Life Advice From 21 Wise Women
03.08.18

In the aftermath of #MeToo and Time’s Up, this year’s International Women’s Day serves as a particularly important commemoration of the contributions of women past, present and future, as well as an urgent call to action. Part of that work involves uplifting the voices of women who are speaking out — about change, about success, about marginalization, about intersectionality, about what it feels like to be a woman making her way through the world.

Scroll down for some of our favorite quotes by women who have been featured on Man Repeller. If there are any words by women that have touched your life in some way, even to the extent that you simply scribbled them down in a notebook, please share them in the comments below. Let’s turn up the volume.


“The youth are not just our future, they are our present. How do we create space for them?”

Carmen Perez in The Women’s March Paints an Optimistic Future for Feminism


“In a subtle way, my gray hair reminds me of all the experiences in my life that have shaped me as a woman. And I really enjoy that reminder because it forces me to stop and think, girl, you’ve earned everything, including those silver streaks.”

Noria Morales in 5 Women on Going Gray


“At the end of each day, I like to ask myself, ‘What did you learn today?’ If I have answers, then that day has been successful.”

Lacey Tompkins in 10 Women on Success As They Know It


“I think you have to be honest with yourself about attainable goals and take the time to acknowledge when you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Try to be self-aware enough to determine whether self-applied pressure is contributing to your unhappiness.”

Simone Oliver in 11 Women With Their Shit Together


“Don’t touch your face. Let the pimples do what they do, leave them alone. Don’t try to cover everything up because that always ends up making it worse. Just do enough to make yourself feel more secure. Know that your skin is not what people are focusing on, and if it is, then those are not the kind of people you should interact with.”

Jaquelyn Klein in What If Acne Wasn’t a Flaw? 5 Women Skip Coverup and Talk Skin


“My joy comes from knowing that my strength is imbued in my very being, that no one has endured as much as a black woman and no one has triumphed like a black woman. Living in a country that was forged in a legacy of marginalization, it gives me absolute joy when I see a woman succeeding, like Kamala Harris, or becoming a standard of beauty, like Lupita Nyong’o. We thrive.”

Olivia Stevens in I Asked 13 Black Women a Question I Needed to Answer Myself


“Women spoke and the engine of the internet’s outrage machine listened — then whirred to life. Weinstein was rightfully terminated. This series of consequences goes to show that in the ongoing campaign to support victims of sexual harassment and condemn their abusers, there is no such thing as too much noise.”

Harling Ross in Harvey Weinstein’s Fall: When Women Speak and People Listen


“Of course I have flaws I’m self-conscious about, but you learn to live with what you have been handed in life and count your blessings. If I had to live my life over, I would start at age 40.”

Ann in I Asked 23 Women About Their Biggest Insecurity


“My eyes will never be blue, my bone structure will never allow for you to mistake me for a Scandinavian model. I am who I am and even if that infers ‘ugly as fuck,’ I think it’s, I don’t know, beautiful.”

Leandra Medine in Why I Don’t Wear Makeup


 “It feels good to be a regular person. It feels good to move through the day without making assumptions about what other people think and see and believe. It feels like a relief. It feels respectful. I’m just me. You’re just you. You’re just doing your best. There’s a lot to celebrate. There’s a lot to love. There’s a lot to feel grateful for. And there’s nothing at all to be ashamed of.”

Heather Havrilesky in Shame: An Explainer


“When I hear “balance,” it doesn’t sound like a goal. More like unnecessary pressure. I say that because when we’re killing it in one area of our lives, the reality is another area is going to get less of our attention and less effort.”

Vanessa Lundy in A Model, an Author and a Stylist on Letting Go and “Having It All”


“If I could tell myself anything, I’d say, ‘Be more adventurous. Don’t take everything that seriously. You are still in your twenties, so it’s okay to fuck up. There is time to get back on the horse.’ I wish I realized that, aside from paying bills, being an adult is actually fun.”

Nicole Chapoteau in I Asked Women What They’d Tell Their 28-Year-Old Selves


“In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to enjoy constantly being in over your head. There’s this sweet spot between, ‘I GOT THIS!!!’ and ‘…Holy shit, I’m gonna barf’ that you live in every single day.”

