I’d like to dedicate this list to author Elaine Gill, who once said, “If you have any doubts that we live in a society controlled by men, try reading down the index of contributors to a volume of quotations, looking for women’s names.” Enjoy—women and men alike!
“I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?”—Joan Baez, folksinger.
“I have noticed that as soon as you have soldiers the story is called history. Before their arrival it is called myth, folktale, legend, fairy tale, oral poetry, ethnography. After the soldiers arrive, it is called history.”—Paula Gunn Allen, Native American scholar and poet.
“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”—Zora Neale Hurston, author and anthropologist.
“God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear.”—Ruby Dee, actress and civil rights activist.
“The IWW [Industrial Workers of the World] has been accused of pushing women to the front. This is not true. Rather, the women have not been kept in back, and so they have naturally moved to the front.”—Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, radical activist for worker’s and women’s rights.
“I’ve been married to one Marxist and one Fascist, and neither one would take the garbage out.”—Lee Grant, actress and director.
“I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.”—Molly Ivins, humorist and political commentator.
“The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.”—Lucretia Mott, Quaker, antislavery advocate, and women’s rights activist.
“With children no longer the universally accepted reason for marriage, marriages are going to have to exist on their own merits.”—Eleanor Holmes Norton, lawyer, educator, and politician.
“I am here and you will know that I am the best and will hear me.”—Leontyne Price, singer, New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
“War is an absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political.”—Adrienne Rich, poet.
“It is an old error of man to forget to put quotation marks where he borrows from a woman’s brain!”—Anna Garlin Spencer, social reformer and independent minister.
“Fear grows in darkness; if you think there’s a bogeyman around, turn on the light.”—Dorothy Thompson, journalist.
“Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it.”—Tallulah Bankhead, actress.
“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”—Mae West, actress.