Women, in general, were expected to be able to run their homes, taking care of their spouses and children in whatever form was needed at the
The private sphere included wives, mothers, family, and immediate household. The information above helps us understand why women had little access to public power but it also shows us why it was necessary for women to sometimes use other means to control their surroundings to their desired end. A point to think on is, we should not underestimate the fact that a woman's self-interest may have been the driving force in her pursuit of influence (power). We also cannot assume that women were always helpless victims of society unable to affect forces that may have seemed beyond their control. In defining the private sphere, the scope of a woman's self-interest included wives and mothers working to advance the interests of their spouses and children. Simply by her management of the household she allowed her spouse to leave home and give his service for the crown which in turn could supply him with prestige and power through his military endeavors. A medieval woman could be forced to use many methods, not always acceptable ones, to reach a desired outcome. The contribution of money and support through dowry, wage labor, household works, production, patronage and hospitality, were many of the acceptable ways. The use of affection within her household gave her influence because it could directly result in loyalty to her. Wifely persuasion could be used as in the instance of convincing a spouse to donate funds to
It is interesting to make note of the factor of masculinity in this contextual material, where men are “naturally” better at some jobs than women. Contextual evidence expresses that during the 16th century, women had a small catalogue of varies duties or jobs they may participate in for money outside of the home. The text quotes, “The work available to them was usually related to the kinds they did in their own houses” (207). Although women were able to depart from the confinement of their own home, their possible jobs had little to no change.
The second area that saw the littlest change for women in the Renaissance was the expectations that came with their social status. Overall women were deemed to be a lower class in terms of gender, and men often treated them with less respect as a result. Within social classes, stereotypical beliefs regarding women and their role were held. Lower class women were expected to be housewives and take care of everything to do with the house. The expectation of working-class women, however, was slightly different. They were expected to work for their husbands and help them run their business, although they couldn’t partake in any of the work by themselves or outside of the house. However, this different expectation wasn’t necessarily new and was upheld from previous times, supporting this idea of women not receiving a Renaissance in the area of social class. Some women in the elite were able to become slightly more independent from their husbands and gain more responsibility, but the vast majority of women in the Renaissance continued to be used for the sole benefits of the men; as providers of a dowry, homemakers
The term gender roles refers to the behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender. In society, we see males being taught that they should be the ones to bring in the income and be in charge of the household, while women are taught to stay home, take care of the children and be domestic. This concept has been a prominent factor in medieval life and continues to be prominent to this day. Gender roles have not changed since the medieval period, men continue to wear their “masks of masculinity” and dominate the workforce, while women are still expected dominate the domestic sphere.
In the sixteenth century the role of women in society was very limited. Women were generally stereotyped as housewives and mothers. They were to be married, living their life providing for her husband and children. The patriarchal values of the Elizabethan times regarded women as the weaker sex.’ Men were considered the dominant gender and were treated with the utmost respect by females. Women were mainly restricted within the confines of their homes and were not allowed to go school or to university, but they could be educated at home by private tutors. Men were said to be the ones to provide for their families financially. Women were often seen as not intelligent. Property could not be titled in the name of a female within the family. Legally everything the female had belonged to her husband. Poor and middle class wives were kept very busy but rich women were not idle either. In a big house they had to organize and supervise the servants.
