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Old 02-02-2003, 04:53 AM   #1
doug*platypus
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Shield Are You an Ent or an Entwife?

JRR Tolkien never expected to find Ents, or Fangorn Forest, when he first set out to write the Lord of the Rings. They were one of those things that just popped up along the way, as he plodded along linearly with his characters. But once they had turned up, as explained in Letters of JRR Tolkien, he used the Ents and the Entwives to portray the different attitudes of men and women towards nature.

Men, he contended, were like the Ents content to let nature take its own course. For them the virtue was in appreciating what grew in the wild, as being something of value in itself. Women, however, he saw as great gardeners, who desired to control all things green, and so did the Entwives become.

For a long time, I refused to believe there were such differences of temperament between men and women, considering such thinking sexist and possibly demeaning for one side or the other. Now that I am older, and yes even a little wiser, I realise that there are astonishing differences between the genders, not just physically (which I have known for quite a while!). While I am still a believer in universal sufferage, and am proud to come from the first country to give women the vote, I admit that there are certain differences which stem from either physiology or environment.

I am a male (as I hope my moniker suggests), and I am most definitely an Ent. Not long after I took up tramping (most of you would call it hiking) I came to realise that the order that gardens try to impose on plants is a shallow mockery of the real order of natural ecosystems, something so complex that it is still not fully understood by humans, let alone replicated. To me, nature is more beautiful, more orderly and more full of life than any garden could ever hope to be. But many women I know (my mother, my grandmother, my girlfriend and her mother as examples) are avid gardeners, who would rather go to a flower show than set foot in a national park.

Are you an Ent or an Entwife?
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Old 02-02-2003, 05:30 AM   #2
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I am a woman..and most definitly NOT an entwife..you can't always assume woman are going to think like that.
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Old 02-02-2003, 05:49 AM   #3
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I'm most certainly an Ent, nature should grow, and be allowed to grow, freely without human interference.
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Old 02-02-2003, 05:58 AM   #4
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I think a mix of both is best.
The Entwives were very useful - they brought the science of agriculture to humanity. But of course nature also needs space to flourish.

Incidently while I am female I have not the slightest idea of gardening whereas my other half does. And Tolkien was not as rigid in his gender stereotyping as you think - Sam and his father were prodigious gardeners.
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:08 AM   #5
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White-Hand

There are great differences between the sexes......but not in gardening!! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Some of the most "anal retentive" gardeners I have known have been males. "Square Foot" gardening comes to my mind. This guy wrote a book about gardening in STRAIGHT LINES only! [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]. The only people I have met who have tried this have been men. They have loved it, and get all bent out of shape if you try to suggest a few flowers in their perfectly straight vegetable patch.

My father-in-law is a total freak about staking and pinching tomatoes (I prefer to mulch them heavily with straw and let them grow however they wish). He also doesn't like mulch in his vegetable garden. "Too messy!" [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] He prefers to roto-till up and down the straight rows weekly! [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] ugh!

I have large gardens full of rambling paths, some trees the birds planted, half hardy annuals that have sown themselves, huge drifts of flowers that have made their own boundaries, and if something does poorly, I let it die. (versus trying to "chemical" it back to life) Don't tell me men are free form and women cultivated! Noooooooo!! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
I think it's more of a "do you veiw growing as a tame the wilderness, food production deal", (like the farmers in my area, gah! they are horrible, spray it and kill it if it's not my corn or soybeans!) or "do you veiw gardening as an artistic endeavor", like I do. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]

