Quoth Lava Quod est Sordidium:
> Finding 'period info' is almost impossible. Soap was done by the women while
> the men were butchering and no one bothered to write down how it happened. It
> was just passed mother to daughter
Is this really the case? With references to hand I can easily
find a number of references to men making soap:
In English contexts:
In Bertil Thuresson, _Middle English Occupational Terms_, p. 203
cites "R. Colett, sopemaker" from Yorkshire in 1412.
Gustav Fransson, _Middle English Surnames of Occupation 1100-1350_
pp. 71-72 has numerous examples of <sopere> 'soapmaker' from
1255 to 1337. There are 26 men and 3 women. (There's also one
example of the grammatically feminine form, <le Sopestere> 1285,
used by a woman). From French <savonnier> 'maker, seller of soap'
he cites 6 examples in the 13th C, all men.
The Middle English Dictionary (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/)
s.v. sopere (2) also has primarily masculine examples of the
term, with just two references to women that I can see.
In French contexts:
The 1292 census of Paris lists five men with the byname <le
savonnier>, and only one woman with the byname <la savonniere>
(and this could either mean that she herself was a soapmaker, or
that she was the daughter or wife of a soapmaker.
So it seems like terms meaning 'soapmaker' were used more
frequently to describe men than women in English and French in
the 13th and 14th C.
vita sine literis mors est