What would a fish do with a Bicycle

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A woman needs a man
Like a fish needs a bicycle
When you’re tryin to throw your arms around the world

Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World – U2


I like this lyric for some reason (it’s so oddly stupid that it’s endearing – Bono is good at those), but really I have little idea what it means.

Do fish need bicycles? – I can’t imagine that’s their first worldly concern. This living in the sea is ok but life would rock if I only had a bicycle.

How would a fish peddle a bicycle? I suppose you’d have to invent a bicycle meant for fish. I wonder if Bono hasĀ visualized Ā one? Would they bike underwater because if they want to come up on dry land, the fish bicycle is going to have to deal with the whole oxygen issue.

So I’m not really sure, – how much does a woman need a man? Sort of sounds like Bono thinks not very much.

Wow, I just found out that it’s not Bono’s it’s a famous quote – color me ignorant. If I decide that fish could use bicycles does it make me anti-feminist?

Meaning

A feminist slogan, suggesting that men are superfluous to women’s needs.

Origin

fish-bicycleThis slogan is often attributed to Gloria Steinem. Other claims for origination point to Flo (Florynce) Kennedy, or to an anonymous author who painted the slogan on a wall at University of Wisconsin in 1969.

Gloria Steinem had this to say in a letter she wrote to Time magazine in autumn 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.”

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