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Quotes from “Of Men and Women” by Pearl S. Buck

all of life is right for women only if men they value comprehend and approve them.
Every part of life has the possibility of the joy of their full meeting. All of life is right for men only if women they value comprehend and approve them for what they are,
“Do most women work outside the home around here,” I asked, “or do you have an unusual wife?”

“No, she ain’t unusual—not like that, I mean,” he said. “Women mostly help out their menfolks around here.”
Why, in a country such as ours, where woman is given every privilege and as much opportunity apparently as she wants, should she be so often dissatisfied in herself and so restless an influence in society? And why should man not like her better than he does?
there must always be something unusual in a woman who is willing to cross oceans and make a home on alien earth
When marriage is no longer considered necessary between men and women, when children are born without families to be responsible for them, then the end result is that the state must take over
it is well that American women have had the experience of having to think for themselves and do for themselves, in this long interval when so many thousands of our men have been away
Let me hasten to say next that men have changed, too. They expect more of women, they demand more of women. Male eyes follow a pretty girl as unfailingly as ever, but they are eyes that carry more than a sexual question. There is plenty of simple physical sex, of course—and physical sex is, by the way, essentially a very simple business in spite of all the books written on the subject–but there is in the male calculation a question and a demand for something more, if a relationship is to continue. Brains are surprisingly often appreciated. Men enjoy being amused, diverted, stimulated to thought and consideration of new ideas, and once having had this new and surprising experience with a woman, they learn to demand it. This has, of course, an important effect on women, leading them to further self-development.
Most women of this generation have had, for some period at least, to be both father and mother to their children. Many have had to go to work in offices and factories in order to eke out their incomes. They have learned to know themselves and their own powers. They have learned to recognize the good qualities of other women, and as a result of mutual admiration have lost much of their former pettiness
The change in woman is that women are less jealous of each other, more loyal to each other, and less inclined to believe in the leadership of men simply because they are men. I do not say for one moment that they value men less or like them less or consider them less necessary to life and happiness. On the contrary, indeed! I feel today’s women realize as never before the necessity of men’s love and companionship and they admire generously the achievements of men. But they are more selective about men. Women today tend, I think, to judge a man first as a human being, and only secondly as a man. Thirty years ago I think the reverse was true. This change is true, moreover, in women’s attitude toward women. Women are increasingly judging women first as human beings and only secondly as women—or to put it more precisely, as females.
Freedom without opportunity is meaningless.
happiness for men and women is in the greatest freedom for both that is consistent with equal opportunity
This is folly for all, for the exceptional woman’s place is insecure when it is too far above the place of other women. No woman is high enough if all women are not. And yet if one rises she should not be hated by the others—rather should she be looked upon as a hope for all. That she is hated, is only another example of the axiom that civilization is no stronger than its most barbarous member.
And yet the exceptional woman deserves a good deal of this enmity because she allows herself to be cut off from other women by her selfishness in success, instead of using her success to lead others to better and higher places.
The exceptional woman is a reproach in her freedom to those less gifted or less energetic or less conscientious women who do not wish to undertake the responsibilities of freedom. Deep in her heart, woman knows she has accepted the privileges of freedom but not the responsibilities. If one woman can achieve so much, other women ask themselves uneasily, does it show that all women ought to be more? Rather than answer that question honestly, it is easier to point fingers and cry out charges of unwomanliness and neglect of home and children and the absence of virtues which have for so long been woman’s excuse.
the truly female woman cannot be made unwomanly. Whatever she is doing, she remains feminine in every look and word and act.
Brilliant, beautiful, and powerful, she is a monstrosity
And yet I cannot but acknowledge that the exceptional woman, as she sometimes is, is not a likable creature, nor does she inspire other women to emulate her in any way. She is assertive. She is ruthless in her behavior to other women and cares nothing for their well-being as a group. Her entire life and energy are absorbed in the effort to keep her place among men. These men she treats rudely if they disapprove of her, sentimentally if they approve. They admire her cautiously, hate her secretly or openly, fear her profoundly, and respect her unwillingly. She stands to them as a living argument for keeping women in the home and out of the way.
Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman. Children need their fathers at home and they need their mothers outside of it. That is, the work of the world needs to be done by men and women together.
the root of any wish for power is to be found in insecurity of some sort and in distrust of others through ignorance of them. We do not want to rule those whom we trust and understand.
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