Thelema, NOW! producer Soror Amy suggested I post about this “Letter Of Recommendation” from a recent NY Times Sunday magazine – discussing how information and skills passed down orally by women have been repeatedly discounted by men as they formalize professions to deal with services previously provided by women. An excerpt reads:
‘The imagined divide between “legitimate” knowledge and the stories of women is archaic, older even than the King James Bible, in which Paul advises Timothy to “refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” But the phrase “old wives’ tales” became popular in America in the 19th century, when a nascent medical establishment decided it would dismantle and replace female lay-healing traditions. Midwives, many of them older Black and immigrant women, were the final holdouts in this takeover. They were so thoroughly disparaged by male obstetricians that midwifery was essentially outlawed in the United States.
‘The physicians condemned the midwives in the name of science. These “old wives,” who educated one another in the evidence of their experience and rarely wrote anything down, were accused of trading scraps of hearsay, a damning indictment. For what could possibly be less credible than a story told by a woman?’