Role of Women In Medieval Times
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Role of Women In Medieval Times
In almost all civilizations throughout recorded history women have been oppressed, discriminated against, and viewed as inferior beings. Unfortunately it was no different in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages. Women had no political, sexual and religious rights and were merely "figurines", held down by the unmatched control of men. In this time period women were mistreated in every possible way: raped, overworked, beaten, and even denied the right to own property. Additionally, women had no authority to make any decisions or lead their village. In this culture, the role of women was to labor in the fields and in the house, to reproduce and raise their children, and most importantly to obey the male-figures in their society regardless of the situation. The role of women in Europe during the Middle Ages is illustrated in many different ways, one being the historically accurate movie "The Warlord." The Warlord is set in the Northern Coast of Europe during the 11th century (Modern Day France). Throughout the course of the movie, the viewer sees the horrible and terrifying role of women. Many different scenes show their subordination.
The first is when Branwin, a virgin peasant just a few days prior to her wedding, is molested by Chrysigon the feudal lord of the town. Chrysigon watches Branwin dress for 10 minutes during their first meeting, against her will. Chrysigon proceeds to hit Branwin, grips her painfully, and is considering rape, until he is overcome with fright because he believes that Branwin may be Pagan-Witch.
Furthermore, another example illustrating the inferiority of women in that age, is the Pagan outlook on women and how men react to these views. In the Pagan faith, it states that on the night before her wedding, a virgin must stay the night with another man besides her husband. This law demonstrates how the Pagan religion treats women as property of men and promotes rape in certain instances. Chrsyigon wants to take advantage of this commandment and also views Branwin as his belonging. He ends up having sex with Branwin, displaying his oppressive rule over women in general, specifically Branwin.
Finally, an example of female oppression appearing in the World History textbook, depicts the Church's feeling towards women. The Church attempted to limit women's learning opportunities, imposing on them that they must comply with the Church's authority. Also, women no longer were able to preach the Gospel, and the Church frequently punished women much more harshly then men who had committed the same offense. The inequalities that existed between men and women were strongly rooted in medieval life. Even the Church, the supposedly most virtuous and fair aspect of life, viewed and treated women as second in line to men. The restrictions on women during medieval times was indisputable and absolute, with a tremendous effect on the daily life of women in the Middle ages.
During medieval times approximately one half of the population of Europe was oppressed for the sole reason that it was female. This led to the birth of two very different social classes. Those who were the leaders with total power (males) and those who would have to obey their leaders (females). This was so basic to the citizen's lives in the Middle Ages and was definitely the most important part of the household. The women would reproduce, bring up their children, satisfy their husband's every desire, and when required to would do physical labor. On the otherhand, the men would be the warriors and the village leaders. They would be the ones who would do the physical labor and head the household. Women were constantly being violated in countless ways by men and had no way of stopping it because men were perceived as superior. Obviously this is not to say that a peasant man was more powerful than the queen. It did mean, however, that each social stratum was separated into an additional class of men and women, and within that specific class the men controlled the women. This powerful separation that went on between men and women was routinely accepted by all people of the time. This philosophy prevailed from the poorest peasants to the richest monarchs. It was a universal idea that has plagued humanity
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Gender studies, Christianity and women, Women in the Middle Ages, Woman, Gender role, Women in the Catholic Church, Women in Islam
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