Exercising Power In The Middle Ages

1694 Words7 Pages
Was social status the main obstacle preventing women from exercising power and influence in the Middle Ages?

This essay will discuss whether social status was the main obstacle preventing women from exercising their power and influence in the middle ages. This essay will further undertake a close analysis of women’s social status within society and how they were categorised as being either: rural, urban, noble, religious or royal. All women regardless of social status endured the harsh constraints imposed by a dominant patriarchal world, governed by the powers of both political and religious authorities. Women’s social status played a significant but underdog role at this time in society. This essay will investigate other relevant factors pertaining to women’s status; such as the legal rights of women and finally the ideology and theological teachings of the church which acted to restrict the majority of women from fulfilling their full potential, power and influence throughout the middle ages. Historian Joan Kelly actively encouraged fellow chroniclers to refer to the histories of women and not solely focus on topics of warfare such as “major events that have little to do with women or gender”. American historian Joan Wallach Scott has also demonstrated the value of
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John Calvin a French theologian and reformer in the 16th century forcefully demonstrated “ Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude”. The impressive armaments of religious and patriarchal structures were levelled at women who were identified as unequal, inferior, silent, and powerless without any social status of their
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