[ February 02, 2003: Message edited by: Liriodendron ]
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Old 02-02-2003, 10:45 AM   #6
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Oh, both have their places. I'm grateful for the farmers and their straight line form to grow only vegetables. I am impressed with the dedication of gardeners and their prestine flowerbeds of certain plants and landscaping.
I also enjoy woods and forests with their untamed beauty and how nature just takes care of itself.
I live in the woods but have potted plants, so what does that make me?
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Old 02-02-2003, 11:42 AM   #7
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I am a very lazy Ent. Let nature take its course is what I say.
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Old 02-02-2003, 02:41 PM   #8
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I would have to say that I am an ent, because I always let nature take its course (especially in gardening, which I am terrible at)
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:26 PM   #9
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Once or twice I tried to garden, but it didn't work out. I forgot about it and the plants died, or the plants died so I forgot about it. That sort of thing is so tedious, and I much prefer to pick wildflowers. I envy people with woods in their backyards, the best I get are a few dandelions (though they are my favorite flower.) I am most definitely an ent, old trees are some of the most facinating things ever, don't you agree?
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:43 PM   #10
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I always forget to water the plants. Or I'm too lazy to weed. You always find more life in free-growing gardens, the brambles in mine are full of birds and rabbits, and they give good blackberries every autumn. I'd be an Ent.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:31 PM   #11
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I would definitely be an Ent (even though I am female.)
I've never be a fan of gardens. I mean, vegetable gardens and such are necessary, but just flower gardens, they just don't look natural. All those different types of flowers wouldn't all grow together like that. I like things left the way they are, growing in the wild.
Hope I make some sense....
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:49 PM   #12
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This opinion topic has been moved to the Novices and Newcomers forum. Please continue the discussion there.
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Old 02-02-2003, 06:06 PM   #13
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I think that my wife and I must be lapsed Entwives - we would like to keep our garden ordered, but the Entings have put paid to that ... !
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Old 02-02-2003, 07:01 PM   #14
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I would be an Ent. I remember one time I was Hiking through the forest behind our house, and i came to a clearing. No trees in the clearing, just wild grasses. I looked up and saw the blue sky with just a few puffs of clouds in it. Just then this Falcon flew over and let out its call.
After that I have always thought it was better for nature to run its own course.
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Old 02-03-2003, 06:05 PM   #15
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My mother and her sister definitely love to garden. They have all kinds of vegetables, flowers, and fruits in their gardens. I'm not sure whether or not I will have one when I get older, because I must say I consider myself more an Ent than an Entwife.

I could sit and watch nature all day. I love going on hikes, walking through fields, sitting under and in trees, watching sunrises and sunsets, running in the fog, gazing at the stars, etc...I guess you pretty much get the idea now.

However, even though I do think that nature should be allowed to grow without bounds at times, I do realize the need for mankind to cultivate food. We were set upon this earth and the earth has been given to us. We eat from the land, and in turn, we musn't abuse that privilege or the land. Well, this is turning into a bit of a bizarre rant, so I'll just wrap it up and say that I'm more an Ent than an Entwife, although I understand the point of view of an Entwife!
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Old 02-03-2003, 08:24 PM   #16
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I'd be an Ent; more than content to let nature run its course so to speak.
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Old 02-03-2003, 08:49 PM   #17
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Tolkien

im like some people somewhere ion bettween but mostl;y an ent. i think nature would be more bueatiful if we sit back and watch it grow but still add things for are liking because it makes the world more bueatiful tohave a little bit of everthing and then nature. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 02-03-2003, 08:49 PM   #18
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I'm an entish entwife. When nature runs it's course, there seems to be lots of poison ivy, thistles, pig weed, brambles! [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img] I don't like too much "order" in the garden though.

[ February 03, 2003: Message edited by: Liriodendron ]
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Old 02-04-2003, 12:55 AM   #19
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Ent. definitely an Ent. I love being surrounded by foliage, and the feeling I get from climbing in a tree and peering out from the sea of branches and leaves is just devine. I will admit that the Entwives had a point, that there needs to be a strong hand shaping a garden, but it seemed to me they had it in mind that all of nature should be organised to fit their use. Orderly gardens are one thing, and I'll even try to tolerate orchards, though I get the distict impression that the trees are just humoring the human gardners sometimes.

HmmHooom-Hom. Definitly Entish.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Men, he contended, were like the Ents content to let nature take its own course. For them the virtue was in appreciating what grew in the wild, as being something of value in itself. Women, however, he saw as great gardeners, who desired to control all things green, and so did the Entwives become.
Interesting, considering the fact that the world is 'controlled' by men [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img].

Sorry, I am not a big fan of generalizations to begin with. But there might be something there. Perhaps when I'm older I'll see it too.

