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Quotations about Women


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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


There is no such thing as an ugly woman. ~Vincent Van Gogh


Women are always beautiful. ~Ville Valo


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, rbrault.blogspot.com


      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


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]


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


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


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.


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


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


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]


[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]


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," DrLeons.com, 2001


A creature ruled by the lunar cycle in charge of a business‽ Absurd! Have you gone insane? ~Making History, "Night Cream" [S1, E7, 2017], written by Alison Agosti, spoken by the character John Hancock who has time-traveled to modern-day America


Men who don't like girls with brains don't like girls. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin


[I]n 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!"


It upsets women to be, or not to be, stared at hungrily. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


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!"


When I glimpse the backs of women's knees I seem to hear the first movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. ~Charles Greville


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


Women go to beauty parlors for the unmussed look men hate. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


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, 1960


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


[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, rbrault.blogspot.com


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


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


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


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


...how 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


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


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


Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. ~Dennis Miller


Women are beautiful, and yummy. ~A. C. Van Cherub, c. 1987


...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"


There's just something about letting a girl have her way with you. ~A. C. Van Cherub, c. 1987


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


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


Men will never know the agony of childbirth, menstrual cramps, or removing glitter nail polish. ~Author unknown


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  [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


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


      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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