Women and their families often grew up in rural areas, making most of their money and living from the land they would tend, and the crops they grew (bl.uk). Most women were neither nuns or housewives, but worked. “Women’s gender…excluded them from the learned professions of scholarship, medicine, and law. A women rarely considered herself as just a wife (“The Western Heritage” p. 218). Women held a lot of traditional roles and jobs in medieval times. Women were expected to be in charge of making all of the food for the whole family. Men rarely cooked, as this was the job of the women. Also, women were expected to be the primary caretakers of the children, as the men were often working in the fields, and
Once they were married they basically became one person that followed the will of the husband, the wife was essentially masked by her husband. Wives were primarily responsible for housework and childcare. Women were needed by the men because they were not considered "true" men unless they were married so the unmarried men were often excluded from ruling positions that would have otherwise been rightfully theirs. Women almost always stayed at the house and took care of the family instead of working because if women were to work they would earn about half to two-thirds less than men for the same work. Along with the unfair wage deduction for women, they were also excluded from several things like the military so sometimes a woman would dress up like a man to gain access to certain opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't be granted such as joining the military. Among the poor, both sexes were known to do whatever it took to survive regardless of their traditional role. While it was looked down upon it wasn't unheard of for a woman or male to take on the responsibilities of the opposite sex. If the situation called for it the wife would sell or trade on the streets or work for a manufacturing company to earn some
Throughout Western thought to 1600, women are portrayed as second-class citizens, their roles in society were inferior to those of the dominant groups in society. Women during this time filled traditional roles of caretaking, birthing and manual labor. They were tools used in society in the form of property or as a source for bearing children, preferably boys. Women were compared to other luxurious items such as gold, and horses and often praised for their beauty. Although many texts portray women in these subordinate roles, some were referred by name but often times not. Overall women weren’t given access to many positions or resources in society due to the way they were perceived by those dominant in society.
By any metric, the middle ages in Europe was not an egalitarian society. Gender roles were heavily ingrained in the culture, with men meant to have aggressive masculine traits, and women to have fragile feminine traits.The practice of minting coins was perfected by Roman Emperors such as Augustus, Vespasian, and Diocletian, and as many Roman customs did, it became adopted by medieval kings, particularly Anglo-Saxons ones. The minting of coins not only served as a way to facilitate the exchange of goods and services, but they also were political tools utilised by leaders. Cynethryth, Queen of Mercia and Wife of Offa the Great, was the only Anglo-Saxon Queen we know of who issued her own coinage1. This not only has implications for the political eptitude of Cynethryth, but also has significance to understanding of medieval gender roles and how women in power operated and exercised authority.
History is marked by specific periods; which illustrates the cultural, economic, religious, and educational setting of the time. One such era is the Middle Ages or Medieval Period. This period that dates from around 850-1400, was defined by the “Italian Renaissance humanist, Francesco Petrarch, who coined the term Middle Ages to describe the period in European history from the end of the Roman Empire until his own time, the 1300s”. There were many changes that occurred during this span in history; such as the development of cities and the marketplace, which allowed some people to obtain financial wealth and move into a new social bracket. This redistribution of the pecking order was a source of distress for
Then in society, men were portrayed as “dominant figures” and women were the “nurturers”. Men not only filled the fatherly role but they also usually earned the “breadwinning”, went to work all day, and financially provided for the wives and
Women withstood a multitude of limitations in the medieval era. Due to the political, social, and religious restrictions women encountered, historians neglected to realize that they demonstrated agency. The female experience is something that has been overlooked until recently. Unfortunately, without the knowledge of how women found ways to exert their power, we are experiencing a deficit of knowledge in this period. Through the close examination of the primary sources: The Gospel of Mary, Dhouda’s Liber Manualis, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the creative means of female force are displayed.
In the Middle Ages from 476 CE- 14th century almost all of the power of women was determined by biblical references. The average woman in a rural area had the duty of making clothes from wool, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of children. The women in town often were tasked in purchasing and trading goods and the normal housekeeping. In extreme cases women were known as witches. Other women became nuns and got involved in spiritual matters. In the year 1000 traditional marriage that involved getting married for financial reasons became less common. Although the parents still assisted in choosing the spouse it was becoming freer to choose who to marry. The woman was essentially owned by a male guardian almost like a child. However, if a rich widowed woman decided she did not want or have another guardian available, she was able to have her own name. During the Middle Ages many rich women were able to participate in things such as art, music or writing. It was rare for a woman not that well off to be able to purchase the tools or have the education to do art, music, or writing. All the rules developed depended on how
Before examining particular societies, the general notions of patriarchy must be established. Generally, women were considered inferior to men, but each facet of society provides a distinctive insight into gender roles. A fundamental difference between the two genders was that the responsibility of a man was to be a member of the public, whereas the responsibility of a woman was to be in the home. Social norms defined men as “rulers, warriors, scholars, and heads of households” (Ways of the World 59). Even if a man had little