Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Compiled by

Kathleen Hoy Foley

Writing is dangerous because we are afraid of what the writing reveals: the fears, the angers, the strengths of a woman under a triple or quadruple oppression.  Yet in that very act lies our survival because a woman who writes has power.  And a woman with power is feared.

~~Gloria Anzaldua
We begin to find our voices.  We begin to see, hear…”I am talking about 5 thousand years of slavery—my slavery, my mother’s, her mother’s—all the women in the world for generations and generations.”  Nobody knows what to do, and yet we are doing it.  Millions of obscure women begin to dare to speak.  Our pens are dangerous weapons. 

~~Kady Vandeurs
In the transformation of silence into language and action, it is vitally necessary for each one of us to establish or examine her function in that transformation, and to recognize her role as vital.

~~Audre Lorde
It is not simply that the voices of working-class people and people of color have been stifled; they also have been unheard and rendered unhearable, aurally erased.  And the dominant group, too, has been damaged in the process, deprived of access to crucial experience and ways of seeing…

~~Toni Morrison
In addition to taboos against speaking and publishing what is regarded as unspeakable, the writer faces her audience’s resistance to hearing…  (the) work calls into question our ways of keeping at arm’s length what makes us uncomfortable.  At its most powerful, (the) work often impels us to in-corporate the pain of violation, to take it into our own bodies where it can force us to respond.  It implicates us…in the struggle to give voice to the horror and the determination to end it.

~~Deirdre Lashgari 

Whatever might exist that is completely outside of human language, that is completely other, can paradoxically be approached or approximated only through language.

~~Jane Hoogestraat

Why are so many more women silenced than men?

~~Tillie Olsen 

But woman is learning for herself that not self-sacrifice, but self-development, is her first duty in life; And this (is) not primarily for the sake of others, but that she may become fully herself.

~~Matilda Joslyn Gage

Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.

~~ Dr. Judith Herman 

I had an abortion.

~~Gloria Steinman

What if I tell you, you are not different

it’s the family albums that lie

~~Andrienne Rich 

Only women die one by one, attempting until the last minute to embody an ideal imposed upon them…  Only women die one by one, smiling up to the last minute, smile of the siren, smile of the coy girl, smile of the madwoman.  Only women die one by one, polished to perfection or unkempt behind locked doors too desperately ashamed to cry out.  Only women die one by one, still believing that if only they had been perfect…they would not have come to hate life so much, to find it so strangely difficult and empty, themselves so hopelessly confused and despairing.   

~~Andrea Dworkin 

Most harm that can befall victims through violence can come to them also through deceit.  But deceit controls more subtly, for it works on belief as well as action.

~~Sissela Bok 

“She feels alone, burdened by a weight she could never shake off.  Even today, she feels a knot in her stomach as she writes, finding it hard to put words together, preferring to forget and not be consumed anymore by memories.  She feels that by speaking of her father, and above all by speaking of the half-open door he never let her shut, she has in turn opened up a dangerous gap in her tale…” 

~~Sylvia Molloy 

When incest is covert (in cases of intrusive voyeurism, sexually colored ridicule of a child, and sexually motivated exposure), it does not involve physical contact.  However, the dynamic is always sexual misuse, both of the authoritative power and of the legitimate need for closeness over a child who is unable to resist.

~~Eileen Starzecpyzel 

my poems

strung like bloody beads across my throat,

my disembowelment, my seppuku—

scarlet entrails

twisting from the open wound

~~Janice Mirikitani

Rage is not a "stage."  It is not something to be gotten over.  It is transformative, focusing Force.  It is her broom, her Fire-breathing, winged mare.  It is her spiraling staircase leading her where she can find her own Kind, unbind her mind.

~~Mary Daly

How do you break out of a restrictive cultural milieu?  How to know you are in a bubble, and life—the real life you are meant to live—is taking place elsewhere?

~~Dr. Gayle Wurtz

But she had made art!

Somehow, sick or well, every day…

It’s me

who is having trouble

making art of this.

~~Bernice Rendrick

To anybody who asks me who I think I am to tell political bigwigs, captains of industry, and religious honchos where to get off, I answer: Who do I have to be?  I am the Domestic Goddess, you impertinent creature, you!

~~Roseanne Barr

I imagined the hostile response I’d get…  “Who does she think she is?”  …it turned out not to be like that…  The world…turned out to be much, much bigger...  …full of…sisters and brothers although we had never met, who were there to welcome me coming out of the shadows, and who wanted to throw off the shadows that obscured their own lives, too.  My small voice was answered by a rich chorus of voices: my voice, which had once had been mute!  Of all the places where my story might start…it started itself at a point in my life when I could not speak at all…

~~Nuala O’Faolain

All silence has meaning.

~~Andrienne Rich