In this episode of Discourse in Magic we got to sit down with our good friend Rosemary Reid to chat about women in magic. Rosemary has a very reasonable approach to why there aren’t that many women in magic. She expresses that the problems women face in 2016 are the same issues that women face in magic. In addition the hurdles that magicians face, female magicians face as well.
Since Rosemary wan’t raised into a family of magicians or anything of that sort she was pulled into magic through the Toronto magic community. Which community? Sorcerers Safari (surprise). It played and still plays a massive role in her (and our) magic lives. Of course as a Toronto magician places like Browsers Den are particularly important for the community as well, and Jeff the owner has been nothing but amazing and encouraging.
In 2016, as we discuss in the episode there are more and more women in magic. With names like Raven, Suzanne and Billy Kid, it’s awesome to see the scene exploding, and maybe the availability of these performers as idols and mentors might help the growth in the coming years! But women in magic isn’t new, we learned a ton in this episode from Rosemary about important female magicians that we didn’t k now about. Names like Dell O’Dell, who pioneered magic on television, but often doesn’t get named alongside the greats all that often.
At one point in the episode there was a great debate, between Tyler and I. The discussion was one of nature versus nurture. Wether there’s anything unique about men or unique about women that’s creating the divide, or wether it’s relevant to look into it at all.
Finally we spoke about the famous trick of cutting a women in half, and it’s origins and I learned a ton!
Apparently the trick was performed, and pioneered by P.T. Selbit during the early 1920’s. This is particularly relevant given the timing of the suffrage movement; women getting the right to vote. With information like that one can tell that it’s difficult to separate art from the time period it was created in. Even more so when we found out that he seeks out Christabel Pankhurst, a leader of the movement, and called her out and asked if he could saw her in half. If you want to learn a little bit more about the subject Jim Steinmier has written at great lengths about the subject.
So what do you think? Is there an aspect of magic that is causing more men to be in it than women based on the way men and women are innately, or is it purely societal. Where do you think it’s going? Do you think the percentage of women in magic is growing, or that it’s staying the same as a small percentage?
Let us know what you think about any of this in the comments below!