Valentine’s Day: From a Single’s Perspective

Valentine’s Day can be the hardest time of the year if you are single. It seems that everyone around you has someone to be with and you are the only one who is doomed to spend eternity alone.
Believe me, as a single woman I know how it feels. Especially when you used to be in a relationship and even now you’re still somewhat getting used to not being in one.

It can be easy to sit around and mope with a gallon of ice cream while sobbing over your favorite chick flick, but that’s not good for you. It’s not good for me. So this year, I want to propose 5 ways we can make this one of the best Valentine’s Day we’ve ever had being single!

 1.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just for couples!

Who says that Valentine’s Day has to be about just romantic love? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by telling your friends how much you care about them, so whip out those Star Wars valentines and give them to your friends!

2. Be happy for your friends who are in relationships
And I don’t mean “grin and bear it” I mean genuinely be happy for them. Ask them what they’re going to be doing. This is possibly an important weekend for them. Make them feel special and happy that you care!

3. Hang out with your single friends
Instead of moping by yourself, invite your other single friends who aren’t doing anything and hang out! Go out for dinner, watch a movie, or play games!

4. Don’t do anything stupid!
Don’t be that person who sees another single person and then wakes up the next morning with your best friend next to you…just don’t do anything you’ll regret.

5. Embrace being single
Now, as your reading this, please don’t see me as someone above you looking down and shaming you. No! These are all things I struggle with myself. We can be so focused on finding someone that we can lose the some of the great aspects of being single. We are free to do what we want or need to do. 
 
For example I am available to help out with more things, like volunteer for church events, community service, or even just babysitting a friend’s kids. Another example, I could go and write novels in my room for an entire month without any interaction with humankind. 😉

Now please don’t read this as a we should all be single forever, because I certainly want to find someone and hold the hands of the man I love. But perhaps in this time right now we can take the time devote time to our passions and really get to know who we are as human beings. We can mature and grow.

Perhaps with a little sunshine and water, we’ll all be even better partners than we could have ever been than if we were to date someone right now. So give it time, maybe we don’t need to find someone right now. I don’t know about you but I’m going to go and work on my music and YouTube channel, what are you going to do?

Fairer Sex: World Wars!

(I apologize for not coming out with this last week. I’ve been kind of busy and tired. This post may be less than par than usual. I apologize for this)

The world is at war and everyone contributing to the cause in some way. Whether it is actual fighting on the front lines or volunteering at the Red Cross at home. The World Wars were the turning point for women in the industry and society.

Rosie the Riveter is a iconic figure from World War II. She was created to  be a morale booster.

Rosie the Riveter is a iconic figure from World War II. She was created to be a morale booster.

Now women have already been working for years now, but mostly in poor-paying positions that didn’t promise much advancement- if any. But when most of the men left to go to war there was a gap in the workforce, so the people to pick up the slack were the women left behind.

From 1940-1945, the female working demographic went from 27-37%! That’s a 10% jump, in fact, by 1945, 1 out of 4 married had jobs outside of the home. They took on all sorts of jobs such as factory workers, x-ray technicians, secretaries, beat officers, conductresses for street cars; the list is near to endless.

Women during the world wars didn’t just take up jobs that were needed. Some women also served in the army. 70% of women who worked in the army were typists, clerks, and mail sorters. Now this might sound boring, but these were important jobs and now it no longer mattered whether you were a man or a women, but if you could do the job.

Now that previous sentence isn’t completely true. Because during World War I there was an issue of women being paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Throughout the years there were several strikes by women to have more equal pay. On example would be in 1910 at Cradley Heath, England, there were women who worked in a factory as chain makers. The regular minimum wage at the time was 26 shillings for men and 11 shillings for women. But at this factory the workers were being paid 5 to 6 shillings for a 54 hour week. The women went on strike and got a new wage at 11 shillings and 3d.

Another job that women participated in was the WASP organization (Women Air force Service Pilots). These women would fly newly made air crafts to military bases within the US. But sadly the program was closed down and records and documents of the program were sealed for 35 years.

But it wasn’t only the workplace that changed. Women’s clothing styles were also getting increasingly shorter in order to conserve cloth for the soldiers. Instead of wearing floor length dresses women were increasingly wearing knee to calves length dresses and skirts. The age of the floor length dress came to an end.

