“Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that’s permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish, and men do,
I shall have only good to say of you.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Felicity ignores us. She walks out to them, an
apparition in white and blue velvet, her head held high
as they stare in awe at her, the goddess. I don’t know
yet what power feels like. But this is surely what it
looks like, and I think I’m beginning to understand
why those ancient women had to hide in caves. Why
our parents and suitors want us to behave properly
and predictably. It’s not that they want to protect
us; it’s that they fear us.”
― Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty
“What’s the worst possible thing you can call a
woman? Don’t hold back, now.
You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore,
bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!), skank.
Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a
guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term
Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is
a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl.
Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me
that’s not royally fucked up.”
― Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young
Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters
“Now, should we treat women as independent agents,
responsible for themselves? Of course. But being
responsible has nothing to do with being raped.
Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or
took drugs. Women do not get raped because they
weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because
someone raped them.”
― Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s
Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women
“I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which
had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy.
Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness.
But perhaps you will say, these were all written by
“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference
to examples in books. Men have had every advantage
of us in telling their own story. Education has been
theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in
their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion
“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them
like rational creatures, instead of flattering their
fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were
in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights
“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.”
― Gloria Steinem
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I
had even spoken myself. My silences had not
protected me. Your silences will not protect you….
What are the words you do not yet have? What are
the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to
make your own, until you will sicken and die of them,
still in silence? We have been socialized to respect
fear more than our own need for language.”
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that
could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike
women in other countries, our breaking silence is
unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off
the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some
people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and
disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking
out will permit other women to speak, until laws are
changed and lives are saved and the world is altered
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen?
Then push yourself a little further than you dare.
Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They
will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s
personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you
will find you have fallen in love with your own vision,
which you may never have realized you had. And you
will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you
don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and
cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your
nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma
Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be
part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with
surpassing certainty that only one thing is more
frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not
― Audre Lorde
“Empowered” and “sexy” are not universally
synonymous. That a woman is not a sex kitten does
not mean that she’s any less comfortable or
empowered or any of that stuff. See above, re: not a
homogenous demographic. Stop making sexiness a
universal demand. Let some characters be unsexy.
And for f*ck’s sake, please, please stop drawing
women who are injured, or dead, or being tortured, or
punching bad guys, in sex-kitten pin-up poses. That is
bad visual storytelling, and it is INCREDIBLY
creepy. Let women be heroes for the sake of
heroism. Women don’t have to be damaged or
traumatized to be strong, or to want to make a
difference. Corollary: Dropping rape into a backstory
is not a panacea for making a female character
complex and gritty.
Imagine you have a daughter. Imagine the kind of
women you’d like her to want to grow up to be. Write
them. Write women you’d want to be friends — really
good friends — with. Write women you’d get in
arguments with. Write women you’d be legitimately
scared of. Write women like your mom, like your
aunts, like your wife, like your friends, like your
nieces and nephews and daughters and bosses and
friends. We are not aliens… This, too, goes back to
“doing things.” A lot of the time, male characters act,
and female characters are acted upon. Let female
characters make difficult choices — and sometimes
choose wrong — and have struggles and the same real
victories. Because without those things, they’re not
characters; they’re just window dressing.
Rachel Edidin talks about portraying female
superhero characters at Comic Alliance
“I am passionate about everything in my life – first
and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that’s a
dangerous person to be in this society, not just
because I’m a woman, but because it’s such a
fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking
I tweet @Archsmta