Katharine Hepburn on Men and Women
Interview with Katharine Hepburn
Conducted by James Grissom
Question: You are often cited as a model of a liberated woman. Do you accept that title? And what is a liberated woman to you?
Answer: If I'm liberated it's because I've been so damned lucky that I don't have to operate under the limitations or the stupidity of anyone, male or female. Listen, men and woman are not alike in so many ways, and we have to accept that. Now, we should be saying that our differences add so much to the flavor or life and experience, but we've decided--stupidly and dangerously--to pitch our differences as some sort of war. We don't glorify our differences--we penalize them.
I'm a threat to some men because I make a living and have a life and I come and go as I please. It is assumed that I can live my life without men, which is asinine: I have to be approved by men all the time to work, to buy things, whatever. But this assumption, false though it may be, enrages a lot of men, who think I'm some horrible suffragette or lesbian or threat to the home.
I just don't take their guff, you see. I just do that smile, that Eleanor Roosevelt smile I mastered, and I do what I want. Let them think they pushed me toward their truth. I don't care, but I'm going to live and love as I choose.
I'm lucky. Can't get around that. I've made money and I've worked as I wanted, and what I have to do, and what we all must do, is help other women who aren't as lucky as I've been. Give them opportunities; give them money; give them freedom. We have to back each other up.
I don't think that the differences and the stupid wars are going to entirely go away. Hell, they may not even change at all. What will change, I think, is that we--women and men--who understand the richness of women, the value of women, the history of women--will stand as a group behind and beside them and see them through to do the things I know they can.
It's a fight, a stance, a movement, a position, but it's constant. It's not something you sign on to for a weekend or a month. It's lifelong.
© 2018 James Grissom