Usually when I’m having my coffee on the sofa, I couldn’t be happier. Early in the morning, while my husband is sleeping, is the best time to read and reflect.
Except a few days ago during this quiet time, I emitted a spontaneous swear word.
I was reading a 90-year-old book written by Winifred S. Blackman. She was one of Britain’s first female anthropologists.
Blackman’s book, called “The Fellāhīn of Upper Egypt,” is based on her observations of remote Egyptian villagers who practiced every day magic. I’m writing about Ancient Egypt and magic, and maybe Ancient Egyptians felt the same way about spirits and magicians and spells.
Her book is well-researched and thoughtfully written.
You know when you’ve read a book and want to talk to the author? This is one of those times.
What made me spontaneously swear was the foreword in her book. It was written by some man from Oxford University. He wrote the “usefulness of the woman anthropologist” was because she is “sympathetic by nature.”
Wow. What gender-bias.
Even though this was written in 1927, it still shocked me. Because even back then, good scientists were logical. They’re trained to be non-emotional observers. Not “sympathetic.”
I wondered how Blackman felt reading the foreword in her book. Sure, it was good to have the prestigious stamp of someone from Oxford University.
But she didn’t need her credibility undermined.