Polly Rodriguez in It’s Never Too Late: 3 Women on Second Chances and Changing Careers


“I had spent nearly two decades attempting to hide, remedy and ‘fix’ was not something to be fixed at all. The bottom half that had made me feel so different than the other girls I grew up with was inherited. It was genetically and generationally mine.”

Monica Busch in I’ve Finally Stopped Fighting My Natural Body Type


“Ask yourself why the issue matters to you and why you do the work, and remind yourself of that every time you feel like quitting. I like to make my advocacy bigger than me, so that when I get the urge to stop, I remember that there are others counting on me to push forward.”

Cristina Gonzalez in How to Be an Activist (Even if It’s Not Your Job)


“I am a 32-year-old black woman immersed in a cinematic universe where black women thrive. I am overjoyed for the children who will grow up seeing these confident, courageous women taking up space and telling stories that are larger than life.”

Erin Canty in In ‘Black Panther,’ Black Women Thrive


“There’s a difference between believing that you’re beautiful because people tell you that you are and knowing you’re beautiful no matter what people say. There’s a difference between accepting a body that gains weight every summer and taking pleasure in the versatility of such a body.”

Celeste Little in Rihanna’s Perspective on Her Weight Changed How I Think


“There’s a balance of being comfortable, of having enough money to live on and then just having a good time. You’ve got to balance. You’ve got to find time to play. You gotta have a little life, a little fun. Find your soul.”

Emily Lemer in 3 Women on What They’ve Learned in Their 70+ Years of Life


“I used to feel compelled to prove a point. Now I’m comfortable being solitary in an opinion.”
Jamila in 24 Women on How Life Changes With Age


“The minute that every single thing is perfect, you’ve lost your sexuality, as far as I’m concerned. Where’s the juice?”

Ali MacGraw in Iconic Actress Ali MacGraw on Expensive Things and Getting Older


“The world needs whatever you are into. Whatever you’re obsessed with, there is someone else out there who needs that.”

Maggie Winter in MR Round Table: Female Entrepreneurship

Feature illustration by Irene Servillo.

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  • Cynthia Schoonover

    My piece of advice: Be yourself. Trying to be someone else doesn’t work.

  • Rockrenee

    I totally agree with Vanessas argument about balance, everyone should prioritase their needs.

    Rock Renee Blog

  • Kattigans

    I love these! Bookmarked this amazing list of nuggets. Best thing I’ve ever been told by other women is to say “no”. No was my 2017 lesson among other things and to say it unapologetically. Sometimes you don’t even have to say it. Sometimes you can just live it and let it be known internally that you’re done fucking around. No is freedom and power.

  • Really, really needed to hear those bits about not worrying about covering up acne and just embracing your natural face.

    http://euhemerist.com

  • Chelsea berchon

    What a beautiful collection of words! This one spoke to me in particular- “I think you have to be honest with yourself about attainable goals and take the time to acknowledge when you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Try to be self-aware enough to determine whether self-applied pressure is contributing to your unhappiness.” We have to be gentle with ourselves, this can only come through self awareness. of the outing!

    Chelsea | http://www.nootropedia.com

  • Brooke W

    Love these! I am all for soaking in the advice of other women. My favorites are below:
    “My life is mine” – Tracee Ellis Ross
    “I don’t want anything in my life to be more important than me” -Michelle Wolf
    “Be your own advocate” -Yvonne, my employers insurance person
    The first two, when taken together, might seem selfish. But personally, I need more women saying its okay to be selfish. We will be pulled and pushed in so many directions no matter what. I’ve found that the more I prioritize myself, my mental and physical health, my goals, the more I can give and receive from others — really listening, really communicating, making an impact, supporting people, inspiring people.
    I love this. Let’s blow the fucking lid off the female voice.

  • Ελευθερία

    “At the end of each day, I like to ask myself, ‘What did you learn today?’ If I have answers, then that day has been successful.”

    Starting from today, I’m doing this. this blew my mind immediately