WOMEN
01/02/2013 06:31 pm ET Updated Apr 26, 2013

Best Quotes From Women 2012: Our Favorite Things Women Said To Us This Year

One of the best parts of our jobs at HuffPost Women is getting to talk to amazing women all year long -- famous and unknown, young and old, experts and students, women at the top of their game and women going through the most difficult times in their lives. We interview authors, doctors, filmmakers, pudding makers, actresses, scientists, CEOs, falconers, screenwriters, Internet upstarts and seasoned authors and journalists. Best of all, we get to talk to them not just about what they do professionally but about who they are, what makes them laugh, what they're passionate about, what enrages them, what they don't understand, why they like being female or why they think gender doesn't define them.

Of everything they said to us over the last twelve months, a few thoughts and statements stood out, and we've collected those for you below. Here are the 24 best things women said to us in 2012:

On sex:

Therese Schechter, director of “How To Lose Your Virginity”:
You can decide what [virginity] means to you and whether it’s important or not. And my definition has really evolved into this idea of it being a process. We have a lot of virginities to lose and a lot of opportunities to do things for the first time, whatever they may be.”

Katie Anne Naylon (@itskatieanne), “For a Good Time, Call...” co-writer:
“The stuff that I heard on the phone line –- a lot of it would petrify any normal girl, and having not had sex, my version of racy sex was like Julia Roberts having sex on the piano with Richard Gere in ‘Pretty Woman.’ I had this bravado around sex because I knew what had been talked about, but I didn't know exactly what would go on once everybody went back to the bedroom. So it definitely kept me a virgin for a long time because, as much as I sounded confident, I really was nervous.”

Tanya Wexler (@TanyaWexler), “Hysteria” director:
“My partner’s a woman, but the guys in my life are not so frail and weak to be threatened by a vibrator or to be threatened by knowledge and good information. They love the women in their lives and they want them to feel good and be happy.”

Zosia Mamet, “Girls” actress:
“I had an 85-year-old woman come up to me on the subway. She was like, ‘Oh my god, honey, that scene where he's in between your legs. I've been married for 40 years and when my husband does that I still make the same faces.’ And then we had to wait for the subway together.”

Malgorzata Szumowska, director And co-writer of "Elles":
“It's a hard time for sexuality. People are so busy that sexuality turns mechanical. Like, let’s do it, ten minutes, bye. That's not sexuality. Sexuality needs time.”

Naomi Wolf (@NaomiRWolf), author of “The Beauty Myth” and “Vagina":
“We have a terrible paucity of language in talking about women in relation to their sexuality. And one word that we don’t have is one that means radical female self-respect.”

On work and "having it all":

Jackie Barry, female falconer:
“I personally select female birds, because female birds in the raptor world are one-third larger than their male counterparts. That translates to more power.”

Jessica Grose (@JessGrose), journalist and author of “Sad Desk Salad”
"There have been times where I have written about things I regret, more than I regret the topic I regret the way I wrote about it. And I felt that I wasn’t fair. That was always my biggest regret when I was writing, is -- I never wrote what I didn’t think, but sometimes when you’re writing so quickly, your snap judgements are just that -- snap judgements. And they are bitchy and judgemental and unfair. So there are definitely times where I felt that I was unfair. And... wish that I had been."

Jennifer Gilbert (@JenGilbertNYC), entrepreneur, author, assault survivor:
"I would say, 'I’ve got it covered,' and I said it with confidence... I was never afraid or intimidated by anybody after what happened to me... No matter who said anything to me, I could look at them in the eye and say, 'I will deliver. I will be there for you, and I will fight for you because I know what a fight is.'"

Leslye Headland (@MolotovCocktail), “Bachelorette” director and writer:
“I feel like something that's happened in the last 25 years is that feminism went from equal pay and the right to choose [what happens to] our bodies to a list of things we have to do. It was like have a career, have a guy, have a kid, be thin, spend your money on clothing but not too much, have a family. I'm sort of like, ‘But I don't really want to have to do all this.’ I want to do what I want to do, which was I thought the point of all this. To see other women slipping into that made me sad. Not everyone's gonna get married. Not everyone's gonna have a sparkling, amazing career. Not everyone is gonna have a perfect body. If you can't be happy without those things, then I doubt those things, if you ever get them, will make you happy.”

Katie Aselton (@DuplaSelton), “The League” actress:
“You just have to be very specific about the person you work with. And I definitely learned that lesson from my experience on ‘The Freebie’ -- we had another actor cast before Dax Shepard, and he was a total jerk, and I fired him. I was like, ‘I don’t want to work with jerks.’ Especially on your own projects where you get all the control, why would you work with someone that you don’t want to work with?”

