white; her Eyes were blue, a little languishing, and full of Love and Wit; a Mouth curiously made, dimpled, and full of Sweetness; Lips round, soft, plump and red; white Teeth, firm and even; her Nose a little Roman, and which gave a noble Grace to her lovely Face, her Hair light brown; a Neck and Bosom delicately turned, white and rising; her Arms and Hands exactly shaped; to this a Vivacity of Youth engaging; a Wit quick and flowing; a Humour gay, and an Air irresistibly charming... ~Aphra Behn, "The Argument," Love-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister, 1684  [Sister-in-law, actually. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Sex appeal is something that you feel deep down inside... there is more to sex appeal than just measurements. ~Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)

I had always heard it said that he alone knew, even to its subsoil, the complex soul of a woman. ~Octave Mirbeau, A Chambermaid's Diary, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1900

However, I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede (Mrs. Poyser)

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. ~Doctor Leon, "Famous Quotes from Doctor Leon,", 2001

Men who don't like girls with brains don't like girls. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones.... Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor'd with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.... Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good.... they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility.... Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever.... Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.... [and Lastly] They are so grateful!! ~Benjamin Franklin, letter to friend, 1745 June 25th

Every cynical proverb about woman, invented by man, is a salve or a plaster for some sore spot on his self-esteem. ~Woods Hutchinson, A.M., M.D. (1862–1930), Civilization and Health, "Chapter VIII: The Hardy Nerves of Woman," 1914

And I have an idea that the phrase "weaker sex" was coined by some woman to disarm some man she was preparing to overwhelm... ~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Oh, Please Don't Get Up!"

"But," she protested, "I am selfish. Every woman must be — or she is not a whole woman. I want to be loved, I tell you — to be loved..." ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

...Nature's noblest gift to man was given:
A gentle, throbbing, trembling, beauteous maid,
Fair as a man, but with a softer shade,
Endowed with beauty and a thousand charms
That sought the sheltering clasp of loving arms.
~Anonymous, “The Fall of Man”

It upsets women to be, or not to be, stared at hungrily. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

And woman's beauty wanes too often more through neglect than through age. The man, with the radiant picture of his bride blurred by the daily less lovely aspects, may cease to remind her by acts of courtship that her body is precious... Women lose their grace of motion by relying on artificial bones and stiffenings, and clog their movements with heavy and absurdly fashioned garments. They forget how immeasurably they can control not only their clothed appearance but the very structure of their bodies by the things they eat and do, by the very thoughts they think. A wise man once said that a woman deserved no credit for her beauty at sixteen, but beauty at sixty was her own soul's doing. ~Marie Carmichael Stopes, Married Love, 1918

Prof. Manning says girls are half angel and the other half only human. ~Alwyn M. Thurber, Zelma, the Mystic, 1897

Ah! the strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women… merely adored. ~Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, 1895  [Mrs. Cheveley —tg]

[W]omen are meant to be loved, not to be understood. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Sphinx without a Secret," 1891

She wore a short skirt and a tight sweater and her figure described a set of parabolas that could cause cardiac arrest in a yak. ~Woody Allen, Getting Even, 1971

...a hippie girl whose shape in a black leotard caused my eyeballs to revolve like the fruit in a one-armed bandit. ~Woody Allen, "How Bogart made me the superb lover I am today," in LIFE, 1969

There is one form of life to which I unconditionally surrender,
Which is the feminine gender...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Oh, Please Don't Get Up!"

