Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 07:07:10 -0400


Subject: Re: oh those ignorant southerners . . .

Ron Butters wrote:

Speaking as one who lived the first 27 years of his life in the midwest and

the next 27 in North Carolina, I fail to understand why one should assume

that because a phrase conveys a sense of male oppression of women then that

phrase is most likely to have originated in "Southern" or "Appalachian"

culture. And speaking as one who has had a good deal of social interaction

with both the "lower socioeconomic classes" and the nonlower "socioeconomic

classes," I fail to understand why it is valid to assume that male oppression

of females must "certainly" originate in the "lower" orders, among all those

blue collars, dirt farmers, and black laborers.


Both regional bigotry and classist (or is it racist?) assumption-making are

every bit as ignorant and harmful as the sexist sentiments betrayed by a

phrase such as "barefoot and pregnant."

Ron is either planting his tongue firmly in one or another cheek,

or he did not read my original post. There is not a single word in it that

indicates I thought the origin was Southern because it conveyed a sense of

male oppression. I did not assume male oppression must "certainly"

originate with the "lower" orders. I said I thought the phrase had a

southern Appalachian origin, without giving, or hinting at, any reason. In

fact, I drew my conclusion in large part from my father, who grew up in the

hills of Kentucky, in a shack, and who heard the expression frequently from

the late 1920s through the early 1940s, when he left to join the army. He

heard it far less frequently in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic, but

found it fairly common in east Texas in the late 40s. My own, more limited

experience, was that it was fairly common among coal miners in West

Virginia in the 1970s (I was a reporter covering labor and union issues

there), and far less common in the mid-Atlantic, at least in middle class

neighborhoods (where I mostly grew up). I also did not say anything to

suggest that sexism, classism, and other isms are not prevalent everywhere.

I merely suggested that this phrase, and only this phrase, might have

orginated in the south. Any other interpretation is hysterical.

Rick Blom


Bel Air, Maryland