“What is a woman’s place in this modern world?” Jasnah Kholin’s words read. “I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past.
They ignore the greater assumption–that a ‘place’ for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be–by-nature–a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood.
I say that there is no role for women–there is, instead, a role for each woman, and she must make it for herself. For some, it will be the role of scholar; for others, it will be the role of wife. For others, it will be both. For yet others, it will be neither.”
― Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance
“Marjan. I have told him tales of good women and bad women, strong women and weak women, shy women and bold women, clever women and stupid women, honest women and women who betray. I’m hoping that, by living inside their skins while he hears their stories, he’ll understand over time that women are not all this way or that way. I’m hoping he’ll look at women as he does at men–that you must judge each of us on her own merits, and not condemn us or exalt us only because we belong to a particular sex.”
―Shahrazad in Shadow Spinner, by Susan Fletcher
We all have cracks and tears and shattered glass within our souls. Some have more than others. We do not wish to seek one who has none; but we wish to find the one who can say “look at me, look at this.” We wish to find the one who sees every bit of broken glass and who will put those pieces into the palms of our hands and say “please keep them.” And we wish to be that kind of person, too. This is how it should be.
Books can make a difference in dispelling prejudice and building community: not with role models and recipes, not with noble messages about the human family, but with enthralling stories that make us imagine the lives of others. A good story lets you know people as individuals in all their particularity and conflict; and once you see someone as a person—flawed, complex, striving—you’ve reached beyond stereotype.
Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. A flower is beautiful. But this is beautiful the way that a person is beautiful- terrifying with its jagged edges, yet seductive with its crevices that hide so many secrets.
John Vanderpoel, Pencil Drawing of Young Woman in Profile
I thought about the word ‘profile’ and what a weird double meaning it had. We say we’re looking at a person’s profile online, or say a newspaper is writing a profile on someone, and we assume it’s the whole them we’re seeing. But when a photographer takes a picture of a profile, you’re only seeing half the face… It’s never the way you would remember seeing them. You never remember someone ‘in profile.’ You remember them looking you in the eye, or talking to you. You remember an image that the subject could never see in a mirror, because you are the mirror. A profile, photographically, is perpendicular to the person you know.