Timeless quotes on women
The following is a list of quotes regarding the nature of women and the relations between the sexes from various eminent figures throughout history: political figures, sages, philosophers, scientists, artists, and writers. One should keep in mind these were some of the smartest individuals in human history.
- 1 1,000–600 BC: The Bible (Old Testament)
- 2 551–479 BC: Confucius
- 3 470–399 BC: Socrates
- 4 446–386 BC: Aristophanes
- 5 423–348 BC: Plato
- 6 384–322 BC: Aristotle
- 7 43 BC–18 AD: Ovid
- 8 155–240: Tertullian
- 9 349–407: St John Chrysostom
- 10 570–632: Muhammad
- 11 1016–1041: Naropa
- 12 1225–1274: Thomas Aquinas
- 13 1483–1546: Martin Luther
- 14 1509–1564: John Calvin
- 15 1613–1680: François de La Rochefoucauld
- 16 1724–1804: Immanuel Kant
- 17 1769–1821: Napoleon Bonaparte
- 18 1788–1860: Arthur Schopenhauer
- 19 1813–1855: Søren Kierkegaard
- 20 1819–1901: Queen Victoria
- 21 1839–1925: Nakahara Nantenbō (Tōjū)
- 22 1844–1900: Friedrich Nietzsche
- 23 1849–1912: August Strindberg
- 24 1856–1950: George Bernard Shaw
- 25 1875–1961: Carl Gustav Jung
- 26 1880–1903: Otto Weininger
- 27 1880–1956: H. L. Mencken
- 28 1935–: Esther Vilar
- 29 1947–: Camille Paglia
- 30 References
- 31 See Also
1,000–600 BC: The Bible (Old Testament)[edit | edit source]
While I was still searching but not finding—I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.
For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
—Proverbs 6:21 
Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.
—Isaiah 3:12 
551–479 BC: Confucius[edit | edit source]
"Women and people of low birth are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your distance, they resent it."
470–399 BC: Socrates[edit | edit source]
"By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will be a philosopher."
446–386 BC: Aristophanes[edit | edit source]
"[Choir of] Men: O botheration take you all! How you (women) cajole and flatter. A hell it is to live with you; to live without, a hell"
—Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Jack Lindsay translation, 1926 
[Choir of] Men: There is no beast, no rush of fire, like woman so untamed. She calmly goes her way where even panthers would be shamed.
—Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Jack Lindsay translation, 1926 
Woman is adept at getting money for herself and will not easily let herself be deceived; she understands deceit too well herself.
—Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, line 236-238
423–348 BC: Plato[edit | edit source]
Women are accustomed to creep into dark places, and when dragged out into the light they will exert their utmost powers of resistance ... therefore, as I said before, in most places they will not endure to have the truth spoken without raising a tremendous outcry.
—Plato, Laws VI
384–322 BC: Aristotle[edit | edit source]
"Woman may be said to be an inferior man."
"What difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same."
"Females are weaker and colder in nature, and we must look upon the female character as being a sort of natural deficiency"
43 BC–18 AD: Ovid[edit | edit source]
"A chaste woman is one who has not been propositioned."
"[A woman] is constant only in her inconstancy."
"Thus neither with thee [woman] nor without thee, can I live."
"Many women long for what eludes them, and like not what is offered them."
155–240: Tertullian[edit | edit source]
"Woman is a temple built upon a sewer."
—De cultu feminarum (The Ornaments of Women)
"You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die ... Woman, you are the gateway to hell."
—De cultu feminarum (The Ornaments of Women)
349–407: St John Chrysostom[edit | edit source]
"Amongst all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman."
"It does not profit a man to marry. For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?"
570–632: Muhammad[edit | edit source]
"I was shown Hell and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said, “Why, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Because of their ingratitude (kufr).” It was said, “Are they ungrateful to Allah?” He said, “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say, ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1052)
1016–1041: Naropa[edit | edit source]
"Countless are woman's defects. My elephantine mind has fallen. Into the poisonous swamp of guile. So I must renounce the world."
1225–1274: Thomas Aquinas[edit | edit source]
"As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power."
1483–1546: Martin Luther[edit | edit source]
"The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes."
"No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise."
1509–1564: John Calvin[edit | edit source]
"But woman can never be the best governor, by reason that she being spoiled of the spirit, can never attain to that degree, to be called or judged a good governor. Because in the nature of all woman, lurketh such vices, as in good governors are not tolerable."
"Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude."
On the first post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to women rather than to men: "I consider this was done by way of reproach, because they [the men] had been so tardy and sluggish to believe. And indeed, they deserve not only to have women for their teachers, but even oxen and asses ... Yet it pleased the Lord, by means of those weak and contemptible vessels, to give display of his power."
—Commentary on the Gospel of John
1613–1680: François de La Rochefoucauld[edit | edit source]
"The intellect of the generality of women serves more to fortify their folly than their reason."
"All women are flirts, but some are restrained by shyness, and others by sense"
1724–1804: Immanuel Kant[edit | edit source]
"Women are more inclined to be miserly than men. This is in keeping with the nature of woman, for the women have to be more sparing since they are spending money which they do not earn themselves."
"Woman has a superior feeling for the beautiful, so far as it pertains to herself".
1769–1821: Napoleon Bonaparte[edit | edit source]
"We treat women too well, and in this way have spoiled everything. We have done every wrong by raising them to our level. Truly the Oriental nations have more mind and sense than we in declaring the wife to be the actual property of the husband. In fact nature has made woman our slave ... Woman is given to man that she may bear children ... consequently she is his property."
"Women ... are mere machines to make children".
"Women ... are capable of committing the worst atrocities. . If war broke out between men and women, it would be quite a different business from the struggles we have seen between nobles and the people, or whites and blacks".
"Nothing is more imperious ... than weakness when it knows it is backed by strength; look at women".
1788–1860: Arthur Schopenhauer[edit | edit source]
"Taken as a whole, women are . . . thorough-going philistines, and quite incurable."
"It is certainly a revolting idea that widows should sacrifice themselves on their husband’s dead body (as was customary is parts of India at the time); but it is also revolting that the money which the husband has earned by working diligently for all his life, in the hope that he was working for his children, should be wasted on her paramours."
"The fundamental fault of the female character is that it has no sense of justice."
"Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses and educators of our early childhood, for the simple reason that they themselves are childish, foolish, and short-sighted—in a word, are big children all their lives, something intermediate between the child and the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word."
"That woman is by nature intended to obey is shown by the fact that every woman who is placed in the unnatural position of absolute independence at once attaches herself to some kind of man, by whom she is controlled and governed; this is because she requires a master. If she, is young, the man is a lover; if she is old, a priest."
"Because women in truth exist entirely for the propagation of the race, and their destiny ends here, they live more for the species than for the individual, and in their hearts take the affairs of the species more seriously than those of the individual."
1813–1855: Søren Kierkegaard[edit | edit source]
"For my part, if I were a woman, I had rather be a woman in the orient where I would be a slave, for to be a slave, neither more nor less, is at any rate something definite, in comparison with being . . . nothing whatever."
"Man can never be so cruel as a woman. Consult mythologies, fables, folktakes, and you will find this view confirmed. If a natural principle is to be described, whose mercilessness knows no limits, it will always be a feminine nature."
"When God created Eve, He let a deep sleep fall over Adam; for woman is the dream of man."
"Woman is personified egotism. Her fervent, burning devotion to man is neither more nor less than her egotism."
1819–1901: Queen Victoria[edit | edit source]
"I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights,’ with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Feminists ought to get a good whipping. Were woman to ‘unsex’ themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection."
1839–1925: Nakahara Nantenbō (Tōjū)[edit | edit source]
"The outward manner and temper of women is rooted in the negative (yin) power, and so temperamentally women are apt to be sensitive, petty, narrow, and jaundiced ... among women compassion and honesty are rare indeed. That is why Buddhism says that women are particularly sinful and have the greatest difficulty in attaining Buddhahood."
1844–1900: Friedrich Nietzsche[edit | edit source]
"From the beginning, nothing has been more alien, repugnant, and hostile to woman than truth—her great art is the lie, her highest concern is mere appearance and beauty"
"Everything about woman has one solution: that is pregnancy."
"Woman! One-half of mankind is weak, typically sick, changeable, inconstant... she needs a religion of weakness that glorifies being weak, loving, and being humble as divine"
"From a woman you can learn nothing of women"
"Are you a slave? If so, you cannot be a friend. Are you a tyrant? If so, you cannot have friends. In woman, a slave and a tyrant have all too long been concealed. For that reason, woman is not yet capable of friendship: she knows only love. In a woman's love is injustice and blindness towards all that she does not love."
