4. Men should think twice before making widowhood women’s only path to power.
5. A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
6. Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.
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7. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
8. Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.
13. A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.
14. Women’s total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage
15. Having someone who looks like us but thinks like them is worse than having no one at all.
16. Suddenly, I began to wonder: If one in three or four American women had an abortion at some time in her life, a common statistical estimate, even in those days of illegality, then why, WHY should this single surgical procedure be deemed a criminal act?
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17. Each others’ lives are our best textbooks.
18. No one ever got radicalized by being grateful
19. Happy or Unhappy, families are all mysterious.
20. A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.
44. MY LAST HOPE IS to open up the road—literally. So far it’s been overwhelmingly masculine turf. Men embody adventure, women embody hearth and home, and that has been pretty much it.
45. No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.
46. Basically, I feel different from most other women. I feel I don’t have to put on an act. If I’m not feminine enough for someone, I don’t care, because femininity is different in everyone’s mind.
47. The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they’ll know it’s possible.
48. Altogether, if I’d been looking at nothing but the media all these years, I would be a much more discouraged person-especially given the notion that only conflict is news, and that objectivity means being evenhandedly negative.
49. When she visited me in New York during her sixties and seventies, she always told taxi drivers that she was eighty years old (so they will tell me how young I look"), and convinced theater ticket sellers that she had difficulty in hearing long before she really did (so they’ll give us seats in the front row").
50. I’ve learned from these events that self-esteem plays as much a part in the destiny of nations as it does in the lives of individuals; that self-hatred leads to the need either to dominate or to be dominated; that citizens who refuse to obey anything but their own conscience can transform their countries; in short, that self-esteem is the basis of any real democracy.
51. But, as historian Gerda Lerner has pointed out, it is a shared characteristic of women’s history—or the real history of any marginalized group—to be lost and discovered, lost again and re-discovered, re-lost and re-re-discovered, until the margins have transformed the center. As in a tree or a seed, the margins are where the growth is. Who would want to be anywhere else?
52. However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However
far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.
53. During World War II, a few years after Norma Jeane’s time in an orphanage, thousands of children were evacuated from the air raids and poor rations of London during the Blitz, and placed with volunteer families or group homes in the English countryside or even in other countries. It was only postwar studies comparing these children to others left behind that opened the eyes of many experts to the damage caused by emotional neglect. In spite of living in bombed-out ruins and constant fear of attack, the children who had been left with their mothers and families tended to fare better than those who had been evacuated to physical safety. Emotional security, continuity, a sense of being loved unconditionally for oneself—all those turn out to be as important to a child’s development as all but the most basic food and shelter.
54. It still would be years before I understood the seriousness of my change of view. Much later, I recognized it in “Revolution,” the essay of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who describes the moment when a man on the edge of a crowd looks back defiantly at a policeman — and when that policeman senses a sudden refusal to accept his defining gaze — as the imperceptible moment in which rebellion is born. “All books about all revolutions begin with a chapter that describes the decay of tottering authority or the misery and sufferings of the people,” Kapuscinski writes. “They should begin with a psychological chapter — one that shows how a harassed, terrified man suddenly breaks his terror, stops being afraid. This unusual process — sometimes accomplished in an instant, like a shock — demands to be illustrated. Man gets rid of fear and feel free. Without that, there would be no revolution.
55. No wonder male religious leaders so often say that humans were born in sin—because we were born to female creatures. Only by obeying the rules of the patriarchy can we be reborn through men. No wonder priests and ministers in skirts sprinkle imitation birth fluid over our heads, give us new names, and promise rebirth into everlasting life.
56. This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.
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