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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:43 pm 
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(but not that homebrew)

An article by Kathy Benjamin titled "6 Terrible Stereotypes (That Came From Positive Things)" went up today on Cracked. Item #6 is about witch stereotypes, and it mostly retreads an article by Jane Peyton in Stylist titled "Women and beer: a pocket history".

In medieval Europe, drinking water was of poor quality. So while the men were out doing other things, the women would brew beer to drink. This needs a big black kettle, a cat to scare away vermin, a wooden pole with twigs at the end to denote "beer served here" in an era of illiteracy, and occasionally a tall hat to be seen in the crowd when selling the product. The surname Brewster originally meant "woman who makes beer".

But in the 14th century, men wanted in on the alcohol market. So they got all sexist, reinterpreting the signs of a brewer as signs of witchcraft.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:36 pm 
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A lot of people sure see old console homebrew software as witchcraftery, but still accept it to be able to avoid the staleness of the official "brew" from 30 years ago. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:50 pm 
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But in the 14th century, men wanted in on the alcohol market. So they got all sexist, reinterpreting the signs of a brewer as signs of witchcraft.


And not just brewing beer, but the practice of medicine had the same story - once the women who started making a buck on it, men sought to take over the trade and witchcraft accusations ensued.

There's one odd thing about riding the broomstick though - many folk stories depict the riding equipment to be a fire poker rather than a broom, and the exact procedure for flying out the chimney is a little more burlesque than just straddling it. I suppose this is old folk humor. I don't know if the broomstick version of flying is as old as these accusations of witchcraft or if it's maybe a victorian revision of the stories that takes a common description and layers it on top of another.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:43 pm 
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This is an interesting story. Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:15 am 
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tepples wrote:
The surname Brewster originally meant "woman who makes beer".

But in the 14th century, men wanted in on the alcohol market. So they got all sexist, reinterpreting the signs of a brewer as signs of witchcraft.


Coincidentally, "witch" in Spanish is the similar-sounding "bruja". The actual etymology of it is pretty unclear, though, and it doesn't resemble the equivalent word in any other Romance languages that I'm familiar with.


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