Posted by Lewis on March 06, 2003
In Reply to: Bare-foot and Pregnant posted by ESC on March 04, 2003
: : : Does any one know where the odious phrase "bare-foot and pregnant" originated? Thanks in advance for any information.
: : keep 'em bare foot and pregnant!
: : 'Semi-proverbial recipe for marital happiness ... [an example of] masculine callousness towards women -- now, happily, all but extincty' (Robert Claibone, 1978): since c. 1915.
: : _A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, Second Edition_ by Eric Partridge & Paul Beale
: : BAREFOOT & PREGNANT AWARD
: : An "award" given by the Media Evaluation Committee of the National Organization "for advertising degrading to women.
: : _A Feminist Dictionary_ by Cheris Kramarae & Paula A. Treichler
Women of the Ozarks traditionally have been described by a common and unflattering
stereotype that they are ignorant, barefoot, and pregnant. This stereotype has
always caused me, a native Ozarks woman, to become angry with those who endorse
this stereotype. Ozarks women today have many opportunities for receiving quality
education past elementary or secondary school; they have adequate money to buy
shoes; and they usually have small to medium-sized families. Why, then, did this
stereotype come into existence? Although it does not characterize Ozarks women
of 1987, this stereotype did in fact characterize the women of the Ozarks in the
past. In the early 1900s and throughout the mid-to late iBOOs, women in the Ozarks
received minimal schooling, could not afford shoes for their children, and usually
had at least eight children.
: : Ruth I. Newman, "Ozarks Women: Ignorant, Barefoot, and Pregnant?" at
: : http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/periodicals/wrv/V9/N8/s87c.htm
: _Barefoot And Pregnant_ is a phrase that pokes fun at chauvinists who want their
women barefoot (so that they are unable to socialise) and pregnant (helpless).
Supposedly caring men mouth the phrase in different words. The title was in this
context. It was also meant to provoke.
: : Review of Shinine Antony's _Barefoot And Pregnant_ in _The Tribune_, December 22, 2002
: I never saw grown pregnant women without shoes in public. At home, maybe. As a former pregnant person, I can tell you that pregnancy makes your feet swell. So going shoeless is more comfortable. Country children would go shoeless in the summer. Wading in the creek, playing in mud puddles, etc., is better sans shoes. Most grownups did wear shoes though.
What a gentle twist that was, ESC!
I've only heard it in the context of repressing women - 'barefoot' so they are too poor to run away and 'pregnant' to demonstrate the virility of the man and their own weakness/dependency upon him.