When you think of the word genius, what comes to mind? A male scientist with wild hair in a laboratory? Especially as a woman, I like to have female sources of inspiration, and I realized that even in my own mind’s eye, the word “genius,” tends to conjure images of men doing science experiments…
Of course, that is one, singular example and while an appropriate image to spring to mind, I believe that genius has a broader range than that. One of the definitions on dictionary.com is “natural ability or capacity.” And, in slang terms, many people say “Genius!” when something has really struck them in a brilliant way.
In order to start creating a new inner definition of the word for myself, I wanted to have a long list of in-depth examples. So, I messaged several friends and asked them, “Who is your favorite female genius?”
I compiled this list of quotes from the female geniuses my friends and I admire. They represent a decently wide expanse of time, and all kinds of different fields of expertise. Enjoy!
“Especially now when views are becoming more polarized, we must work to understand each other across political, religious and national boundaries.” –Jane Goodall, world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees
“Not all Freudian slips are created equal.” –Rachel Maddow, TV host and news anchor
“I believe there are more urgent and honorable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.” –Colette, French novelist and performer
“Empathy’s the antidote to shame. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” –Brene Brown, author and speaker
“There are different ways of being rigorous, and I am asking people to be as rigorous in their pleasure as in their criticism.” –Barbara Kruger, conceptual artist
“Look around less, imagine more.” –Esther Hicks, speaker and author on new thought
“As an artist I’d choose the thing that’s beautiful more than the one that’s true.” –Laurie Anderson, experimental performance artist and musician
“Try to keep up.” -Angela Cappetta, photographer
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” –Mary Oliver, poet
“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. For nothing is more precious than the life force and may the love of that force guide you as you go.” –Patti Smith, Godmother of Punk
“People tend to overemphasize similarities and ignore differences when comparing the present with the past, but differences have a lot to teach us.” –Suzannah Lipscomb, British historian and broadcaster
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” –Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein
“Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.” –Donella Meadows, environmental scientist
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” –Marie Curie, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, physics and chemistry.
Please feel free to add your own favorite geniuses and quotes in the comments!