As for the original question, hmmm... I don't know. On one hand, I am an ent- I let things happen, instead of making them happen. I am fascinated by nature and the way it evolves without human interference. I respect nature. But I'm also an entwife in that I believe in using the 'free will' we were blessed with, to cultivate the mind, for the progress of humanity. I am all for using the tools we were given to make our world a better one. But I don’t see these things having anything to do with gender...

I think I've strayed far beyond gardening here, sorry. If I have to label myself, perhaps I am a passive-aggressive Balrogwife. Heheehee... I don't know. I need to consult my therapist.

[ February 04, 2003: Message edited by: propagandalf ]
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:59 PM   #21
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----------------------------------------
I'm most certainly an Ent, nature should grow, and be allowed to grow, freely without human interference.
---------------------------------------
Jurion

Sorry, i dont really know how to quote. I am most certainly an Ent (although I'm female). When I read what Jurion wrote. The first thing that popped in my mind was "Dat is een Nederlander" and, jazeker, you are one. I would like to say something about that. "Nature should be allowed to grow without human interference" Where would humans be without "interfering". We wouldn't have wood to build out houses, transportation would take a lot longer because there wouldnt be many roads, where would we grow our crops if we couldn't chop down woodland to do so????? All things you have to think about. We shouldn't interfere (spelling?????) too much, but it is just impossible to interfere not at all. So, I guess I'm a little Entwife and Ent, though i'd much rather go hiking for a day then gardening!

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 02-04-2003, 10:05 PM   #22
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All of us Ents should remember that we still like our hamburgers, TV and cars.
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Old 02-05-2003, 05:32 AM   #23
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1420!

True, we are all humans (please let me make at least this generalisation!), and not Ents or Entwives. They seem to have not only had no desire for technology, but also no need for it. They didn't even need clothes!

Thanks to all, it's been interesting to see people post their own personal views, especially when they also point out if they are male or female to test the theory! I'd have to say that human history could have done with a few more Ents than Entwives. I'm pretty sure I know which category Tolkien placed himself in (maybe the reason why Entwives are portrayed less favourably, or why he had them destroyed!).
Quote:
When nature runs it's course, there seems to be lots of poison ivy, thistles, pig weed, brambles!
Only in the case of regrowth. If you look at a piece of land that has always been native (easy for me to say, I live in Aotearoa/New Zealand), pests like these (as well as gorse and broom, here at least) are either under control or non-existent. Regrowth can't achieve in a few years a complexity that has taken more than hundreds to develop, without an Ent or two to help out with replanting.
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Old 02-05-2003, 10:46 AM   #24
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Hmmmm, regrowth is terrible, I agree! We have 15 acres of farmland. I have converted a good two or three acres of "no till corn stubble" into gardens Sam Gamgee would enjoy. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] (I've planted over 100 trees, so the ents are pleased!) Keeping the weeds out is an EXTREME challenge, because the farm land was LOADED with weed seeds! [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] But down by the creek, which is uncultivated and full of old trees,the native plants (some would call these weeds) grow so high and dense in the summer, you "Can Not Pass!" [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

The best time (in Indiana) to "walk the land", is in the dead of winter. The weeds have died back, the mosquitos gone, you can even walk on the frozen creek on very cold days! This is my favorite, it's like having a beautiful new (slippery!) path made for you. (The birds plant poisen ivy everywhere though [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] )

There must be some Entwife, (IMO) or you will not be able to walk anywhere! I don't see the entwives as "destroyers" of the natural order, more like gentle cultivators, trying to adapt the natural world so that people can interact with it, and enjoy it more. I thought Saruman and his "industrialzation machinery" were the evil villians of the natural way of the Ents.

I don't think Indiana (my state) has hardly any original prairie left, so I can only imagine the pristine beauty! I like a beautiful garden that highlights the beauty of the natural world, yet allows me the space to bring my iced tea, cats, chaise lounge, and windchimes on a lovely summer day. It seems like hobbits had the most entwife in them. They loved growing things, and well ordered gardens! Perhaps there was a little EW blood in there! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ February 05, 2003: Message edited by: Liriodendron ]
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Old 02-05-2003, 11:43 AM   #25
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i am too short to be either... im either a dwarf or a hobbit!

seriously, im not too sure what i am... i like to let nature run its own course, and (though ive nevwer seen them) love open savannas and rainforests. this would classify me as an ent.

