At the end of this post I’ve included a list of quotes taken from Charles’ E. Bressler’s book “Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice.” They are a collection that he placed within the surrounding of feminist criticism. When I was reading through these quotes, most stated by well-known authors, it made me wonder how much the statements that individuals made in the past impact women in today’s present-tense.
Do you think that women, particularly women who are establishing a career or passion in writing (as that is who most of the quotes are directed at) continue to feel the affects of these negative words? Or do you think that “what’s past is past”
How much do the statements of the past, even if made hundreds of years ago, continue to affect the state of our mental health today?
What do you think? Take a look at the quotes I’ve listed…maybe focus on one or two. Do you think you are still influenced by these words, or are they a thing of the past that we simply shrug off?
Take a look at some of these....
"Do not let a woman with a sexy rump deceive you with wheedling and coaxing words; she is after your barn. The man who trusts a woman trusts a deceiver."
- Hesoid, poet 8th century BCE (...p.s. "sexy rump" and "8th century BCE" , yes you read correctly.)
"Plato thanks the gods for two blessings: that he had not been born a slave and that he had not been born a woman."
- Plato (c. 427-c.347 BCE)
"The male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules and the other is ruled. Woman “is matter, waiting to be formed by the active male principle…Man consequently plays a major part in reproduction; the woman is merely the passive incubator of his seed.” (People actually BELIEVED this!!!!! It was thought to be scientific fact! Wtf?!??!!)
- Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
"Frailty, thy name is woman."
- Shakespeare (1564-6116)
"Mary Wollstonecraft is a hyena in petticoats”
- Horace Walpole, author of one of the earliest Gothic novels
"Nature intended women to be our slaves...They are our property…what a mad idea to demand equality for women!"
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
"Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it, even any…recreation"
- Robert Southey, poet laureate (1774-1843)
"Women writers are a “damned mob of scribbling women” who only write anything worth reading if the devil is in them."
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
"The woman author does not exist. She is a contradiction in terms. The role of the woman in letters is the same as in manufacturing; she is of use when genius is no longer required."
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)
"Jane Austen is entirely impossible to read. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"Feminism is a political mistake. Feminism is a mistake made by women’s intellect, a mistake which her instinct will recognize."
- Valentine de Saint-Point (1875-1953)
"Educating a woman is like pouring honey over a fine Swiss watch. It stops working."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922- )
With love and hopes of forward-motion,