Colleen, a lover of the written word, has a master's degree in English literature and enjoys finding unique and poignant quotes.
The word misogyny is generally defined as contempt towards women. Greek philosopher Aristotle posited that women are deformities, men who are not fully formed; and Socrates contended that immoral men could be reincarnated as women.
The term misogynistic in modern society is used to describe behaviour and attitudes of men that belittle, undervalue, discriminate against, and dominate women. The bias that still exists within culture, religion, and politics are hurdles women strive to overcome in their quest for equality.
Hence the quotes and anecdotes collected here reflect both direct and indirect examples of misogyny, both disturbing and humorous.
- Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote: "A society in which women are taught anything but the management of a family, the care of men, and the creation of the future generation is a society which is on its way out. … The historian can peg the point where a society begins its sharpest decline at the instant when women begin to take part."
- "Now what I love in women is, they won’t; or can’t do otherwise than lie, but they do it so well that the very truth seems falsehood to it." - Byron
- "The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul is: What does a woman want?" - Sigmund Freud
- "I’m not a misogynist, I respect any woman who knows her place." - Stephen Braithwaite
- "The louder the woman, the more likely she is to be spiritually bereft, like an empty bowl which vibrates with a resonant echo. A full container makes no sound; she is packed too densely to ring." - Deborah Feldman
- "Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you’re driving at another." - George Bernard Shaw
- "A proper wife should be as obedient as a slave… The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities... a natural defectiveness." - Aristotle
- "Women are only stronger when they arm themselves with their weaknesses." - Marquise Du Deffand
- "Nothing agrees worse than a lady’s heart and a beggar’s purse." - John Heywood
- "You can write on running water what a woman says to an eager lover." - Catullus
- "The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was as succulent as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
- "In all the woes that curse our race, there is a lady in the case." - W. S. Gilbert
- "Every man to his trade, but every woman to the washtub." - Chris Enss
A father works from son to son, but mother’s work is never done.
- "At what age does one become old? The misogynist believes the female grows older and the male grows wiser." - John Caff
- "What is woman? She is one of nature’s agreeable blunders." - Hannah Cowley
- "It seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals." - Bertrand Russell (The Liberation of Women)
- "Half the sorrows of women would be averted if they could repress the speech they know to be useless." - George Eliot
- "A woman scoffs at evidence. Show her the sun, and tell her it is daylight; at once she will close her eyes and say to you, 'No, it is night.'" - Emile Gaboriau
- "As a teenager, I asked our local priest, why priests were always men? And he replied “Only men can be both man and angel”. That was my first encounter of spiritual misogyny." - Vivienne Williams
- "It costs an unreasonable woman no more to pass over one reason than another; they cherish themselves most where they are most wrong." - Montaigne
- "There is no other purgatory but a woman." - Beaumont and Fletcher
- "Women’s words are as light as the doomed leaves whirling in autumn; easily swept by the wind, easily drowned by the wave." - Ovid
- "There’s no such thing, you know, as picking out the best woman: it’s only a question of comparative badness." - Plautus
- "Woman are decorative. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly." - Oscar Wilde
- "The average woman sees only the weak points in a strong man, and the good points in a weak one." - Elbert Hubbard
- "Men are the reason that women do not love one another." - La Bruyere
- "There is no ache more deadly than the striving to be oneself." - Vinokurov
- "I’d be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let a woman in my life." - “I’m an ordinary man” from the musical My Fair Lady
Male Controlling Mechanisms: Three Anecdotes
The desire to orchestrate the actions or even thoughts of a partner are by no means limited to the male gender. Indeed, in addition to exploitation of their seeming vulnerability, female domestic violence has been exposed as a long-concealed torment. Still, given the focus of this article, we will deal with male manoeuvres. Each of the three following reflect the experiences of various women, when equality is meant to be essential to any successful relationship.
- Firstly, there is the implicit awareness of a man’s greater overall physical strength. One woman felt no choice but to end what had appeared to be a potentially lasting bond, due to one menacing remark by her well-muscled partner. The man, during a dispute regarding interpretation of a classic poem they had been discussing, said, “If you weren’t a girl, I would hit you big-time, in order to end your stupidity.” Then, seeing her degree of alarm, he strove to regain her affection by enfolding her in his arms, saying, “Surely you know I will always be your protector.”
- Another woman became disconcerted when her partner said he understood they needed to be equal in every way, except physical intimacy. In that one avenue, his manhood should be preeminent. He dismissed her efforts to point out the incongruity between requests for affection and flat-out commands, by assuring her he would never ask more of her than he felt she could offer.