Sadly at the end of the Wars, instead of greeted with gratitude many women were sacked so that the jobs could be given back to men. The women who weren’t sacked were paid a lower wage then men. Disappointing as it was, it set the stage for future women and their job opportunities.

(Again I apologize for the lateness and shortness of this post. I hope to get back on track next week)

Read more and Citations

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/american-women-in-world-war-ii

http://libguides.mnhs.org/wwii_women

https://elginhistory12.wikispaces.com/Women+of+WW1+and+WW2

http://www.ameshistory.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm

http://www.ameshistory.org/exhibits/ration_items.htm

http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/post-world-war-ii-1946-1970

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_World_War_I#United_States_2

http://cds.library.brown.edu/projects/WWII_Women/WomenInWWII.html

https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/partners/33.htm

https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/partners/1.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_Airforce_Service_Pilots

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_World_Wars

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_the_Riveter

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-women-in-the-first-world-war

http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/ww2-history/at-a-glance/women-in-ww2.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-i-1914-1918#Women,Wages and Rights

http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-i-1914-1918

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_front#World_War_I

The Fairer Sex: Women’s Right to Vote: Susan B Anthony

Welcome to another post in the series “The Fairer Sex”. This is week five, we only have four more weeks. Here the list of topics again if you wanted to see them:

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Ancient Women

Week 3: Medieval Women

Week 4: Victorian Women

Week 5: Women’s Right To Vote: Susan B Anthony

Week 6: World War Women

Week 7: Modern Women

Week 8: Religion and Women

Week 9: Conclusion

Today’s subject is on Susan Brownell Anthony, or as she is more famously known: Susan B. Anthony. Susan was born on February 15th 1820 in Adams, MA. If you’ve studied your American History then you know that she is most famously known for winning the right for women to vote in 1920.

Susan came from a Quaker family that was committed to Social Equality. Susan’s father encouraged her and her siblings, regardless of sex, to be self-supporting, teaching them business principles and giving them responsibilities at an early age. Her family was also very politically active. Her family was involved in the Abolitionist and Temperance movements. When Susan was seventeen she collected Anti-Slavery Petitions.

Susan’s activism career began when she was a teacher from the age 17 to 29. During her time teaching, Susan discovered that men were being paid significantly more than women for doing the exact same job.While teaching in Canajoharie, New York, Susan saw that male teachers were being paid $10.00 per month (which would have been roughly $271.68 today) and female teachers were being paid $2.50 ($67.92 today). She joined The Teachers Union to fight for equal wages. even after she stopped teaching in 1853, she was still involved in the Teacher’s Union and in a convention she called for better pay, professional recognition, and deeper involvement of women in the movement.

But really her career began when she began to attend conventions for the Temperance movement in the New York State. In 1849, Susan became Secretary For Daughters Of Temperance, here is where she began to speak against alcohol abuse. But this was also where she met her life long friend: Elizabeth Stanton. Together they changed the world.

A_poser_for_a_bloomer_John_Johnson_political_&_satirical

In a reversal of genders, a “bloomer” asks her fiancé’s shocked father for consent to marry her son: satirical cartoon from 1852 – Wikipedia

During this time there was an article of clothing that was made and made it’s most famous appearance at this point in time. Yes, I am speaking of the Bloomer. The Bloomer at first was just some clothing that was supposed to be a healthier alternative to the long, heavy dresses that women were wearing. But it quickly became a symbol for Women’s Rights, the Bloomer actually got it’s name from Amelia Bloomer, a suffragette and was the editor for the first newspaper for women called “The Lily”. She wrote in the newspaper that she had adopted the dress and explained how to make it. It was thus then dubbed Bloomer’s Dress.

For a while Susan and several suffragette wore bloomers but after a year she and her colleagues went back to more traditional clothing because they discovered people were paying more attention to their clothes then to their ideas.

