Category Archives: Words and Women

Words and Women: Shelley Winters

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Shelley Winters | image from meredy


I have bursts of being a ‘lady’, but it doesn’t last long.



Shelley Winters (b.1920 – d.2006) was an American film, television and stage actress. Her career spanned over 50 years, and her first movie was What a Woman! in 1943. Winters won Academy Awards for The Diary of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue, and received nominations for A Place in the Sun (Best Actress) and The Poseidon Adventure (Best Supporting Actress). In the late 1940s, she shared an apartment with another pin-up actress, Marilyn Monroe.

Winters originally broke into Hollywood films as a Blonde Bombshell type, but quickly tired of the role’s limitations. She claimed to have washed off her makeup to audition for the role of Alice Tripp, the factory girl, in A Place in the Sun. As the Associated Press reported, “although she was in demand as a character actress, Winters continued to study her craft. She attended Charles Laughton’s Shakespeare classes and worked at the Actors Studio, both as student and teacher.”

After she died, a New York Times obituary noted, “Shelley Winters turned herself into a widely respected actress who won two Oscars.”



Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: bell hooks



If feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression, and depriving females of reproductive rights is a form of sexist oppression, then one cannot be anti-choice and be feminist. A woman can insist she would never choose to have an abortion while affirming her support of the right of women to choose and still be an advocate of feminist politics. She cannot be anti-abortion and an advocate of feminism.



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bell hooks, 1988 | image from autostraddle

bell hooks (b. 1952) is an American feminist activist, writer and educator. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, she’s best known by her pen name which she borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. hooks’ writing primarily focuses on the intersections of race, class, and gender, in history, art, education, social activism and much more.

This quotation is taken from chapter 1 of her concise, straightforward feminist handbook Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (2000), which she says she wrote because she “kept waiting for it to appear, and it did not.” Other influential works (there are 30 in total!) include:

Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism (1981), Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984), All About Love: New Visions (2000), and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity (2004).

 


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: Barbra Streisand

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Barbra Streisand in 1966 | image from elle


Why is it that men are permitted to be obsessed about their work, but women are only permitted to be obsessed about men?



Barbra Streisand (b. 1942) is American singer, songwriter, actor, and filmmaker. In a career spanning six decades, Streisand is among the ten best-selling female artists of all time in the US music industry. She starred in nineteen films between 1968 and 2012, and was nominated for BAFTAs and Golden Globes galore.

In 1983, Streisand became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major studio film. The film, Yentl won an Oscar and a Golden Globe, while Streisand received the Golden Globe for Best Director, the first and only woman to win that award to date.

 


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made… It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg | image from Elle

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ginsburg was appointed by President Clinton, took the oath of office on 10th August 1993, and is still serving today.

Ginsburg was the second woman ever to be made a Supreme Court justice in the US, after Sandra Day O’Connor, who served from 1981 until her retirement in 2006. Only four female justices have been appointed to the US Supreme Court. The third and fourth are Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are also still serving.


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | image from guardian

In the face of the proposition that feminism has become too mainstream, that feminist activism has become an empty marketing tool, Adichie responds:

This idea of feminism as a party to which only a select few people get to come: this is why so many women, particularly women of colour, feel alienated from mainstream western academic feminism. Because, don’t we want it to be mainstream? For me, feminism is a movement for which the end goal is to make itself no longer needed. I think academic feminism is interesting in that it can give a language to things, but I’m not terribly interested in debating terms. I want people’s marriages to change for the better. I want women to walk into job interviews and be treated the same way as somebody who has a penis.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist and feminist activist, who lives in the US with her husband and young daughter. Her most recent publication, Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, is based on a letter she wrote to her friend, who asked Adichie for tips on how to raise her child as a feminist.

The book, which was published on 7th March 2017, focuses on teaching feminism to those we love through one’s own actions and relationships, taking Adichie’s suggestions far beyond the realms of parenthood. Dear Ijeawele is accessible to anyone anywhere, making it a truly intersectional manifesto for feminists the world over.

Quotation from Adichie’s recent interview with the guardian.


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf | image from: aljazeera


The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 24th and incumbent President of Liberia



 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Africa’s first elected female head of state in 2005, and was re-elected in 2011. In June 2016, she was elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States, making her the first woman to occupy that position since it was formed.

Sirleaf won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts to secure peace in Liberia. The prize was jointly awarded to Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen. The three women were recognised “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.

Words and Women: Vera Nazarian

A woman is human.

She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man.

Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given.

A woman is human.

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration


Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.