Mineke SchipperNever Marry a Woman with Big Feet

Universal ‘wisdom’ about women

This collection of more than 15.000 proverbs shows how cultures worldwide have developed proverbial ideas about being a man or a woman. As you will see, the site makes a wealth of data available and cross-cultural searching accessible and easy.

Proverbs provide us with an intriguing history of humanity, a history that has to do with all of us. Comparing proverbs in their bewildering views of men and women means building bridges across cultures. Many people believe that cultures are marked by differences, but we do share striking global resemblances in our proverbial thinking about girls, wives, mothers, mothers-in-law, widows, women’s work, women’s power, and so forth. Are such cross-cultural similarities in ideas, and even in images, just coincidental?

To answer that question, Mineke Schipper patiently collected, over the years, proverbs about women (but no less eloquent in messages about men). She studied the whole collection, and wrote a book about the topic (originally published by Yale UP in 2004) that has been translated all over the world.