but (though i am male) i also appreciate order, and as the greatest species on earth (since the elves went west) we should have the power and be allowed to run it.

have you noticed how the ents semmed to be into animals too? they know all the "ancient lists" with all the animals names on them. so they appreciate animals. and so do i, so i think im more of an ent than an entwife. unless they like animals too. and what exactly happened to them? where did they go?
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Old 02-05-2003, 03:49 PM   #26
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Quote:
we should have the power and be allowed to run it.
We do and we are ... and look what a mess we're making of it.
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Last edited by The Saucepan Man; 12-14-2004 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Tidying ... so that makes me an Entwife, right?
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Old 02-06-2003, 03:48 PM   #27
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I am male, so I am probably an Ent (there aren't too many feminie qualities about me) I used to garden but got tired of deer and groundhogs haveing a feast there. I like everything chaotic (providing I have a sword or machine gun handy (which i don't often)).
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:38 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith
Tolkien was not as rigid in his gender stereotyping as you think - Sam and his father were prodigious gardeners.
A good point I think. Men are just as picky about gardening as women. But on the other hand; historically it has often been the woman's job to prepare meals and gather the supplies for such activities--and for this a garden was created. So it is not so much the female inclination to cultivate, it's more of a desire to be able to feed one's family. And of course this chore was reserved for women, or at least the non-meat part of it.
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:46 AM   #29
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Thanks for exhuming this thread, Laurinquė! Nice topic, and some interesting answers there.
For personal reasons, I was very amused when I saw the thread title. As at least the more regular WW players among you have gathered by now, I'm male despite my misleading screen name, and a typical Ent, plus married to a typical Entwife*. It's not that I can't appreciate a beautiful garden, but I'll prefer a hike in the woods to an afternoon of gardening anytime, and shopping tours in gardening centers bore me to death; quite the opposite for her. A few years ago, when we were talking about this difference in character between us, I quoted Treebeard's song to her, and 'Ent' and 'Entwife' have since become our standing metaphors for it.
But I also have to agree with Lalaith that the difference runs across genders. It was a male friend of my wife, and a passionate gardener, who coined the winged word 'Nature is hideous' (nowadays quoted whenever our dogs have done something naughty or something's gone bad in the fridge), and we also have a female friend who's at least as Entish in this respect as me.
*On second thought, maybe not quite as typical, since tgwbs brought up the point that Ents were into animals too. At the moment, the kelvar we keep in our garden (two Ouessant sheep, four runner ducks and a varying number of chicken) have reduced the olvar to a point where it doesn't really look much like a garden anymore; Mrs Pitch doesn't seem to mind that a lot, whereas I keep telling her we should reduce the animal population a bit, at least until the grass has had a chance to grow back, if it ever will...
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #30
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Hoommmmmmm......

I am androgynous, I'm afraid. I'm a female who was raised like a male (my mother found it more convenient that way, because there were three kids born in just over three years, the first two were boys, and as I was last, it was easiest just to treat me like one of the boys. No wonder I'm in therapy for things my mother did...). And as I am now a grown woman who never "learned her place" properly (I shake hands like a guy, I speak my mind like a guy, I blow my top like a guy [meaning I'll go for a punch in the nose over the traditionally feminine versions of venting anger -- though I don't do that these days ]), I am both Ent and Entwife. I have always enjoyed a good hike in the woods and fields, but I also enjoy gardening. Each has its place.
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:30 PM   #31
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Heh. I'm more of an Entwife. I love hiking, but prefer paths that non-chaotic. Actually, my favorite hiking trails are over rock fields and paths that were made to be easy to walk over. Not much of an Ent.

I don't like gardening simply because I don't like getting dirty - especially when you get dirt under your nails and can't get it out. I like things to be just so, though, and if it weren't for the pesky dirt I would garden.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:35 PM   #32
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What is the Entish for "heshe"?

Becaue that's what I think I am. I prefer hiking to gardening, but that's not the point. Sometimes I like to take things into hand, make them the way I want them to be. But sometimes I just let them go the way they are going. Some people say I'm too passive (they should say too lazy...), and others say I have to rule the world to be satisfied with how it works.