- Lastly, a woman bought a bouquet of wildflowers at a nearby stand, hoping they would make a pretty centrepiece for her dining-room table. To her dismay, when her partner arrived for the dinner she had spent two hours preparing, his eyes went straight to the flowers. “Sweetheart,” he said, “don’t you know what an insult it is to a man if his woman buys herself flowers? If you wanted flowers, you should have asked me, and I would have bought you whatever you wished. Now, I feel degraded.”
A now elderly minister admitted, in a recent sermon, a sexist comment he had once inadvertently made. During the early 1960s, during training, he had taught a weekly religious education class of seven girls and one boy, all between eight and ten years of age.
Their first assignment was to memorize and recite the names of all the books in the Christian Bible in sequence. While the girls did so with comparative ease, the boy had to struggle. At one point, at a stuttering stand-still, the boy was approaching tears. The trainee minister sneered, “Well, I guess someone in this class will need to help you out-some GIRL” .
Having joined a singles organization, I was not surprised to find there were far more women than men. Several women were quite lovely, and I have always viewed myself as quite plain.
Hence, I felt pleased and bewildered when one of the most attractive men there began to pursue me. Later, when our relationship formed, I asked his reasons for having chosen me.
He replied, “You didn’t seem to be angry at men. So many women have almost come to expect to be let down yet again, they become brittle and hostile, almost seeming to say, “Right, here comes another one.” Harriot Gaff
Misogyny and misandry are not a status or a belief; they are a sickness.
Her Breasts, His Size
Often, men with a misogynistic urge to control believe themselves to be adorers of women. Sadly, they interpret their fixation with the size of mammary glands as reflecting devotion.
In his comprehensive book, Cosmetic Breast Surgery: A complete guide to making the right decision, Dr. Robert Freund discusses examples of his criteria for deciding whether a potential patient’s wish for a requested procedure is truly her own.
He describes one couple who, each time he asked the wife a question as to her medical history, wishes and views, it was answered by her husband. Dr. Freund’s question to the wife as to the degree of augmentation she sought was answered by the husband.
"She wants them as big as you can make them.”
During their entire consultation, despite the surgeon’s questions consistently directed to her, the husband responded. Beyond a few reluctant nods and vague verbal affirmations, she sat in almost absolute silence.
Dr. Freund soon realized this wife had been degraded to a state of complete subjugation. Aware of this painful dynamic, he deemed it ethical to decline surgical augmentation.
Ostracized For Being a Woman
A disturbing number of men believe women are meant to be either adored or abhorred, angels of chastity or cruel enchantresses, often hell-bent on destroying the men they entice. The idea of a woman feeling and acting upon those same drives and desires which impel men towards carnality cannot be endured in their opposite gender.
A blatant example of this polarity is illustrated by the career of stage and screen actress Ingrid Bergman. Born in Stockholm Sweden on August 29th 1915, her acting ability began to be recognized during her early teens. In 1937, she married Dr. Petter Lindstrom, and they had a daughter named Pia.
In 1939 she became an American film star after appearing in the film "Intermezzo". During the late 1940s, she travelled to Italy, in order to appear in the film "Stromboli", directed by Roberto Rossellini. By 1950, when this film was released, director and star were embarked on an affair which would result in the birth of Rossellini's son.
A week after the birth she divorced Lindstrom and then married Rossellini a few weeks after. The affair etc was a highly publicized scandal and Bergman was ostracized, and her career in America stalled. She was denounced as ”a powerful influence for evil” by Senator Edwin C. Johnson on the floor of the US Senate.
This condemnation ended, however, when, given the opportunity in 1956, she astounded audiences with her performance in the film "Anastasia" also starring Yul Brynner. Her magnificence allowed her transgression to be more-or-less overlooked. The resumption of respect was assisted as the evolving feminist movement began to emerge.
To some extent, the trajectory of the times is shown by the fact that, in 1972, Senator Charles H. Percy entered into the Congressional record an apology for the previous injustice with which she had been treated, nearly two decades before.
Mata Hari: Spy And Paramor
Who Was Mata Hari?
In fact, she was an entity invented, in order to bring a frisson of exoticism to her erotic verve. Born Margaretha Zelle in the Netherlands on August 7th 1876, at 18 she married Rudolf MacLeod, an Army Officer twenty years her senior and relocated to the Dutch East Indies.
Although this marriage provided financial stability and a significant rise in social position, acrimony between the couple soon evolved into venom, and they separated in 1902, each detesting the other.
A Separate Self is Invented
Having glimpsed an elegant, bejewelled lifestyle, Margaretha was determined to obtain one, whatever its moral or physical costs. Therefore, she deployed her study of dance in the East Indies when she relocated to Paris in 1903. Once there, she was proved right in believing she could parlay her knowledge into a pretext for flaunting her semi-nudity under the guise of sacred rituals.
