Adrienne Rich Letting Everybody Know

Quotes from her introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of ‘Of Woman Born: Motherhood As Experience And Institution.’


"Some ideas are not really new but keep having to be affirmed from the ground up, over and over. One of these is the apparently simple idea that women are as intrinsically human as men, that neither women nor men are merely the enlargement of a contact sheet of genetic encoding, biological givens."

"The ‘war against the poor’ has been above all a war against poor women and their children, women-headed households from whom, relentlessly, federal services and supports have been withdrawn."

"Enough changes did not occur…for the single mother imprisoned for a nonviolent crime—petty theft, writing a bad check, forgery—forbidden to see her children or even know where they had been taken."

"Most of the labor in the world is done by women: that is a fact. Across the world, women bear and care for children, raise, process and market food, work in factories and sweatshops, clean the home and office building, engage in barter, create and invent group survival."

"I do not see the mother with her child as either more morally credible or more morally capable than any other woman. A child can be used as a symbolic credential, a sentimental object, a badge of self-righteousness. I question the implicit believe that only ‘mothers’ with ‘children of their own’ have a real stake in the future of humanity."

"To be a Black and a female head of household does not mean possessing wider social and political power, though it can often imply leadership and responsibility within the community. It involves the diverse task of providing, protecting, teaching, setting goals, always in the antagonistic and often violent context of racism."

"Theories of female power and female ascendancy must reckon fully with the ambiguities of our being, and with the continuum of our consciousness, the potentialities for both creative and destructive energy in each of us."