Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet

Women in Proverbs from around the World

Mineke Schipper

View Inside Price: $65.00

April 10, 2004
432 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300102499

Out of Print

• A wife is like a blanket: cover yourself, it irritates you; cast it aside, you feel cold. (Ashanti, Ghana)
• The name of the father is the secret of the mother. (Creole, Jamaica)
• A woman who knows Latin will never find a husband nor come to a good end. (All over Europe)
• Wives and shoes are better when old. (Japanese)
In cultures all over the globe, sex and gender issues have been expressed in proverbs, the world’s smallest literary genre. This fascinating book provides revealing insights into the female condition across centuries and continents, as recorded in thousands of vivid and earthy proverbs about women.
Mineke Schipper analyzes similarities, differences, and contradictions in the cultural norms about gender expressed in proverbs she has found from over 150 countries. Grouping the sayings into such categories as the female body, love, sex, childbirth, and female power, she finds shared patterns in ideas about women (and how men see them). Part cross-cultural study, part literary criticism, and part anthology, her book is a unique and intriguing resource to dip into again and again.

Mineke Schipper is professor of intercultural literary studies at the University of Leiden.

“This is an entertaining, adroit examination of how far woman has come in man’s estimation, and how far she still has to go.”—Publishers Weekly

“A fine contribution to the cosmopolitan conversation that ought to come with globalization.”—K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton University

“Schipper’s prose is light, fast-paced and witty, and her analysis of what lies behind the proverbs is completely gripping.”—Vicki Woods, Daily Telegraph

“Enthralling, amusing and alarming in equal measures.”—Conscience