In 1872, Susan was arrested for illegally voting the Presidential Election. According to “The Trial of Susan B. Anthony” by Ann D. Gordon it says this about the incident:

On November 5, 1872, in the first district of the Eighth Ward of Rochester, New York, Susan B. Anthony and fourteen other women voted in the United States election, which included the election for members of Congress. The women had successfully registered to vote several days earlier. A poll watcher challenged Anthony’s qualifi- cation as a voter. The inspectors of election took the steps required by state law when a challenge occurred: they asked Anthony under oath if she was a citizen, if she lived  in the district, and if she had accepted bribes for her vote. Following her satisfactory answers to these questions, the inspectors placed her ballots in the boxes. The individuals at the polling place revealed the state and federal aspects of Anthony’s crime. Three inspectors of election, local men who also served as a board of registration for voters, enforced the election laws of New York, which allowed all white males and some black males to vote. Since ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, Congress had provided for new federal oversight of elections through several Enforcement Acts, primarily to ensure that all black men be allowed to vote despite state laws, but also to stop fraud and corruption in federal elections. Two federal supervisors of election oversaw the inspectors

The judge declared Susan guilty and charged her a $100 fine, which she never paid. Then the judge asked Susan if she had anything to say and why the sentence should not be pronounced on her.

Judge Hunt—(Ordering the defendant to stand up), Has the prisoner anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?

Miss Anthony—Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered erdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government. Judge Hunt—Th e Court cannot listen to a rehearsal of arguments the prisoner’s counsel has already consumed three hours in presenting.

Miss Anthony—May it please your honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen’s right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty, property and—

Judge Hunt—The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.

Miss Anthony—But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights. May it please the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury—

Judge Hunt—The prisoner must sit down—the Court cannot allow it.

Miss Anthony—All of my prosecutors, from the 8th ward corner grocery politician, who entered the complaint, to the United States Marshal, Commissioner, District Attorney, District Judge, your honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each and all are my political sovereigns; and had your honor submitted my case to the jury, as was clearly your duty, even then I should have had just cause of protest for not one of those men was my peer; but, native or foreign-born, white or black, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk, each and every man of them was my political superior; hence, in no sense, my peer. Even, under such circumstances, a commoner of England, tried before a jury of Lords, would have far less cause to complain than should I, a woman, tried before a jury of men. Even my counsel, the Hon. Henry R. Selden, who has argued my cause so ably, so earnestly, so unanswerably before your honor, is my political sovereign. Precisely as no disfranchised person is entitled to sit upon a jury, and no woman is entitled to the franchise, so, none but a regularly admitted lawyer is allowed to practice in the courts, and no woman can gain admission to the bar—hence, jury, judge, counsel, must all be of the superior class.

Judge Hunt—The Court must insist—the prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

Miss Anthony—Yes, your honor, but by forms of law all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women; and hence, your honor’s ordered verdict of guilty, against a United States citizen for the exercise of “that citizen’s right to vote,” simply because that citizen was a woman and not a man. But, yesterday, the same man-made forms of law, declared it a crime punishable with $1,000 fi ne and six months’ imprisonment, for you, or me, or any of us, to give a cup of cold water, a crust of bread, or a night’s shelter to a panting fugitive as he was tracking his way to Canada. And every man or woman in whose veins coursed a drop of human sympathy violated that wicked law, reckless of consequences, and was justified in so doing. As then, the slaves who got their freedom must take it over, or under, or through the unjust forms of law, precisely so, now, must women, to get their right to a voice in this government, take it; and I have taken mine, and mean to take it at every possible opportunity.

Judge Hunt—The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.

Miss Anthony—When I was brought before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpretation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under its protecting aegis—that should declare equality of rights the national guarantee to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice—failing, even, to get a trial by a jury not of my peers—I ask not leniency at your hands—but rather the full rigors of the law.

Judge Hunt—T e Court must insist— (Here the prisoner sat down.) Judge Hunt—The prisoner will stand up. (Here Miss Anthony arose again.) The sentence of the Court is that you pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the costs of the prosecution.

Miss Anthony—May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper—The Revolution—four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

Judge Hunt—Madam, the Court will not order you committed until the fine is paid.

That’s some intense dialogue right there. Suffice it to say that this got quite the publicity.

Susan and Elizabeth continued their quest for Women’s Rights up until their deaths. They held conventions, wrote speeches and articles for the papers. From 1869-1906, Susan appeared before every congress to ask for a women’s suffer amendment.

In 1906 on her 86th birthday she made one last speech in which she said these famous words:

 “There have been others also just as true and devoted to the cause — I wish I could name every one — but with such women consecrating their lives, failure is impossible”

Susan died March 13th, 1906. She is supposed to have said this before she died.

