marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

jobs and work

Was reading a generally good book about historical fiction bloopers, but then the author got on how most poor women worked before marriage, and then looking after the household was enough. . . .

That's a dichotomy between work and housework that didn't occur throughout most of history.  Your typical woman worked as a daughter in her father's household until marriage, whereupon she worked in her husband's household -- if she were lucky, not under her mother-in-law's thumb -- doing much the same.  And if you were working for wages, it was probably in yet another woman's household, doing much the same.

Mind you, historically, the difference was also less because a lot of what you did was producing stuff that you might sell or might use yourself.  The woman brewed ale to sell as an alewife and to drink; milked cows and made cheese both to eat and to trade; raised hens and collected eggs. . . .

Often wildly inefficient, which is why we firmly split off jobs from the rest of the housework.  But it wasn't the dichotomy for much of history that it is today.
Tags: world-building: economics, world-building: food

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