A woman's tears and her kisses are her strongest arguments. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

LADY. A gentleman woman. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

Women go to beauty parlors for the unmussed look men hate. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

A girl's ankle, like an eclipse of the sun, owes half its charm to the difficulty of seeing it. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

Women polish the silver and water the plants and wait to be really needed. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Women... are the moral barometers of an age. Men are blustering little cowards who never grow up. ~Joseph Auslander, 1929

A woman's hopes are hopes are woven of sunbeams; a shadow annihilates them. ~George Eliot, Felix Holt, 1866

Ardour, devotion — ay, for this we deem
Thee great; as not alone in power and brain
And utterance of knowledge thou didst seem
Manlike, but wiser in thy womanhood.
~May Sinclair (1863–1946), "George Eliot," c.1886

She looked as if she were capable of anything. There was nothing fussy about her. She was strong enough to swing an axe, gentle enough to handle lace, and tender enough to hold a child. ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917  [a little altered —tg]

[A] woman's three best comforters,—kind words, a baby, and a cup of tea. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

A man sometimes wins an argument, but a woman always wins a silence. ~Robert Brault,

I was half in love with her by the time we sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

If a woman must make a fool of herself, the least a man can do is to let her be one in her own way. ~When Ladies Meet, 1941 movie written by Rachel Crothers, John Meehan, Leon Gordon, S.K. Lauren, and Anita Loos, spoken by the character Bridgie Drake

I've reached the age where competence is a turn-on. ~Billy Joel, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 2001

Being a lady is an attitude. ~Chuck Woolery, on Love Connection

Chastity in feeling and imagination, in word and action, is the principal virtue that either of choice or unconsciously reigns in the bosom of woman. It is tender and delicate, like an exotic plant, and cannot endure exposure.... The family is her sphere of action, there she arranges and orders what man gathers, and with propriety and taste embellishes the house, and renders it attractive. She desires whatever increases domestic comfort, as furniture and dress, order and cleanliness, full chests and drawers. ~Frederick A. Rauch, Psychology; or, A View of the Human Soul: Including Anthropology, Being the Substance of a Course of Lectures, Delivered to the Junior Class Marshall College, Penn., 1840

The glow of the moon is poetry
The blossoming of flowers is poetry
The blossoming of woman is poetry
The glow of woman is poetry —
      and even more so, because
      the light comes from within.
~Terri Guillemets, "Glows & blossoms," 2019

...she had never seen the girl lovelier than she was to-night in all her shimmering bravery of white and silver. But there was always something more than mere prettiness about Sylvia, something which seemed to shine from within out. She was so exquisitely alive like the fire in the heart of an opal or a jet of pure flame. ~Margaret Rebecca Piper, Sylvia Arden Decides, 1917

I live! Red life boils in my veins, earth yields beneath my feet, in the glow of love I embrace trees and statues, and they live in my embrace. Every woman is to me the gift of a world. I revel in the melody of her countenance, and with a single glance of my eye I can enjoy more than others with their every limb through all their lives. ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

Let us leave the beautiful women to men with no imagination. ~Marcel Proust, Albertine disparue, 1925

The most queenly women are set off in dazzling relief against the stupidity of men in general... ~James C. Fernald, The New Womanhood, 1891

Why should I paint dead fish, onions and beer glasses? Girls are so much prettier. ~Marie Laurencin (1883–1956)

That's the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than twelve years between the ages of twenty-eight and forty. ~James Thurber, 1960

...and in the center, facing us, stood a magnificent blonde... my skin turned to goose flesh, my knees knocked. Yet I... looked in spite of myself. Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal," 1947 I ogled the girls, and how they tittered at me! women give a man's ideas so elegant a turn. ~Thomas Morton, The Way To Get Married, 1796

After about twenty years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of that one. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate. ~Mel Gibson, 2000, about what women want

You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment. ~Dave Barry, "25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years," Dave Barry Turns 50, 1998,

She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

But the creator evidently intended that women should be beautiful. There is, as a lawyer would say, a "prima facie" evidence... There is nothing that adds so rare a grace to a feminine beauty and makes a woman look so charming, as the light of a happy disposition beaming from her features. ~A. A. Willits, Sunshine, or, The Secret of Happiness, c.1904

Uncle Henry says that the modern flapper of today is just the grown-up tomboy of yesterday. ~F. A. W., 1928

