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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Feminine Mystique » » Why are there so few female magicians? (16 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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todsky
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This is the big question in my mind. There are now women well represented in law, business, medicine, engineering, even in the army. So what is it about magic that seems to keep women away?

Could it be because women can create life from within their womb, and therefore making a bunny appear from a hat would be an anti-climax?
Could it be that women as healers have historically been persecuted as witches, so maybe there is a historical memory in women that does not wish to risk persecution again?

Any thoughts/theories appreciated.

Todd
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Solitaire
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Now this is a very good question, I was wondering if there are more female stage magicians abroad, since there aren't that many in Germany (in fact, only one name of a fellow female magician comes to my mind).

I don't think a "historical memory" is the reason since a lot of women are interested in reiki, card readings, channeling, etc.

What about this one: most women are still wrapped up in doing daily chores such as taking care of children, full-time or part-time work, etc so they don't have the time or personal space for practicing stage magic?
todsky
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I don't think it has to do with the daily chores: there are many women who work in other areas of show business which require similar devotion to the craft, like acting and music. Maybe it's just that the Magician is an age-old male archetype.

What you say about women being interested in reiki, card-reading and channeling could be relevant, meaning that women prefer to put their 'magic' interest into the esoteric arts rather than in performance.

And there are very few working female magicians (stage or close-up) here in Canada. And I don't know a single one here in Montreal.
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Margarette
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If you are wondering why there haven't been more responses to your question....this subject gets brought up every few months or so. I'd recommend you check around the Café for old threads on this.
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
todsky
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This is the only other thread on this topic I could find, but it's from 2002, and it's 'locked':

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=27
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magicwatcher2005
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You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.
todsky
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 19:36, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.


Can you say...provocateur?
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Ms. Morgan
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 19:36, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.


Your kidding with this post, right? I mean, you have to be. That or you are attempting to display, just what it is about magic, and many of the men in it, that drives women away.

Ms.M
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HollyMental
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 19:36, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.




Magicwatcher2005’s profile says he’s an “Electonics [sic] designer.” Apparently Mr. Math can’t even spell his own occupation.

Sadly however his boneheaded comment seems to represent the majority of male opinions within the brotherhood. The magic fraternity still has a very archaic and misogynistic mindset. Even here at the Café, there are threads to discuss how to take advantage of women.

When will the magic fraternity become the magic community?


Holly
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magicwatcher2005
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Sorry I'm just talking about the girls I went to school with. You girls are probably smarter cuz your already into magic and stuff so that doesn't mean you.
HollyMental
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 19:36, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.


http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0906931.html

Here you’ll find a partial list of just a few things invented by women, including some which required mechanical skill such as the circular saw, dishwasher, electric hot water heater, elevated railway, engine muffler, locomotive chimney, paper bag making machine, rotary engine, street cleaning machine, submarine lamp and telescope, and windshield wipers.

Women also invented Kevlar, life rafts, fire escapes, and medical syringes, among many things.

Also; take into consideration this piece of information:

“We'll probably never know how many women inventors there were. That's because in the early years of the United States, a woman could not get a patent in her own name. A patent is considered a kind of property, and until the late 1800s laws forbade women in most states from owning property or entering into legal agreements in their own names. Instead, a woman's property would be in the name of her father or husband.

For example, many people believe that Sybilla Masters was the first American woman inventor. In 1712 she developed a new corn mill, but was denied a patent because she was a woman. Three years later the patent was filed successfully in her husband's name.”

There’s a difference between what people are capable of and what they are given the opportunity to achieve.


Holly
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Solitaire
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Todsky and Hollymental, you both raise some very good points there. What a pity that the other thread is locked, I would have loved to read more opinions on this topic.
When I was 9 years old, I got the measles and since I had to stay at home in bed, my mother brought me one of those magic kits with a few tricks in it. This raised my interest in magic, and I even did some performances in front of my schoolpals (until one of them found out how the "atomic vase" worked, and that spoiled my interest in magic, so I abandoned it for almost 30 years). At the age of 13 I turned to tarot cards, later discovered other divination means and the Old Path and last year, I met a magician who was my neighbour on a fair, we started talking about magic and magick and so my interest in magic was awakened again. I will ask him how many female students are in his classes of magic.
Bob Sanders
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 23:16, Ms. Morgan wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-03-11 19:36, magicwatcher2005 wrote:
You gotta be smart in math and mechanical stuff to do good magic and girls aren't really that good at stuff like that.


