Carolyn E. Ware. Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007. Pp. xi+233, photographs, notes, index. $65.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.
In Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward Carolyn Ware furthers the field of folklore by focusing on an oft-ignored area of Mardi Gras studies: the contributions of women. Mardi Gras has been regularly described as a male-centered festival promoting and highlighting masculine virtues and values. Despite the professed prevalence of machismo in Mardi Gras runs, women have long quietly participated, supported, and perpetuated Mardi Gras traditions. In recent decades, women have both maintained their established services and assumed customarily masculine roles in these courirs, preserving and redefining Mardi Gras in the process. (more…)