Powerful Discourses Regarding Women's Bodies

Decent Essays

Throughout history, women and their bodies have been portrayed in numerous different forms. Some argue that the weak female body was prone to madness and hysteria, while others praise its purity and ability to nurse children. Edward Jorden’s A Briefe Discourse of a Disease called the Suffocation of the Mother, printed in 1603, is a prime example of the former argument. Jorden contends that women are more liable to fall under the control of supernatural powers and evil spirits. On the other hand, Elizabeth Clinton asserts through her publication, From the Countess of Lincoln’s Nursery, that a woman should be valued due to the significant benefits of a mother nursing her own child. These discourses of the female body continued to conflict and show themselves in numerous pieces of literature, undeniably influencing our culture substantially.
Concerns about the sovereign’s gender formed one of the primary social considerations of this period. As both of these documents were published directly after the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in 1603, one might expect to see these gender considerations revealed in the works produced during this time. Although Elizabeth’s regime brought much prosperity and order to England, some English subjects still desired for a return to state stability through a solidification of the patriarchal system. They believed there to be the danger in women’s involvement in politics at the sovereign level due to the weakness of the female body. However, there

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