Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 11:57:52 -0500

From: Michael Linn mlinn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]D.UMN.EDU

Subject: the origin of "Barefoot and Pregnant

If you check your sources you will find that this invidious phrase has

its origin in the late Middle Ages or, more likely, the early

rennaisance. It was advice to a husband to prevent is wife from

having an affair with other men. If she was barefoot in the winter she

would be confined to the house and supposedly not be able to meet her

lover and if she were pregnant in the summer she would supposedly not be

interested. Sexism and control has been around for a long time.

On Wed, 11 Sep 1996, Undetermined origin c/o LISTSERV maintainer wrote:

It seems to me that, contrary to what David Johns suggests, that

"barefoot" would be an even better way of keeping someone under

control in the north than in the south. Just think, for a

moment: if someone stole your shoes in January, would you rather

be in Georgia or New Hampshire?

On the other hand, maybe the "barefoot" part has less to do with

not owning shoes than with feet swelling in pregnancy, something

"ladylike" shoes don't accommodate well. In other words, maybe

someone noticed that pregnant women are likely to take their

shoes off indoors, even in situations where other women would

consider it improper.

This speculation is a lot of fun, but I'm starting to wish for

some more data on the distribution of the phrase.

Vicki Rosenzweig

vr%acmcr.uucp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] | rosenzweig[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

New York, NY