02/26/2015 01:23 pm ET Updated Feb 26, 2015

21 Quotes On Womanhood By Female Authors That Totally Nailed It


Books can change the way we feel about ourselves. Sometimes, plots reflect our own experiences, guiding us through the future or refracting our memories through a new lens. Other times, we discover pieces of ourselves sprinkled throughout unfamiliar narratives, finding empathy and resonance in odd corners.

The best books, however, move us not just for the stories they tell -- but with the words that they use.

We asked HuffPost editors to share a passage or quote by a female author that spoke to them as women. Some of the passages address womanhood specifically, others speak to humanity in ways that feel fundamentally female to us when we read them. In either case, they are the "aha" moments; the nails hit on the head; the passions awakened.

Here are 21 quotes about womanhood by female authors that strike and stir us every time we read them:

  • 1 Jane Austen
    From Persuasion.
  • 2 Maya Angelou
  • 3 Virginia Woolf
    Hulton Archive via Getty Images
  • 4 Sylvia Plath
    From The Bell Jar.
  • 5 Nora Ephron
    From I Remember Nothing
  • 6 Germaine Greer
    From The Change
  • 7 Gloria Steinem
  • 8 E.L. Konigsburg
    From From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
  • 9 Cheryl Strayed
    Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
  • 10 Jennifer Weiner
    From Good In Bed.
  • 11 Inga Muscio
    From Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
  • 12 Erica Jong
    From the essay "The Writer on Her Work."
  • 13 bell hooks
    From Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom.
  • 14 Anna Quindlen
    From Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
  • 15 Staceyann Chin
  • 16 Audre Lorde
  • 17 Alice Munro
    From "How I Met My Husband."
  • 18 Francesca Lia Block
    Necklace of Kisses
  • 19 Erica Jong
    From Fear Of Flying
  • 21 Simone de Beauvoir
    From Tête-à-tête.
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