When rather young, I never could endure
      That women should be empty ornaments
      For men's delight, with neither wit nor sense,
      Serving only to fascinate and lure.
      I swore that if I ever came to wed,
      My bride would be intelligent and subtle,
      Practiced in argumentative rebuttal,
      Allusive, comprehensive, keen, well read.
But now that I have met you, brainy one,
      My vow has died an overwhelming death.
      Your snappy comebacks make me gasp for breath;
      You slay me when you beat me to a pun;
      Your devastating talk goes on for ever…
      Be good, sweet maid, and please let me  be clever!
~Simonetta, "Ardent Plea From a Disillusioned Idealist," Life magazine, 1926

How many have made ourselves ugly from the burden of being beautiful? Made ourselves dumb because of the shame of being smart? ~Terri Guillemets, "Becoming," 2000

I admire the female sex. The life makers. It must be amazing to have a body that can carry an entire creature inside. ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008

Take time as it comes, the wind as it blows, woman as she is. ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d'un enfant du siècle, 1836, Desgenais to Octave, translated from French by Kendall Warren

It's simple. Women only nag when they feel unappreciated. ~Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, 1994

Women are angels, wooing... ~William Shakespeare

His quick brain, wise in the ways of women, endeavoured to riddle her attitude and just failed. Was she very deep, or very simple?... her fascination almost thrilled him. ~F. E. Baily, Dolf, 1921

It's the good girls who keep the diaries; the bad girls never have the time. ~Tallulah Bankhead

...her figure might be described by a poet as just set in the luxurious mould of womanhood. ~"Diary of a Surgeon," in The Library of Fiction, or Family Story-Teller; consisting of Original Tales, Essays, and Sketches of Character, Vol. I, 1836

Variability is one of the virtues of a woman. It avoids the crude requirement of polygamy. So long as you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem. ~G. K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions, "The Glory of Grey"

Mama Maureen, has no one ever told you how much more sweetly beautiful a full-blown woman is than a maiden? Certainly your lovely breasts have held milk; that's what they're for. Why would I want them to look like marble? — I don't! ~Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973

...I had seen to gather herself out of the atoms of the mist. She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion. ~Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897

Woman votes in some States; she rules everywhere. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, George Horace Lorimer, editor, as reprinted in Poor Richard Jr's Almanack, 1906

Usually the woman has an appointment with destiny, and the man just happens to be there. ~Robert Brault,

Breasts and bosoms have I known
Of varied shapes and sizes,
From poignant disappointments
To jubilant surprizes.
~Waldo Pierce

Surely the wearing of Low Dresses is likely to cause Physical as well as Moral Decay in the Female? You are perfectly correct. "The custom of exposing the upper part of the female form," writes Major Seton Churchill, "not only involves much physical suffering in the shape of consumption handed down through many generations, but, by exciting passion in the opposite sex, frequently a long list of moral evils follows in the train." ~Gerard Macdonald, Once a Week is Ample, 1981  [The quoted advice is from 1887. —tg]

Women are like elephants to me. I like to look at them, but I wouldn't want to own one. ~W. C. Fields, 1935

Is it too much to ask that women be spared the daily struggle for superhuman beauty in order to offer it to the caresses of a subhumanly ugly mate? ~Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch, 1970

Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak. ~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, c.1599  [III, 2, Rosalind]

Were kisses all the joys in bed,
One woman would another wed.
~William Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599

Who loves not women, wine, and song, remains a fool his whole life long. ~German proverb

I like this girl, she is so jolly rude. ~H. J. Byron, Old Soldiers, 1873

I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn't any brains. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951  [Pretty sure this can be said of men as well. —tg]

This, of course, is rubbish, as are most of the things we say about the sexes. ~Robert Lynd, "Dresses," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923

Fact is, some women don't have large breasts, and they're people too. Maybe they'd like the freedom to show us their bottoms instead of their breasts. Maybe they'd enjoy a more flexible arse-friendly beach that says: "Hey, so long as you've got cleavage, who cares which way it's facing?" ~Coupling, "Jane and the Truth Snake," original airdate 1 October 2001, written by Steven Moffat, spoken by the character Jeff

