Women's Folklore, Women's Culture

Women's Folklore, Women's Culture

Women's Folklore, Women's Culture

Women's Folklore, Women's Culture


The essays in Women's Folklore, Women's Culture focus on women performers of folklore and on women's genre of folklore. Long ignored, women's folklore is often collaborative and frequently is enacted in the privacy of the domestic sphere. This book provides insights balancing traditional folklore scholarship. All of the authors also explore the relationship between make and female views and worlds.

The book begins with the private world of women, performances within the intimacy of family and fields; it then studies women's folklore in the public arena; finally, the book looks at the interrelationships between public and private arenas and between male and female activities.

By turning our attention to previously ignored women's realms, these essays provide a new perspective from which to view human culture as a whole and make Women's Folklore, Women's Culture a significant addition to folklore scholarship


Until recently, folklorists have concentrated their efforts on performances that are characteristically male-oriented in that they are highly individualistic or competitive and take place in public or formalized arenas -- the pub, the street corner -- while ignoring folklore that is more collaborative and enacted in the privacy of the domestic sphere or as part of ordinary conversation. Consequently, such genres as personal experience narratives, popular beliefs, and various kinds of humor have often been dismissed as "minor genres" or, less formally, "old wives' tales" or "just gossip." In other words, genres and performance contexts that are especially characteristic of men have most interested folklorists as worthy of study, while folklore that flourishes within the private domain of women has been underrated and ignored. One term for this sort of bias is "sexism," defined by Bernard (1971:37) as the "unquestioned, unexamined, and unchallenged acceptance of the belief that the world as it looked to men was the only world, that the way of dealing with it that men had created was the only way, that the values men had evolved were the only ones...."

This volume has been assembled in an attempt to help change this lopsided orientation in folklore scholarship by giving attention to women performers and women's genres, which need to be examined along with the more frequently studied, often more public, forms of . . .

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