The Best Quotes from The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

The Female Persuasion is the eleventh novel by Meg Wolitzer, based around the themes of female mentorship, activism, ambition and power. It focuses on the relationship between young college student Greer Kadetsky and feminist icon Faith Frank, borne out of a chance encounter and provides insightful commentary on the contemporary feminism of today.

If you are yet to read The Female Persuasion then I hope these quotes inspire you to do so (and check out my book review of it!). If you have, then hopefully they will allow you to relive your favourite parts of the novel, as they certainly did that for me.

Female Friendship and Mentorship

“I think that’s what the people who change our lives always do. They give us permission to be the person we secretly really long to be but maybe don’t feel we’re allowed to be.”

“Faith Frank hired me, originally, based on nothing. She took me in and she taught me things, and more than that she gave me permission. I think that’s what the people who change our lives always do. They give us permission to be the person we secretly really long to be but maybe don’t feel we’re allowed to be.”

Family and Relationships

“People’s marriages were like two-person religious cults, impossible to understand.”

“For a long time he’d been periodically preoccupied by the idea that when someone you loved died, you could spend the rest of your life searching the world for that person and yet you would never, ever find him or her, no matter how many obscure places you went to, no matter how many caves you slipped into, or curtains you parted, or houses you entered. The dead person truly no longer existed, and while as a matter of science this fact seemed so simple, it was unaccountably hard to accept it when the person was someone you loved.”

“Power and love didn’t often live side by side. If one came in, the other might go.”

“A child just wants to love her parents and to be loved, and it seems like it should be simple to do that, but sometimes it’s not.”

“No, not just the visual. There’s the emotional part too. There’s that line Faulkner said, about how you don’t love because. You love despite.”


“At the podium Faith said, “Whenever I give a talk at colleges I meet young women who say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ By which they mean, ‘I don’t call myself a feminist, but I want equal pay, and I want to have equal relationships with men, and of course I want to have an equal right to sexual pleasure. I want to have a fair and good life. I don’t want to be held back because I’m a woman.”

“I think there are two kinds of feminists. The famous ones, and everyone else. Everyone else, all the people who just quietly go and do what they’re supposed to do, and don’t get a lot of credit for it, and don’t have someone out there every day telling them they’re doing an awesome job.”

“And you don’t always have to feel the compulsion to keep striving toward something for the sake of striving. No one will think less of you. There are no grades anymore, Greer. Sometimes I think you forget that. There are never going to be grades for the rest of your life, so you just have to do what you want to do. Forget about how it looks. Think about what it is.”

“People did what they could, as powerfully as they could, until they couldn’t do it anymore. There wasn’t much time.”

“But sometimes the way to get involved is to just live your life and be yourself with all your values intact.”

“ I do it for women. Not everyone agrees with the way I do it. Women in powerful positions are never safe from criticism. The kind of feminism I’ve practiced is one way to go about it. There are plenty of others, and that’s great. There are impassioned and radical young women out there, telling multiple stories. I applaud them. We need them. We need as many women fighting as possible. I learned that early on from the wonderful Gloria Steinem — the world is big enough for different kinds of feminists to coexist, people who want to emphasize different aspects of the fight for equality. God knows the injustices are endless, and I am going to use whatever resources are at my disposal to fight in the way I know how. ”

Personal Growth

“You know, I sometimes think that the most effective people in the world are introverts who taught themselves how to be extroverts.”

“Why are we so hard on ourselves?” asked someone with great plaintiveness. Faith thought, it’s not that I’m so hard on myself exactly, it’s that I’ve learned to adopt the views of men as if they were my own.”

“Your twenties were a time when you still felt young, but the groundwork was being laid in a serious way, crisscrossing beneath the surface. It was being laid even while you slept. What you did, where you lived, who you loved, all of it was like pieces of track being put down in the middle of the night by stealth workers.”

“That was it: why did she have to go through life feeling half-full? She wondered if some people got to feel fully full, or whether it was everyone’s fate to feel as if the state of being human was one in which the self was like a bag of something wonderful that had already been half-eaten. ”

“Self-preservation is as important as generosity. Because if you don’t preserve yourself, keep enough for yourself, then of course you have nothing to give.”

“But she thought that maybe there had been a series of moments, and that this was the way it was for most people: the small realizations leading you first toward an important understanding and then toward doing something about it. Along the way, too, there would be people you would meet who would affect you and turn you ever so slightly in a different direction. Suddenly you knew what you were working for, and you didn’t feel as if you were wasting your time.”

Find The Female PersuasionGoodreads | Amazon Waterstones

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