We are foolish, and without excuse foolish, in speaking of the "superiority" of one sex to the other, as if they could be compared in similar things. Each has what the other has not: each completes the other, and is completed by the other: they are in nothing alike, and the happiness and perfection of both depend on each asking and receiving from the other what the other only can give. ~John Ruskin

Can we in fact pretend that she is anything other than a woman scorned, like which fury hell hath no? ~Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, 2007, written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio  [Jack Sparrow –tg]

I am old-fashioned, Lady Frederick; and my idea of a modest girl is that when certain topics are mentioned she should swoon. Swoon, madam, swoon. ~W. Somerset Maugham, Lady Frederick, 1907

Of Arms, which erst contending Sexes bore,
I sing; and Wars for Fame and Empire made.
Despotick Man rul'd with tyrannick Pow'r,
Obey'd, but with Reluctance still obey'd;
With Words his long-disputed Cause he tries,
But Woman's equal Wit disdains to yield:
At length to Arms ungen'rously he flies;
As quick the Female takes the proffer'd Field;
Each their superior Merit to maintain,
For Man was learn'd, and proud; and Woman fair, and vain.
~Samuel Wesley, The Battle of the Sexes, 1723

Beauty, great Gen'ral of the Female War,
Sprung from the Front with Fortitude t'engage;
Too slight for Toils her slender Limbs appear,
Yet stoutest Heroes trembled at her Rage.
Stiff Ribs of Whale her Coat of Mail compos'd;
Compos'd with Art, her taper Waist to show.
A Beavor wrought with black her Helmet clos'd,
Which by the Name of Mask the Moderns know.
Each Step, each Motion, shot an artless Grace;
She seem'd of Conquest sure, sure e'en without her Face.
~Samuel Wesley, The Battle of the Sexes, 1723

At length her Helm his Sword descending met,
And of her sable Vizard cut the Lace;
Millions of sudden Charms discover'd lye,
Her Skin, her Hair, her Brows, her Cheek, her Lip, her Eye.
~Samuel Wesley, The Battle of the Sexes, 1723

So what good are all these fruitless discussions; for in the eternal battle of the sexes, we are always conquered — and we can do nothing about it — and none of us as yet, be he misogynist or feminist, has found a more perfect instrument of pleasure, or any other means of reproduction, than woman. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Manuscript," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

      Ever since women began demanding "rights" as human beings and getting privileges by earning them in economic competition with men, three main types of women have appeared on the scene. And no man who wants to be a successful lover can afford to be ignorant of this evolution of the modern woman.
      The first of these three types is the "old-fashioned" girl. She still believes implicitly in the inferiority of women and the superiority of men. She wants to lean on a strong man, demands that she be treated chivalrously and protected as if she were a delicate and frail flower incapable of existence in a hard and matter-of-fact world.
      The second type is the woman who has been caught in the revolutionary stream of emancipation. She rejects old theory, and not only believes that she is as good as any man, but often insists that she is far better. She is aggressive, independent, "mannish," go-getting, and resents the imputation of weakness. She will have none of your old-fashioned chivalry. She wants to pay as she goes, wants to be treated "like a man."
      The third type, and perhaps the rarest of the three, is the psychologically mature woman who recognizes that being a woman is neither a sign of inferiority nor of superiority. She wants to be a comrade, a complement, not an ornament. She is a helpmate in the best sense of the word. She wants to share both the privileges and the responsibilities of freedom and demands that her own spirit and independence be acknowledged for their true worth. She neither wants to cling to a man and play the weak sister, nor does she want to parody masculinity by expressing her "mannishness." She is the woman of the future, and I wish every man the good fortune of finding such a woman for his wife or lover. She is the most satisfactory, the most thrilling, the most completely human woman to have, the hardest to get, the most difficult to hold. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), "The Art of Understanding Women," in Esquire, May 1935

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2020 Sep 29
last saved 2024 May 19