“To think I have had more than 60 years of hard struggle for a little liberty and then to die without it seems so cruel.”

In 1920, 14 years after Susan B. Anthony’s death, women were finally granted the right to vote. Not only that, but even before Susan’s death, legal rights for married women were in place in most states, more and more professions were now being opened for women and at least 36,000 women were attending colleges. She may not have been able to have the liberty, but she gave it to future generations.

Before I close this week’s post there is one more quote that stuck out to me. Clara Barton said this a few days before Susan’s death and I wanted to share it with you:

“A few days ago someone said to me that every woman should stand with bared head before Susan B. Anthony. ‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘and every man as well.’ … For ages he has been trying to carry the burden of life’s responsibilities alone… Just now it is new and strange and men cannot comprehend what it would mean but the change is not far away.

So it might be helpful to not just see it as women weren’t being treated fairly, but that men had to handle life all on their own and now women could help handle burden and they will, next week we talk about being a woman during the World Wars.

Thank you again for joining me this week, I hope to see you next week!

Read More, References, and Citations: Continue reading

The Fairer Sex: The Victorian Era

Welcome to week four of our nine week series. We are just about half way through this series. Before we launch into our topic for this week, I want to say that I have learned a lot during this journey. This has provided me the opportunity to study about different cultures and societies. I also hope, Reader, that perhaps this series is changing your life for the better. Now on to our topic.

This week we are discussing the Victorian era of England. The Victorian era took place from the years 1837-1901. Queen Victoria is the reigning monarch on the British throne, it is a time of peace, Pax Britannica (British Peace), prosperity, etiquette and a strong sense of morality.

The role of women has risen since the Medieval era. Women could now go and get jobs so long as it didn’t interfere with their domestic duties, higher education (education at all) was becoming more and more available.

The Victorian era was also a time in which gender roles were being even more sharply defined than at any other point in history. Below is a chart of some of the qualities that were expected of both men and women.

MEN                                          WOMEN

Powerful

Weak

Active Passive
Brave Timid
Worldly Domestic
Logical Illogical
Rational Emotional, susceptible to madness, hysteria
Individual Social/Familial
Independent Dependent
Able to resist temptation Unable to resist temptation
Tainted Pure
Ambitious Content
Sexual/Sensual Not sexual/sensual
Sphere: Public Sphere: Private

At this point in history, more and more workers commuted to their workplace. A shopkeeper, for example, might not necessarily live above his shop anymore and leaves early in the morning to open his store. Or the factory workers would walk from their homes to the factory and back. So whereas women used to help more in the shop it was less so now since it wasn’t directly connected to the home.

For any woman, rich or poor it was expected for a woman to marry and have children. But of course in order to do that one must find a husband. Pre-marital sex in that day in age was scandalous and absolutely unacceptable. However, the woman had be subtle in her search for a husband. A woman was expected to little no sexual feelings, only to have sex so she might be able to bear children and please her husband. If she was obvious with her intent for a husband, then company might think her to have a ravenous sexual appetite. A Victorian doctor named William Acton famously once stated this:

“The majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled with sexual feeling of any kind…As a general rule, a modest woman seldom desires any sexual gratification for herself. She submits to her husband’s embraces, but principally to gratify him; and, were it not for the desire of maternity, would far rather be relieved from his attentions.”

Further on the subject, sex was a obscure mysterious subject. The term “unmentionables” as another name for undergarments comes from this era, arms and legs were called limbs, there is even a myth that Victorians would cover furniture legs because they were supposedly suggestive. Most women didn’t even learn about sex until their wedding night (talk about an awkward time to get a sex ed lesson.)

In this time women were becoming literate and educated. However women were not taught sciences and high level math. Here is a quote from Pride and Prejudice which gives us an idea of what a middle class and higher class woman was taught:

A woman must have thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages…and beside all this she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expression. – Ch. 8

In the 1840’s two college’s were opened. The first was Queen’s College which was founded by men who were sympathetic to the need of better educating women and second was the Ladies College which would later be known as Bedford College, this college was founded and run by women. However women who were devoted to intellectual pursuits were given the unkind name of Blue-stocking. Doctors actually claimed that if a woman studied too much it would damage her ovaries and turn her into a prune, this would make her unmarriable. Crazy huh?