"But the man who is not superficial, who has depth of thought as well as of purpose, the depth which not only makes him desire right but endows him with determination and strength to do right, must always look on woman from the oriental standpoint:—as a possession, as private property, as something born to serve and be dependent on him ... What a necessary, logical, desirable growth for mankind! if we could only attain to it ourselves!
1849–1912: August Strindberg[edit | edit source]
"Every healthy man is a woman hater—yet he cannot survive if he does not ally himself with his enemy."
"All deviates and effeminate perverts among men have an adoration for women."
"To love is an active verb, and woman is a passive noun. He loves—she is loved."
"Women amount to nothing by themselves but mean everything to us, and are everything for us. They are our honor and our shame; our greatest joy, and our deepest pain and distress; our redemption and our fall; our reward and our punishment; our strength and our weakness."
1856–1950: George Bernard Shaw[edit | edit source]
"You sometimes have to answer a woman according to her womanishness, just as you have to answer a fool according to his folly."
"It is a great advantage to women to be regarded as a race apart, an advantage, which, as usual, they abuse unscrupulously."
"Give women the vote and in five years there will be a crushing tax on bachelors".
"Women are supposed to have no political power; but clever women put stupid husbands into parliament and into ministerial offices quite easily."
1875–1961: Carl Gustav Jung[edit | edit source]
"The animus of women is an answer to the spirit which rules the man. It has its origin in father's mind and shows what the girl has received from the lovely, kind, and incompetent father. His family weakness on the other hand he owes to the animus of his mother and thus the evil is handed on from generation to generation."
"No one can evade the fact, that in taking up a masculine calling, studying and working in a man's way, woman is doing something not wholly in agreement with, if not directly injurious to, her feminine nature."
1880–1903: Otto Weininger[edit | edit source]
"A superior woman is still infinitely inferior to that which, at least potentially, exists in the lowest of men."
"No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them."
"The well-known phrase, “Women have no character,” really means the same thing. Personality and individuality (intelligible), ego and soul, will and (intelligible) character, all these are different expressions of the same actuality, an actuality the male of mankind attains, the female lacks."
"How can I accuse woman after all, for serving man? Man wants nothing other than her. There is no man who would not be happy when he exercises sexual effect upon a woman. Hatred against woman is always only the not yet overcome hatred of one's own sexuality".
1880–1956: H. L. Mencken[edit | edit source]
"The first-rate woman is a realist. She sees clearly that, in a world dominated by second-rate men, the special capacities of the second-rate man are esteemed above all other capacities and given the highest rewards, and she endeavors to get her share of those rewards by marrying a second-rate man at the top of his class".
"[Women] are quite without that dog-like fidelity to duty which is one of the shining marks of men. They never summon up a high pride in doing what is inherently disagreeable; they always go to the galleys under protest, and with vows of sabotage".
"Women do not like timid men. Cats do not like prudent rats".
"Misogynist: a man who hates women as much as women hate one another."
1935–: Esther Vilar[edit | edit source]
"Men have been trained and conditioned by women, not unlike the way Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves. As compensation for their labours men are given periodic use of a woman's vagina."
"Someday it will dawn on man that woman does not read the wonderful books with which he has filled his libraries, and though she may well admire his marvelous works of art in museums she herself will rarely create, only copy."
"By the age of twelve at the latest, most women have decided to become prostitutes. Or to put it another way, they have chosen a future for themselves that consists of choosing a man and letting him to do all the work."
"A man who would cry only if a real catastrophe occurred (perhaps the death of his wife) must assume that when his wife breaks into floods of tears because of cancelled holiday plans, for example, her emotions are equally strong ... What an advantage a man would have if only he realized the cold, clear thoughts running through a woman's head while her eyes are brimming with tears."
1947–: Camille Paglia[edit | edit source]
"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts."
"Woman's flirtatious arts of self-concealment mean man's approach must take the form of rape."
"Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist."
"Men are run ragged by female sexuality all their lives. From the beginning of his life to the end, no man ever fully commands any woman. It's an illusion. Men are pussy-whipped. And they know it. That's what the strip clubs are about; not woman as victim, not woman as slave, but woman as goddess."
References[edit | edit source]