Your kidding with this post, right? I mean, you have to be. That or you are attempting to display, just what it is about magic, and many of the men in it, that drives women away.

Ms.M


This is a hoot! My sister is a mathematician. (The one who solved the bridge building math problems that male engineers could not.) She also teaches college math.

Also, my daughter taught my son (three years older than her) algebra when he was in high school.

Research it a little bit and do your math. You should reach a different informed opinion.

My wife has her own magic stage act. But she is also a physician. Some can not only walk and chew gum, but do it very well.

Bob Sanders
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todsky
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Okay, all this attention given to magicwatcher's stupid comment, and almost none (except for Solitaire and Margarette) responding to the actual question in this thread: why are there so few female magicians?
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Margarette
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Okay, I'll try to answer your question as to why there are so few female magicians. The main reason is plain and simple...that's just the way it is. It's the same reason as to why there aren't more male day care workers, male nurses, female auto mechanics, etc. It's just the way it is.

Throughout the ages, there has been the idea that certain jobs and tasks are male-dominated, and other jobs and tasks that are female-dominated. When both of my maternal grandparents were still alive (grandfather died back in 1988, and grandmother is currently battling Alzheimer's), my grandmother once told me that my grandfather couldn't cook anything...not even make a can of Campbell's soup. I asked her why, and her response to me was that it was her "job" to cook and clean for him, and that no man need know how to cook...that's what wives were for. That was what was accepted back when my grandmother was young...which she learned from her mother...and so on. The only thing my grandmother did as work for pay was to either take in other people's laundry or to sew and alter clothes. I think this was accepted as the way things were supposed to be until the Rosie the Riveter days....when women had to enter the work force in the male-dominated jobs because the men were overseas fighting a war. Granted, women have always been in the workforce, but for the longest time, "acceptable" jobs for women were limited to teacher, nurse, and secretary. Yes, there were the stand-outs who didn't go along with the norms...that happens everywhere and all the time, but they are the exception and not the rule. I was one of six women in my engineering school graduating class, and only one of two in my engineering discipline. Now, I'm finding out that there are more women going into the engineering program I went through.

Now, does all of this have a point? Yes, it does (if you can believe it). The "typical" role of women in magic for the longest time has been relegated to that of assistant or support (someone has to take care of the kids and laundry while the "magician" works on stuff!). Again, every rule has its exception, and there does happen to be the women who don't want to be limited to being part of the "support staff." There are more female magicians today than there were twenty years ago.

It also helps when there are POSITIVE role models and mentors. When girls have strong women they can look up to and emulate, the girls of today with their first magic kit will become the women of tomorrow with their own theaters and television specials. For the longest time, about the only female magician that people (non-magicians) knew was Melinda. Honestly, how many of us would like our daughters to be like her? With the entrance of more women into the role of magician, the more positive role models and influences there will be for the girls to look up to.

I have told these two stories numerous times to illustrate the difference in how women are accepted in both the magic community and in the construction industry (my engineering profession):

Scenario One: I was on vacation in Florida, spending time with relatives. I looked in the phone book and found that there was a magic store not too far from where my relatives lived. I ask if anyone wants to go with me, and all the kids in the house want to go, so I ask hubby if he will go with me to corrall the kids while I look at magic. He agrees. So, we go to the magic store. As we enter the store, I go directly over to the counter and look at what all is there. The kids begin looking at the novelty stuff and the costumes, and hubby stands in the middle of the store (not near any counter or shelf) so he can keep an eye on all the kids. Salesman turns around, sees me at the counter and him in the middle of the store...and DIRECTS HIS QUESTION TO THE MAN STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE...."Sir, can I help you?" To which, hubby responds, "You can't help me, but you may want to ask HER (he points to where I'm standing), because SHE is the magician in the family."

