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Girls & Women

9 Excellent Quotes From Virginia Woolf on Her 136th Birthday

Anyone paying attention to Google’s Doodle today will have noticed that it is in celebration of British novelist Virginia Woolf — on what would have been her 136th birthday. 

Now is an apt time to honour her. Woolf, who died in 1941, exemplified a lot of the conversations that are still so relevant today. 

She’s a feminist icon for her independence, creativity, and determination. She believed, not that women were superior to men, but that both were equally necessary and useful. 

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But she was also way ahead of her time in questioning the social norms of her day for gender and sexuality. The Woolfs had an open marriage, and Woolf had a relationship with Vita Sackville-West, a poet also in an open marriage, for several years. 

Her interest in the fluidity of sexuality and gender, however, wasn't just for real life. She also explored it extensively in her fiction — the most famous of which include “Mrs Dalloway”, “To the Lighthouse", “Orlando”, and “A Room of One’s Own”.

Read more: 14 Badass Women Who Fought for Their Beliefs in the Past 100 Years

In “Orlando” for example, published in 1928, Woolf explores bisexuality, defined as the fusion of both the male and female identity in a single character. 

To Woolf, a mind that could incorporate elements of both the masculine and the feminine was the most creative, and it was a unity that she strived for. 

So, without further ado, here are some of our favourite quotes from this pillar of feminist wisdom:

1. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” 

2. “ As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” 

3. “Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”

4. “As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking”

5. “Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.” 

6. “A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgement, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”

7. “The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.” 

8. “He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink.”

9. “I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not talk about themselves anymore.”

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