Just as a side note, they say that if you don't fit in with the world, the wise thing to do is to adapt to the world. Yet some people adapt the world to themselves, thus driving the evolution of knowledge and technology. Our world is here because stubborn, stupid people.

Now where was I going with that? Oh yeah. Entwives win!


But I still am probably more of an Ent...
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:26 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by doug*platypus View Post
To me, nature is more beautiful, more orderly and more full of life than any garden could ever hope to be. But many women I know (my mother, my grandmother, my girlfriend and her mother as examples) are avid gardeners, who would rather go to a flower show than set foot in a national park.

Are you an Ent or an Entwife?
Funny. Many women I know prefer nature as it is. I suppose this is one of those cases where we already have a certain attitude towards a gender, and when we see even a teensy bit of evidence, we generalise. So perhaps if I have heard something like 'Men are more aggressive than women', and see a man bashing a car the next day, I would go, "Hey, maybe these gender biases are right!"

Either way, in answer to your question, I like both. I feel both have a beauty. It's like choosing between a real landscape and an abstract painting. Certainly you will offend the artist by saying you prefer the former! But art, I feel, is both a manifestation and an imitation of nature, and that certainly includes gardening!
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:27 PM   #34
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A good point I think. Men are just as picky about gardening as women. But on the other hand; historically it has often been the woman's job to prepare meals and gather the supplies for such activities--and for this a garden was created. So it is not so much the female inclination to cultivate, it's more of a desire to be able to feed one's family. And of course this chore was reserved for women, or at least the non-meat part of it.
Never knew that! I always thought gardens were created for simple beauty! Oh well, you learn something new every day.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:19 PM   #35
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Never knew that! I always thought gardens were created for simple beauty! Oh well, you learn something new every day.
Well, some gardens are just for beauty's sake. Others are used for growing fruits and berries. I have seen many of those that also have a vegetable patch attached to them.


However, I always thought that the stereotype was that men were the ones that cared about providing food for the family. They went to get money, they worked on the fields... Though gardens are more "womanly/ladylike" than fields.... I don't know. Often you even have conflcting stereotypes.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:47 AM   #36
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Though gardens are more "womanly/ladylike" than fields.... I don't know. Often you even have conflcting stereotypes.
Haha, I never thought of gardens and fields as pertaining to or having a particular gender Why do you say gardens are ladylike?
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:13 PM   #37
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Haha, I never thought of gardens and fields as pertaining to or having a particular gender Why do you say gardens are ladylike?
I don't know. It's kinda like, while men work far off in the fields women weed the vegetable patch. Men also tended gardens, sure, but usually if the man had other work the garden/patch fell on the woman's shoulders.

Or at least that's how I see it.

In different places in ME it would be different. In the Shire there's enough food so that men tend to the gardens. In Gondor - men are needed to fight, so it's the women's job. In places like Rivendell we don't even know where the food comes from.

It all depends.

I might view it a certain way because I have a very confused / mixed-cultured understanding of all this. Someone else, who read slightly different books or spoke to different people, might see it as the opposite.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:22 AM   #38
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[QUOTE]
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I don't know. It's kinda like, while men work far off in the fields women weed the vegetable patch. Men also tended gardens, sure, but usually if the man had other work the garden/patch fell on the woman's shoulders.
Ahh. If I had to view a garden as ladylike, I would do so because of all the pretty flowers

Quote:
In places like Rivendell we don't even know where the food comes from.
*Peers* You're right! I never thought of that before. They can't be living on fruits and cheese!

Quote:
I might view it a certain way because I have a very confused / mixed-cultured understanding of all this. Someone else, who read slightly different books or spoke to different people, might see it as the opposite.
Indeed, I know quite a few places where farming is both a woman's and a man's job and where gardening is completely a man's job
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:32 PM   #39
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Ahh. If I had to view a garden as ladylike, I would do so because of all the pretty flowers
I was talking more about the fruit-producing gardens, but this works too.

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Indeed, I know quite a few places where farming is both a woman's and a man's job and where gardening is completely a man's job
The difference of cultures...

Though still, it's hard for me to imagine a rural area with women ploughing the fields while the men di up turnips in the back yard.

(Of course during harsh times like war women would work in the fields - because the men were in the army. But in times of peace.........)
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