Scenario 2: Since construction is now rapidly proceeding on a project, I find it necessary to visit the jobsite weekly to monitor the progress of construction. I have to make sure that work is proceeding at the pace the subcontractors are saying, and need to address any problems that may arise. Since it is a jobsite, I dress appropriately...jeans, steel-toed boots, shirt I don't mind getting dirty, and of course, my hard hat. I get to the jobsite and meet up with the superintendent and sub-contractor's superintendents. I get up to speed on everything, and then begin to take pictures of the construction progress. One of the workers doesn't like that I'm taking pictures and begins to make comments directed toward me about how much it's going to cost for me to take his picture, and am I sure I have authorization to do this, etc. You can tell both superintendents are getting uncomfortable with this man's comments. Finally, another worker says, "dude, watch what you say...she approves our payroll requests! When she's out here, SHE'S the boss!"

Both of these did happen to me...all because I am a female in a non-typical female role. Do I get frustrated with it? Yes.

I am often reminded of what was said of Ginger Rogers. She had to be the better dancer because she had to do everythng Fred Astaire did BACKWARDS and in HIGH HEELS.

Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox, now!

Margarette
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Solitaire
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Especially Margarette's 2 scenarios point out that we women are still caught in the non-typical female role.

I can add another scenario: Today I contacted a German supplier for magic (I wanted to order Chelman's Capricornian tales there, hope he will manage to get them for me), the shop assistant addressed me in the email as "Mister", duh....
Big Daddy Cool
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Most of you know I am a champion of women in magic. I have a 4 year old daughter and she is already showing a show biz personality!

I think it comes down to one issue - power.

The role of the magician is a powerful one. Sadly, most magicians give up this power for cheap laughs. Who, other than a geeky guy in his parent's basements aspires to that? Few, and even fewer women.

The second problem comes in the role of the "assistant." In my Magician's Assistant School Workshop I teach students that magic is power, and the magician a wielder of that power. The "assistant" is actually every bit a magician as her "magician" counterpart and hence is just as powerful. When I talk about this, I see lightbulbs going on all over the room, and the purpose and role of the "assistant" takes on a new importance and meaning. From that point on, they are referred to as performance partners.

The sad thing is that most magicians really treat their assistants as victims. They are the ones stuffed in boxes, skewered with swords, and in general the focus of abuse. No women wants to be abused. I do a sword basket and a sawing in half and I have really struggled with the concept of partner abuse. I've tried to make the routines about trust, and adversity, but in my mind, I am always aware of what it could be.

Third, there have been so few women who have been allowed to walk through the door and demonstrate their power the way men have. Angela Funovits was one of the best things to happen for women in magic. It proved that women can compete with men on an equal playing field, and win!

Gosh I have so much more to say about this - I could go on for days! Ladies, I want you to succeed and I am willing to do anything I can to help you do that!
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
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jaynet
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Lets see...off the top of my head. Luna Shimada, Ariel Black, Melinda, Galina, Julianna Chen, Funovitz.
The prejudice here is you think that there are not many female magicians and illusionists.
Both now and in history female magicians abound.
Jaz
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Great post Margarette!

I do think that the genders think differently about many things.
Most women I know are more about the business of life.
The guys I know, while still serious about the business of life, seem to care a lot more than women about entertaining themselves with thier toys and hobbies.

I've had many hobbies and my wife none.
It's not that she couldn't, just that she sees the way her time should be spent differently than I do.

Not sure if this makes much sense. Smile

I'll just add this.
I work filling orders for contractors.
If I have a question about a product, there is only one person who I will ask because I know there's a answer. Her name is Sue.
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On 2008-03-13 15:53, jaynet wrote:
Lets see...off the top of my head. Luna Shimada, Ariel Black, Melinda, Galina, Julianna Chen, Funovitz.
The prejudice here is you think that there are not many female magicians and illusionists.
Both now and in history female magicians abound.


And Angela Funovits was one of my students. Nobody said female magicians don't exist. The question is why aren't there more? In comparison there are very, very few female magicians in comparison to men.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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