Some slaves worked in the big house, some in the fields. The most trusted managed the less trusted. But in the hush arbor the "hands" could whisper on the premise they would not be heard by the Master, or those who enforced his will. In reality, it is easy to imagine Master strolling by, overhearing, and feeling quite contented and in charge. What is said "offline" does not count, even if overheard. To say it to Master's face is foolish. Hence, what James C. Scott calls, "the hidden transcripts of the oppressed." As these seep out, they become a tradition, a set of devices and variations, endlessly reinvented across civilizations under domination. If I were still in literature, as a critic, I could see creating an anthology. Not to study as one studies Greek, Roman, or Medieval, medical instruments (lancet, saw, gouge, clamps, pincers, restraints, gag, syringe, mallet, salt for the wounds, cauterizing iron, sponge, bucket, needle and twine) from a museum, but to learn the ancient healer's craft.
Roman satire was hyper-masculine. The sadistic medical imagery above is Martial's. He once noted that surgeon and undertaker give the client a double deal. Either you survive the operation, or the burial is free.
Weapons of the weak may include women's traditional ways as well. The next step forward, for the field of family governance is not satire, but home economics, done with love, of the self in family, and of the family in community. Self cannot thrive without family. Family cannot flourish in an unjust community of which it is the ruler, any more than the head can be well if the body is ill. The speaking silences in our field- when the wise women speak, the world will be healed. And then it will be us, the men who know it all, whose idea of wisdom is to pontificate, whose idea of virtue is ourselves, who will fall silent, listen, and obey. (Not apologize, that would be asking too much.)
The scene of family governance - board room? front parlor in the big house? the counting house? the surgeon's slab? hush arbor? or, kitchen? I vote for the kitchen. There the women, professionals who have mastered the professional canon and know it as well as any man, light the fire, heat the kettle, knead the dough, wrist deep, and tell who to pass what. And the wine and laughter flow. Until maybe we forget who is in charge, and who is a fine gentlemen or lady, and who is one of the noble serving professionals, and who is just rabble like us. Rabelais was a doctor. He loved women. He would understand. "Come, let us drink!"