ISSUE #286 — The Limits of Ladylike Learning - Printable Version

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ISSUE #286 — The Limits of Ladylike Learning - Witch Weekly - November 13, 2023

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Issue #286, 12th November 1893
The Limits of Ladylike Learning:
How Much Education is Too Much Education for Women?

Ladies the perpetual question every Mama must contend with when considering her daughters future is "How much education is too much education?" Indeed, the query lingers like an irksome aunt at tea time. Fear not, for we, as always are the authority on this topic. 

I: The Delicate Delusions of Learning
First and foremost, one must remember that a woman's primary role in society is to be a gracious hostess, to maintain a home that rivals the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, and to tirelessly fan herself while looking radiant in satin and lace. An overindulgence in education may lead to a perilous ailment we've coined as "Intellectual Hysteria." Symptoms include a fondness for independent thought, a preference for books over bonnets, and worst of all, a propensity for writing to the ministry with pesky questions like, "Why can't we vote, dear sir?"  One wonders if new Minister Dempsey might need to deal with intellectual hysteria from his own poetess sister!

II: A Woman's Head is Not a Library
Allow us to address the crux of the matter: the female mind is like a fragile porcelain teacup, lovely and delicate. Excessive education, like excessive tea, can shatter this delicate vessel into a million pieces. In fact, too much knowledge can lead to strange notions such as self-reliance, ambition, and an unhealthy desire for equal rights. Imagine the horrors of a world where women venture out into society as if they were…men!  Miss Whitledge may be held up here as an unfortunate example of a young lady who studied an excess of transfiguration and ended up with delusions of grandeur and all but estranged from her male relatives! Telling, no?

III: The Perils of Pronouncing Long Words
Some women have dared to study subjects such as Potions, Arithmancy, and even Ancient Runes. We must ask, for what purpose? A lady needs to know little more than the difference between her dressing gown and her afternoon gown. Potions? That's what the apothecary is for, of course. The very notion of a woman discussing complex equations is as absurd as a cat playing the pianoforte.

IV: The Danger of Being Right
Consider the societal catastrophe that could occur if women were to be well-informed on any topic. The horror! The tragedy! A woman may be tempted to correct her husband during a social gathering. "My dear," she might say, "you are quite mistaken; it was Nicholas Flamel who developed the Philosopher's Stone, not Alberic Grunnion!" We shudder at the very thought.  Although it does seem like something Mrs Wright might be wont to do. 

V: Moderation in All Things
In all things, dear ladies, moderation is the key. While it is tempting to dabble in education to impress the occasional guest at the dinner table, always remember that there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing."  While ladies staying at Hogwarts until 7th year has become much more the vogue in recent years, Mothers should question what they hope the extra 2 years to achieve, and consider perhaps 5 years as enough for most ladies of good breeding.  It is our considered opinion that most young ladies would be better off spending 2 years as Roses, than as Ravenclaws.  A woman's pursuit of knowledge should be just like her corset—tight enough to maintain propriety, yet loose enough to allow for shallow breaths and modest aspirations.

So, let all mothers give proper consideration to the limits of ladylike learning. For as we all know, a woman's most valuable asset is her blissful ignorance.  And a toast to all prudent Mama's who understand the value of allowing a daughter to revel in the depths of superficiality, while the menfolk discuss serious matters in the drawing room, leaving you to enjoy the sweet nectar of womanly indifference.
Also in this issue...
Lazloians Italian Modiste
Grand opening 1st December Hogsmeade!
Page 1 — The Art of Fainting: How to Swoon with Elegance and Dramatic Flair

Page 4 — Parasols: More Than Just Sun-Shielding Devices, They're Society's Best Gossip Shields

Page 9 — The perfect potion to subdue your frenemies...

Page 12 — The Gentlewoman's Guide to Tragic Love Affairs: How to Properly Weep on Heirloom Handkerchiefs

Page 18 — Chaperones and the Art of Stealth Supervision: How to Keep an Eye on Your Daughter's Suitors

Page 25 — Floral Feuds: How to Outdo the Neighbors in the Battle of the Blooms

Page 27 — Simple Make Up Spells: quick fix in a pinch!

Page 30 — Letters From Out Readers - Ministry Men who should have won the election

This issue is made possible by our sponsors: Halgrieves Harpsicords
Always tuned Harpsicords to make even the most hapless player an expert
Home visits in Hogsmeade and London

Fun fact: Lines underlined are from actual 1850-1870 articles about women's education