Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Gender Differences are a Lie

Gender Differences are a Lie

More From Rita Mae

In this video

Brown argues that gender stereotypes are false and can be destructive, especially to heterosexual relationships.

Rita Mae's Biography

Favorite Saying: “Worse things have happened to nicer people.”
Advice to Young People: “Learn Latin. It is the basis of our culture [and] the undergirding of all that we do and are.”
Childhood Dream: To be a hunter.
Proudest  Accomplishment: Being able to lead her pack of fox hounds on the hunt.

Rita Mae Brown is an activist and author best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle. She has written thirteen literary novels, more than two-dozen mysteries and several books of poetry and non-fiction.
 
Brown was born in 1944 on a farm in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She briefly attended the University of Florida before being expelled (allegedly for her participation in the civil rights movement but more likely for being openly gay). In 1964, she hitchhiked to New York City and initially lived out of her car. She earned a scholarship to New York University, where she studied classics and became deeply involved in the civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights and anti-war movements.
 
Shortly after taking an administrative position at the National Organization for Women, Brown was forced to resign by founder Betty Freidan, who called Brown and other lesbians the “Lavender Menace,” fearing their participation would be used against the women’s movement by outsiders. Brown then became involved with the radical women’s liberation groups forming, which called for the inclusion of lesbians. In 1971, she co-founded The Furies, a lesbian-feminist women’s house and collective in Washington D.C. that published a monthly newspaper.
 
In 1973, Brown published Rubyfruit Jungle, a coming-of-age tale that shocked many at the time with its frank and explicit depictions of lesbianism. Despite having been published on a small label without a marketing budget, the book became a smash success and is now considered a classic. Brown has been writing novels, screenplays and essays ever since. Some of her notable publications include the 1983 novel Sudden Death, a fictionalized account of her relationship with the tennis star Martina Navratilova, and the Mrs. Murphy series of mysteries, which she “co-authors” with her cat, Sneaky Pie.

Related Videos

Emily May
Emily May
Harassment Avenger

Emily May is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York City-based Hollaback!, an organization which empowers women and LGBTQ folks with an empowered response to street hara...

Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton
Chef & Author

Gabrielle Hamilton is "not convinced that it is important to make a living at the thing that you aspire to," a perfect outlook for this chef & author. Initially aspir...

Katie Couric
Katie Couric
Network News Pioneer

Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist and TV personality whose time in the storied anchor chair of the CBS Evening News made her the first woman to serve as sole anchor of a ...

Alexa von Tobel
Alexa von Tobel
Personal Finance Expert

Alexa von Tobel is the Founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, the leading personal finance and lifestyle website for women, whose mission is to make trusted personal financial informati...