She changed her name to Mata Hari, translated in Indonesian as “sunrise” or “eye of the day”. This name and façade allowed her to tantalize her largely male audience beyond the bounds of respectable conduct. If, masked within the veil of this ruse, an affluent man could arrange a rendezvous, he could do so, ostensibly in order to learn more about her background in dance.
Execution of Mata Hari
At some point, when age and weight gain curtailed her dancing career, Mata Hari’s financial needs rose. Akin to others who justify a means of living in various spheres of deceit, she detached her genuine self from the feigned Mata Hari.
As she would say, when accused of espionage, those who confided in Margaretha Zelle were entirely different from those who consorted with Mata Hari.
Still, the law does not accept such distinctions.
It is almost certain she worked, to some extent, as a German spy against France during World War 1. Still, according to her biography by Pat Shipman "Femme Fatale: Love, Lies, and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari" the evidence of the significance caused by her conveying of information is largely open to question.
Ms. Shipman maintains Mata Hari’s execution, on October 15th 1917, via firing squad, was based in part upon her lack of conventional morality and her refusal to grovel before the tribunal of men.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on June 06, 2016:
Hi Vladimir, thank you for your thorough and profound insights. Yes, it is strange how otherwise talented men who show deep understanding in their work save their cruelest impulses for the women closest to them.
Val Karas from Canada on June 06, 2016:
Colleen - Reading all these quotes I am tempted to place the authors' reasoning about women into the same category with those who first made up jokes about "stupid" blondes. It's completely senseless and heavily painted with personal inability to create a harmonious chemistry with a woman. There is also a possibility that all of them (except for those who were secretly gay) had some mother-issues which they kept projecting onto their romantic attempts.
The only thing that actually shocks here is that most of these authors were famous and otherwise quite intelligent males.
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on April 20, 2016:
Hi Stella, Yes I agree. As it happens, my sister's in-laws are also Italian, and while her marriage is happy, it is definitely more traditional than mine. Thanks for the comment. Colleen
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on April 19, 2016:
Hi Colleen, am glad I live now and not in those days of stupidity. Coming from a 1960 Italian family I heard and saw enough to demand my own equality. It is easy to live alone than be belittled by anyone. Nice hub, Stella
Suzie from Carson City on March 14, 2016:
Oh Colleen.....We could discuss this forever.......but why waste OUR valuable, precious time on what truly doesn't interest us?? LOL
Ego pampering bores me........and I long ago, burned my tap-dancing shoes.......Peace, Paula
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on March 14, 2016:
Hi Paula, I am glad you do not find these quotes irksome in any way. The male ego never ceases to blow me away. When I was at law school, one girl responded to anything said by a male with either "I agree with you" or "your right". while at first the males pretty much laughed, soon enough they were lining up for her syrup. Colleen
Suzie from Carson City on March 13, 2016:
Colleen, rather than allow some of the ignorance spewed here, describing unflattering quotes about women, to irk me~~I found myself laughing at the futile attempts of the men who coined these quotes. Only a human being utterly aware of his inferiority to the brilliance & talents of women, would feel the need to expose himself as a mumbling ape.
Only the shallow minds of men lead them to believe they rule the world, without first acknowledging that THEY are ruled by WOMEN.
Fascinating & somewhat comical read. Thank you, Colleen
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on March 13, 2016:
Hi Larry, I agree wholeheartedly, glad things have changed a great deal since then. I wonder though if some men secretly harbor some of those feelings. Colleen
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 12, 2016:
Wow! Some big names in history saying some very ignorant things. Fascinating read.
Ann Carr from SW England on February 25, 2016:
Yes and they're always the most infuriating!
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on February 25, 2016:
Hi Ann, I agree; why is it some of the most detestable men think themselves the most irresistible? Colleen
Ann Carr from SW England on February 25, 2016:
I've met men who have exactly those attitudes you describe above; they are often not liked by any or have few friends but remain convinced they are God's gift!
Superb research as always. Oscar Wilde and Byron have the wit as usual.
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on February 24, 2016:
Hi MsDora, As so often, you have captured the essence of what I hoped to convey. Sadly, as women, you and I both know that in a subtle way, this treatment continues. Colleen
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 24, 2016:
Shocking, the way these people have tried to dehumanize women. The world is poorer as a result of their efforts. Thanks for highlighting this injustice to women.
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on February 23, 2016:
Hi Andrew, You are so right. The problem with customs which become entrenched, as you say, is they soon become a part of the social fabric. I wonder how many actors have been denounced on the Senate floor for following their desires. Colleen
Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on February 22, 2016:
Fascinating, frustrating - your research puts in sharp relief the mischief created by males which in some cases has led to abuse no doubt. The thing is, it's been going on for millenia - so unnecessary, wrong!