American Proverbs about Women: A Reference Guide

American Proverbs about Women: A Reference Guide

American Proverbs about Women: A Reference Guide

American Proverbs about Women: A Reference Guide

Synopsis

Proverbs supposedly contain the wisdom of the common folk--eternal truths to be passed down through the ages. Yet, like many traditions and cultural practices, proverbs often promote misleading stereotypes of women. This reference book collects more than 800 American proverbs about women and analyzes their significance.

Excerpt

The title of this reference work, American Proverbs About Women, while seemingly simple, actually requires the discussion of a number of different areas in order to be understood. Before a collection of American proverbs about women can be presented, the broader category of folklore must be examined in terms of what it is and its historical relationship to women. Then it can be determined how proverbs are unique among folklore genres in their impact. From there, what is American and how American proverbs view women can be identified.

First of all, the subject of folklore as a whole should be considered. Often called the [voice of the folk,] folklore is an oral tradition in songs, stories, myths, legends, riddles, rhymes, jokes, games, sayings, and more, but it is also dances, crafts, epitaphs, and the like. Folklore is the customs, beliefs, and practices of a people and, therefore, an expression of its culture. Jan Harold Brunvand, in The Study of American Folklore: An Introduction, said that folklore reveals [the common life of the human mind apart from what is contained in the formal records of culture that compose the heritage of a people.] As a result, folklore is an important indicator of a people's way of life and attitudes.

Until recent times, the study of folklore has largely excluded women. Whether this neglect resulted from the preponderance of male folklorists and anthropologists who failed to be sensitive to the possibility of another viewpoint or from the less personal but more pervasive bias of a male-dominated world, the consequence has been an invisibility of women in the picture of civilization's progress. Although the Journal of American Folklore published a bibliography of women's folklore as early as 1888, folklore scholarship pertaining to women has been minimal and . . .

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