An image of the author, Virginia Woolf

Hey, Lady – Prostitution is not the only option

I love the line, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” It comes from Virginia Woolf’s essay titled A Room of One’s Own and is a powerful reminder that when we’re starving for basic needs like food and shelter, it’s hard to produce great work, have healthy relationships, and take care of ourselves. When we’re treated like rabid animals, we lose sight of our value.

Woolf wanted women to have an equal seat at the table with their male counterparts. She was frustrated that women we thought incapable of substantive thought, that their only purpose was to dress up, enjoy polite conversation, and raise the children.

Thankfully, the world has changed. My wife is a great example in that she’s a successful mother of four, a college professor, an operating room nurse, and a Ph.D. The woman is an inspiration.

But then I wonder if things have changed.

I signed up for an X account (formally Twitter) yesterday to post threads about great books. Within four hours of creating the account, I had a new follower – it was an “adult” account suggesting I could get some pretty raunchy DM’s if I so pleased.

I don’t so please.

It makes me angry that so many women still think their only value to the world is their bodies. If they were to read Virginia Woolf’s passionate words, would they begin to see their value? It reminds me of Frederick Douglass, an American slave who, in the early 19th century, illegally taught himself to read and write. He discovered his worth in the books he read which gave him the courage to escape slavery, travel north, befriend The President of the United States, and become one of the country’s greatest orators.

I don’t mean to treat the situation lightly. I understand that many women are born into difficult situations and are simply trying to survive. That’s why I find Frederick Douglass’s account so inspiring. He was born “worthless”, nothing more than property to be whipped. And yet he learned the truth. If reading could change a slave’s life so profoundly that he becomes one of the most important historical figures of all time, what would happen if these young women spent a few hours reading Virginia Woolf?

I can only dream that I would find fewer perverts lurking on X, or Twitter, or whatever you want to call it. Excuse me, while I return to this fantastic essay by Mrs. Woolf.


Reading can change our lives in profound ways. Yesterday, I wrote about how it can help us with mental illness. If you’re interested, you can read that article here.

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