medievalrosalie

When opinions collide

Image from the Luttrell Psalter, 14th century, England
Image from the Luttrell Psalter, 14th century, England

I'll be honest. I'm not a man-hater (as some book reviewers suggest) but I do hate the way medieval women get thought of by many medieval people. Not all, obviously, but many others shared the views of Thomas of Cantimpre and other religious men.  

The medieval church of old felt quite strongly about the women and they were usually in two camps, never mind all the complex in betweens. No, they preferred their women clearly sexed and in one of two places: with Eve, as a foul temptress or with Mary, as a sainted and shining example of womanhood.

They preferred nothing in between, leading to statements like this one. Marriage was to be endured for the procreation of heirs or the expansion of empires. Intimate relations, ditto. 

I look around the world today and wonder how history will remember us and how we are, or how we try to be. Part of our world is inclusive, neutral, welcoming and supportive of strong women. There is welfare and social justice. Other parts still embrace female circumcision, forced marriages, sex trafficking and shame about the body's most basic workings. 

We still have a long way to go.

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