"A woman without a man" proverb

Towse self at TOWSE.COM
Mon Apr 28 16:32:05 UTC 2003

"Joanne M. Despres" wrote:
> I happened to attend a conference on activism a couple of
> years ago at which Gloria Steinem was the keynote speaker.  In the course
> of her talk, she stated quite emphatically (in what was pretty
> clearly a refutation of the notion she encouraged anti-male feelings)
> that she was not the coiner of "a woman without a man is like a
> fish without a bicycle."  I can't recall whether she identified the
> actual coiner the quotable quote, but I do remember her saying that
> it originated as a play upon the expression "God needs man like a
> fish needs a bicycle" (or perhaps it was the other way around -- I'm
> not sure).

"The letter below, from famed feminist Gloria Steinem, appeared
in Time magazine sometime in September or October 2000.

In your note on my new and happy marital partnership with David
Bale, you credit me with the witticism 'A woman needs a man like
a fish needs a bicycle.' In fact, Irina Dunn, a distinguished
Australian educator, journalist and politician, coined the phrase
back in 1970 when she was a student at the University of Sydney.
She paraphrased the philosopher who said, "Man needs God like
fish needs a bicycle." Dunn deserves credit for creating such a
popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men
more than vice versa."

This site includes confirmation and explanation from Irina Dunn
and another story of spontaneous and synchronous coinage.

Ye olde swarm of links: 3K+ useful links for writers, researchers
and the terminally curious

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