Yael Kohen (@YaelKohen), author of “We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy” :
“Even when you look at ‘Saturday Night Live,’ women who are most successful went in when they were like 28 versus the ones who go in at 22 and just sink. There’s a confidence that comes at 28 — you’ve developed your point of view. It takes time to build that, and men have that time. They hire a lot of 40-year-old men for comedy.”

Nell Freudenberg, author of “The Newlyweds”:
“I don’t care how my book is categorized, but I think all the time about how we write about women’s lives. Some of my favorite short-story writers, like Alice Munro and Grace Paley, have been engaged in that for their whole careers, that question about how we write about women. I’m fascinated by it, especially as I’m different from when I was in my 20s and really didn’t see any difference between myself and the male writers I was friends with. We were all reading the same books, and we were trying to write good fiction. And now I’m still writing fiction, those guys are still writing fiction, but our lives are so different. I have two children, and I work at home, and there’s no separating those two parts of my life anymore.”

Zaha Hadid, architect:
“You have to believe not only in yourself, you have to believe that the world is worth your sacrifices.

On body image and food:

Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson), actress:
“It’s kind of like in stories with scripts where they write in the description that one sister is the uglier sister and one’s the pretty one. And most actresses don’t want to go for the uglier sister. But then I just look at it as a character and think, ‘Is this a good character?’ … Also as a comedian, I think, well, obviously I am overweight, and sometimes you have to use what you’ve got. Like if you’ve got a big nose and there’s a character with a big nose, you’re like, ‘Why not?’

Geneen Roth (@GeneenRoth), author of “Breaking Free From Emotional Eating” and 8 other books:
“Just because we live in an insane culture doesn't mean we have to be insane too.”

Okay, okay, Lena Dunham (@LenaDunham) didn’t tell just us this -- she told the entire audience at the New Yorker Festival. But we heard it come out of her mouth, and it’s too great not to include here. When asked why she appears naked so often onscreen, she told New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum that she shows audiences her body -- a body that looks much more like most American women’s than the bodies we see in most movies and TV shows -- to say to the world, on behalf of un-airburshed, average-size women:
“Look at us until you see us.”

On growing up:

Lizzy Caplan, actress:
“A lot of us were raised being told that we would go straight to the top and be the most successful and the happiest. And when things aren’t falling into place in the way that we were promised as children, I think that’s very scary for a lot of people.”

Charity Shumway (@CharityShumway), author of “Ten Girls to Watch”:
“I do feel like the belief of ‘things are going to be OK’ is something that is really hard to have when you don’t have enough experience yet to be certain of that. It's something that people say all the time when you’re like 23 and they think your problems are cute. One of the feelings I had after college is that nobody feels bad for you. Like, ‘You’re a college graduate. Get your act together. There are people who have real problems in the world.’ And you know what? That’s true. But at the same time, life is actually hard! I hope people who are in that phase of life will realize it doesn’t mean it’s gonna suck forever, and it doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about it sucking.”

On women:

Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp), “Pitch Perfect” and “The Mindy Project” actress:
“I think that the audience wants to see women being put into to real situations where they can relate to them, rather than seeing some glamorous woman in a Bond film. It’s so refreshing to see women getting dirty and getting messy and not knowing what to do. And also being really smart. I think it’s a great time in this industry for women, and I’m just happy to be one.”

Isla Fisher, “Bachelorette” actress:
“I think, too, sometimes men can be threatened if you’re funny in a scene, ‘cause they feel competitive, whereas what’s great about the dynamic between the three of us -- [Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and me] -- is we’re all really supportive of each other, and because of the different natures of our characters, there was never any need to outdo.”

Nina Arianda, “Venus in Fur” actress (and Tony winner):
“I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised, honestly very moved, by the response from the women that I have met. I don't know if I was expecting it, which makes me feel bad. I've had a very supportive mother my entire life, so I've had strong women around me. But there's something very profound about having your peers and women who are maybe older or just people that you admire so much and who understand what you do support you.”

Jenna Lyons, President and Executive Creative Director, J.Crew:
“I think for me the best thing about being a woman is that I get credit for things that I think I should just be doing anyway. There's no differentiation. I don’t think about it in terms of being a woman. Being gracious, being attentive, being curious, being interested are requirements for everyone. As much as the people in this room are being honored for being a woman, I think what they’re being honored for is what they’ve done. I would look forward to the day when there's no differentiation. It’s about what you do.”

Caitlin Moran (@CaitlinMoran), journalist and author of “How To Be A Woman”:
"All the way through writing the book... I would say “I want to say at least one true thing every day"... When you really realize what that means, and ...you try to write a joke and the payoff is that you come across as klutzy and ditzy, you go, ‘No, I’m actually not klutzy and ditzy. The joke’s not gonna be that I’m a klutzy and ditzy person, it’s that I’m gonna work really hard and I want to change the world. [It’s] to be a bit of a superhero.’”

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