Who are the Weeds?

The Secret History of Weeds is based on Martin Luther's 16th century declaration that girls are weeds growing in the garden of humanity. For purposes of this book, weeds are a metaphor for the female half of humanity.
Martin Luther

"Girls are Weeds"

Without plants, including weeds, humanity cannot exist. Without the female sex, humanity cannot exist. Without the female involvement in business, government, and religion, humanity suffers untold losses.

History, both recent and past, shows that women are viewed as weeds when they compete against male leadership for the authority to make changes. Using the metaphorical concept of women as weeds and men as good crops or valued plants, consider the benefits of both:

  • Weeds, like valued plants, are complex chemical factories containing chlorophyll and deriving energy from light in photosynthesis.
  • Weeds, like valued plants, draw insects necessary for pollination of crops.
  • Weeds are pioneers of degraded landscapes where the soil is worn out and valued plants are missing.
  • Weeds, in the form of wildflowers, are environmentally and aesthetically essential in shoring up eroding sand dunes.
  • Weeds are necessary to the healing process of the landscape and help set the stage for future quality growth.
  • Weeds can quickly cover eroded soil and prevent further erosion.
  • Weeds play important roles in ecological and economic systems by producing practical benefits that further the interest and well being of society.
  • Males and females, just like valued plants and weeds, have differing perspectives in confronting crises in the landscape. It takes both weeds (females) and valued plants (males) to find the most long lasting and satisfactory approach to resolving problems facing mankind.

Shakespeare said it best in Sonnet 94:

—For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
  Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.


  • Women ministers in 1915 were reluctantly hired and then required to "do a great deal more work than the men (ministers) and for half the salary." See Chapter 3
  • A certain group of males today continues to offer a daily prayer of thanksgiving to God that they are not women. See Introduction
  • The male dominated Protestant ministry was one of the first professions to encounter proposals to admit women but one of the last to do so. See Chapter 3
  • Apparently U.S. policy in Afghanistan (and who knows where else) encourages what Judith Hand and John Perkins call the "biological imperative of spreading sperm." See Chapter 4
  • Using Viagra, a drug used to treat impotence, to supplant the customary gifts of cash and weapons to gain the cooperation of Afghan warlords is not a policy female leaders would set. See Chapter 4
  • Womankind Worldwide reports that 80% of Afghan women suffer domestic violence, 60% of marriages are coerced, and half of women are married before the age of 16. See Chapter 4
  • Women chosen in 1960 to train as astronauts had the right stuff but were eventually barred (and later reconsidered) because of their sex. See Chapter 8
  • Apparently the first public acknowledgment that women may be needed in space travel came from an internationally known NASA scientist who told a college audience in November 1962 that he found "amusing" a colleague's idea that "women in space could be used sexually by male astronauts." See Chapter 8
  • The director of the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1962 bragged to friends that NASA was "reserving 110 pounds of payload for recreational equipment." See Chapter 8
  • The only "scientific" report about women's fitness to be astronauts, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1964), concluded, "menstruating women are inattentive and prone to accidents." See Chapter 8
  • The list of warnings against women's participation in scientific or other explorations (they crumble in a crisis, fight with each other, complain of boredom, or instigate sexual encounters) gained a new excuse in the 20th century: "no facilities for women." See Chapter 7
  • The first American woman to be courageous enough to flaunt the prohibition of women speaking publicly was Maria B. Miller Stewart, a free African-American, who had the courage to stand up and speak out before an abolitionist meeting in Boston in 1832. See Chapter 7
  • In contrast, a white woman named Emma Hart Willard followed the social rules of decorum by addressing the New York legislature in 1819 while seated to avoid the appearance of speaking in public. See Chapter 7
  • Infanticide was the most common crime in Europe until the end of the 18th century when the "demand for child labor," not "improvement in diet, housing or health," accounted for the falling death rate of children during this period. See Chapter 8
  • Harriet Tubman was the warrior/goddess who did not let enslavement and mistreatment stop her from fighting back in a 19th century culture where African Americans were the property of white males and treated like animals. See Chapter 11
  • Anne Marbury Hutchinson stood up for civil liberties and religious toleration in the early 1600s when she dared conduct biblical studies with friends. See Chapter 11
  • Anne Marbury Hutchinson was banished from the Massachusetts colony for violating the 5th Commandment because she did not honor her "fathers in the colony" and her "fathers in the church," (her own father was dead). See Chapter 11
  • Science now recognizes that girls are more mature at birth and develop one to two years faster than boys, just as Martin Luther admitted in 1533 when he labeled girls "weeds." See Chapter 11
  • Throughout history women have thrived as second-class citizens in a male-dominated world because they do exactly what dandelions do---they adapt to their environment. See Chapter 11