Housewives and Nannies' Debatory Banter Association of Ghyll
The founding of the Housewives and Nannies' Debatory Banter Association of Gyll, or HANDBAG as it is commonly known, can be traced to the earliest Folktown Court records, with the founding of "The Institute for Philosophical Research in PCJ" in -570 EC. IPRPCJ differed significantly from other institutes created at this time in that it was reserved solely for females, as they had threatened to nest en masse in the Folktown Court if they were not allowed some form of Institute.
From the beginning the females of HANDBAG have been meticulous record keepers, using surplus Perky secretions, or whifflepeke, instead of pulp paper. It has proved surprisingly durable, although whifflepeke used for this purpose is of course completely unsuitable for mating. During the reign of King Harandraff the Great this had a unforseen benefit, as the male inquisitors decided that records made from whifflepeke were too embarrassing to even think about, and studiously ignored their existence. This was no surprise to anyone, as the whifflepeke reflex is deeply ingrained in even the most rational adult male. Even with today's modern writing materials, whifflepeke backups of the most important documents are still kept, and the female historians of HANDBAG preserve the old documents, reproducing them as necessary.
While the records, especially when compared with the Folktown Court records, are fascinating, they are also very narrow in scope, and little of interest, other than to scholars of female Ghyllian history, occurs, until the advent of feminism, and an expanding role for females in Ghyllian Society. This brought about an intense debate within HANDBAG over the proper role of females, whether they had a role at all, if changes in the roles of females would cause a collapse of Civilisation as We Know It, etc. The internal fights within the organisation were particularly acrimonious between the Committee for the Liberation of Females from the Shackles of Male Bondage (CLFSMB), and the Foundation For Feminine Females (FFFF), both representing the most extreme views of either side of the debate.
Relations between these two diametrically opposed groups were never cordial, and soon degenerated into covert warfare, when the FFFF, through a combination of scare tactics and wedge politics, gained control of HANDBAG and promptly passed laws forbidding any female from disobeying, or even contradicting, a more senior member of HANDBAG, unless ordered to by an appropriate male. Whilst this was, in itself, unbearable, it was the creation of the Agony Aunts to enforce the increasingly unpopular edicts of HANDBAG that led to the desperate, horribly violent acts of the CLFSMB revolt. The Agony Aunts were all that their name implies, and the HANDBAG records kept by the Agony Aunts of their activities are truly terrible, too terrible, in fact, to be recorded in an encylopedia of this nature. FFFF and the Agony Aunts were finally destroyed in a final, desperate struggle with CLFSMB, whose members not only attacked the Agony Aunts while they were nesting, but even destroyed their eggs, the last surviving member of CLFSMB committing suicide over the ruined nest of the last FFFF member, containing the body of the FFFF member, in the midst of her broken eggs. Appalled by the carnage, the surviving members of HANDBAG promptly passed a resolution vetoeing any debate on anything even remotely serious, and ruled that what members did in their own time was their own business.
The stormy events of the past now safely in the past, HANDBAG mostly concerns itself with the promotion of feminine charities, through the Paramount Queen contest. All funds raised by these contests go to worthy causes, such as providing improved nesting materials, better building techniques, and the research into the reduction of domestic blindness in males, a cause adopted after requests to the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge for help in this area went unacknowledged.
--Celeste Theresa Worthinghood 05:06, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)