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Bare-foot and Pregnant

Posted by Masakim on March 03, 2003

In Reply to: Bare-foot and Pregnant posted by S. on March 03, 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

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

_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