Jill Johnston was a columnist with the Village Voice from 1959-1978, covering the New York City art community in writing that came increasingly to be itself avant garde, once described as "collages." She has continued to write as an art and dance critic. Already the author of two books by 1973, her publication that year of the now-classic Lesbian Nation brought out into public the relationship of, and tension between, feminism and lesbianism. In Lesbian Nation Jill Johnston advocated a political lesbianism that would bring women together to support one another and have power as a group, while becoming independent of men.
Selected Jill Johnston Quotations:
• No one should have to dance backwards all their life.
• [A]ll women are lesbians except those who don't know it yet.
• Until all women are lesbians there will be no true political revolution.
• Feminists who still sleep with men are delivering their most vital energies to the oppressor.
• Retrospectively, I see Lesbian Nation as a period piece.
• Bisexuality is not so much a copout as a fearful compromise.
• Once I understood the feminist doctrines, a lesbian separatist position seemed the commonsensical position, especially since, conveniently, I was an L-person. Women wanted to remove their support from men, the "enemy" in a movement for reform, power, and self-determination. A revolutionary prototype existed in their midst. But the prejudice against women within the ranks of women, much less loving women at the intimate level, was so great (still is, of course) that feminists could only act against their own best interests and trash the women who modeled their beliefs. The split between straight feminists and lesbian feminists was extremely damaging, and will no doubt continue to be in any future wave, to the cause of women's liberation. The internal damage within the lesbian feminist ranks was also lethal. (interview, 2006, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide)
• Gay men, however discriminated against, are still patriarchs.
• Telling it like it is means telling it like it was and how it is now that it isn't what it was to the is now people.
• It's necessary in order to attract attention, to dazzle at all costs, to be disapproved of by serious people, and quoted by the foolish.
• It costs a lot of money to go into cafes to breastfeed when out in public. Not everyone has the money to do that. Yet, at the same time, it is often people with the least money and accompanying health inequalities that are most likely to benefit from breastfeeding.
• Writing is employing the chief tool of culture to add to the global chatter as stylishly as possible with the moral imperative of underscoring the absurdity of culture.
• The inmates are ghosts whose dreams have been murdered.
• All of life seems like that. Once we settle into some phase or other, and become attached to it, some unknown force makes us move on, only death obviously relieving us from these exhausting cycles.
• (on Sarah Palin) McCain's announcement the morning after the spectacular close of the Democratic Convention was of course a shocker. Not only had he stolen Obama's thunder, but he was announcing an unthinkable vice-president.... With her, and the embarrassment it brings, we have not only the possibility of an idiot at the helm of government, but a woman who insults the real gains made by women in politics and other arenas. Not to mention the insult to Hillary, an accomplished intelligent woman I, like many other women, passed over for Obama.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Jill Johnston Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/jill_johnston.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)