Every Witch Stereotype Comes From Women Working A Cool Job
Picture your favorite witch. Unless you went with '90s Sabrina, you're probably picturing an old woman wearing all black, with a pointy hat, a broom, and maybe hovering over a black kettle. You might have a cat in the mix as well. Everything you pictured was a relic of a kind of cool minute in history when women could earn a living doing a very specific job: brewing beer.
Medieval people who didn't know jack about how the Universe worked, how to read, or why someone should invent toilet paper as soon as possible understood at least one thing us sophisticated modern types can agree with: Their drinking water was garbage. Which was why some of them skipped water altogether and drank beer instead. In a world in which hunting, warring, whoring, and maybe cobbling (?) took up most of the day, men didn't have time to wait near a kettle to make their own beer. So the brewers were usually (pause for dramatic effect) ... women.
You could find them if you knew the right signs. Usually she'd be near a big black kettle. And she'd have a cat to keep all the barley-eating vermin at bay. She'd also have an ale stake, which they were required by law to display. What's an ale stake? A long wooden pole with a bunch of twigs at the end, like a broom. And if you were out and about at the market, you could look for the big black pointy hat they wore to stand out while selling their brewskies at market. Sound familiar yet?
David LogganThe green skin thing may have been from a hangover.
But everything started to change for lady brewers in the 1300s. Men suddenly decided that they wanted in on the rising alcohol market, which meant women had to move their asses out of the way. And when they refused? Well, there was a certain medieval saying about smart, strong-headed women: witch! She's a witch! Burn the witch!
Suddenly, now that it suited the men, the tall hat became the witch's evil uniform, and the barley-protecting cat a "familiar" given to her by Satan. And the broomstick? She obviously rode it to go to her secret devil meetings. And that boiling brew wasn't beer anymore, but some sort of evil drink that would make you go all weird -- you know, unlike beer. By the 14th century, people had been poisoned (ironically) against the idea of female homebrewers, right in time for large-scale breweries to take over. And so today, super annoying guys will make sure you know all about their latest microbrew, not realizing their shitty hobby got women burned at the stake.
"Dumb Blondes" Was Accidentally Birthed By The Suffrage Movement
Once upon a time, a troupe of blonde performing women arrived in New York from Great Britain. They set up shop doing a burlesque performance and made obscene amounts of money. The end. Except that the particular time this story was in was 1868, so a lot of sexist bullshit then occurred.
When we say these blonde women performed burlesque, it wasn't burlesque as we think of it today, which is basically stripping with better music and nipple tassels. No, this was the extremely-risque-for-its-time burlesque, wherein women put on a play while showing their legs! Legs covered in thick tights, like they're some kind of comfortably warm harlots. Some of them even dressed like men. The nerve! Being a living, breathing woman would have been enough for most misogynists at the time, but add in the sexy prancing, the cross-dressing, and the fact that these British immigrants were taking indecent American jobs, and you have massive outrage on your hands.
Via Musicals101.com"Is that a dog dressed as a lamb?! Will these loose women stop at nothing?!"