Comets Across The Sky

No Title

Artwork: Zonder Titel/No Title by Anita van Kempen.

The Common Scold

"A common scold-'communis rixatris'-(for our law latin confines it to the feminine gender) is a public nuisance." Sir William Blackstone, eighteenth-century British jurist

'Scolds, in a legal sense, are troublesome and angry women, who, by their brawling and wrangling amongst their neighbors, break the public peace.' Jacob's Law Dictionary

"A common scold was a crime, in other words, that consisted essentially of speaking one's mind, and a crime that only a woman could commit. The punishment was a public ducking, in a ducking stool plunged into some handy body of cold water. It's wonderful how far civilizatin has advanced since those olden days. Why, the last time a woman was indicted as a common scold in the United States was way back in 1971.

"1971? Yes. That was, in fact a full four years after the crime of common scold had been declared obsolete in Great Britian by the Criminal Law Act of 1967. But Great Britain is not New Jersey, where, in 1971, Marion B Dunlevy was arrested, fingerprinted and indicted as a common scold after an argument with two (male) neighbors over a parked car. The State Superior Court threw the case out the following year, but the law is on the books. So watch it."

Donald E. Westlake, Introduction to "An Uncommon Scold" by Abby Adams


Dislike, displeasure, resentment, fault-finding, indignation, passionate remonstrance, a sense of injustice...they make fine fuel. ---Edna Ferber

The most sympathetic of men never fully comprehend woman's concrete situation. ---Simone De Beauvoir

The indifference of the world which Keats and Flaubert and other men of genius have found so hard to bear was in her case [the woman writer's] not indifference but hostility. The world did not say to her as it said to them, Write if you choose; it makes no difference to me. The world said with a guffaw, Write? What's the good of your writing? ---Virginia Woolf

If God is male, then the male is God. The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination. ---Mary Daly

I believe that every woman's soul is haunted by the spirits of earlier women who took risks and resisted as women today are fighting their rapists and batterers. ---Adrienne Rich

In America you watch tv and think that's totally unreal, then you step outside and it's the same. ---Joan Armatrading

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. ---Audre Lorde

The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence. ---Joan Baez

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother. ---Margaret Sanger

People call me feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute. ---Rebecca West


Quotes compiled by Donna Cross.


Artwork: Zonder Titel/No Title by Anita van Kempen.

Uncommonly Inspiring


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