In conclusion, this is a new age for women. Women are being treated less like second-rate citizens and more equally. Women are more literate and educated than at any other point in time at that point and even although there were many professions that shut women out, this was a building block to the next step.

Next week we will talk about a very important woman: Susan B. Anthony the woman who fought to vote.

Read More and Citations

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The Fairer Sex: Medieval Women

Hey, I am so sorry that this post is late. Work has been hard this week and I was doing some extra studying for this week’s topic. As for last week I was really busy. So instead of this week’s topic I posted this instead.

This week’s topic is Medieval Women. If you remember from two weeks ago we were talking about women in Antiquity. We explored a couple ancient cultures and saw how women were treated.

Now we are moving up to the Middle Ages. Our story continues after the collapse of the great Roman Empire. Christainity is the main religon of most kingdoms at this time and the world is trying to reorder itself.

Now women’s role change very little- if at all- during the Middle Ages. They were the main caretakers of the home. Poorer women would care for the children, sew, brew beer and spin. Among this, they might help their husbands out in the field, or if he was wealthy enough to own a shop she might help him with the shop. A wealthier woman would overlook the household, checking finances, preparing the menus for the meals and the like.

It was hard for women to earn a living. They were paid less than men. For reaping, a man typically would be paid 8 pence a day. However for a woman, she would get 5 pence. And for hay making, men could earn 6 pence a day while women got 4 pence. Sometimes a woman would have to get several jobs just to make ends meet.

This poem was written by William Langland and it speaks of the tragedy of the Lower-Class Woman in the Early Middle Ages:

“Burdened with children and landlords’ rent;
What they can put aside from what they make spinning they spend on housing,
Also on milk and meal to make porridge with
To sate their children who cry out for food
And they themselves also suffer much hunger,
And woe in wintertime, and waking up nights
To rise on the bedside to rock the cradle,
Also to card and comb wool, to patch and to wash,
To rub flax and reel yarn and to peel rushes
That it is pity to describe or show in rhyme
The woe of these women who live in huts;

In this age women had limited life choices. If you had to simplify it, it was be married to go to a convent. In noble families, children would often be betrothed, even married by the age of 7. However the marriage was not sealed until consummated. Since in poor families it was all hands on deck to make sure the family didn’t starve, a woman might not marry until she was 20. Poorer families couldn’t afford to loose a worker.

In wealthy families (and I’m sure for poorer families as well) it was important that a woman produced a boy so that the family name could be preserved. But pregnancy was a dangerous thing. In the medieval ages there weren’t many doctors, so many children and women died during childbirth. It is speculated that 20% of women died in childbirth.

If a woman didn’t want to risk childbirth or marriage, she might ‘take the veil’ and join a convent. While the rules at a convent could be strict, sometimes they would be taught to read and write, something that not most people knew, much less something that was taught to women. (A quick note aside: we should all be grateful that we can read and write. Just imagine not being able to read these very words. We wouldn’t be able to read books, letters, even our own bibles!) When a woman became a nun she had to take three vows.

The Vow of Poverty: A nun had give up worldly possessions. She couldn’t own anything, everything belonged to the community.

The Vow of Chastity: A nun couldn’t marry or have sexual interactions.

The Vow of Obedience: She must obey her Abbess.

A nun’s life was about living as a bride for the Lord both in prayer, meditation and in works of charity. In fact when a novice became a nun it was celebrated much like a wedding, the nun was even given a wedding ring to wear because she was married to The Lord.

But now what happens when you are a woman in the middle ages and your husband dies? Well if a woman’s husband dies and she has either no sons or underage sons, she could inherit whatever her husband left behind. A widow strangely had many more freedoms then a married woman. According to the book: The Wealth of Wives: Women, Law, and Economy in Late Medieval London it states this:

A widow had a unique status in both borough and common law. She was not under the legal guardianship (Mund) of either her father or her husband. While the moral literature perpetuated the image of widows as poor and devout women, another image of widows was also prevalent in Christian Literature. Widows could be potentially independent, powerful individuals and sexually aggressive. Chaucer portrayed such a widow in “The Wife Of Bath.” A widow could enter into contracts alone, sue for debt, run her business or till her land and marry off her children. She could also choose her own husband the second time around.”

Even though she could choose her husband for the second time, she didn’t have to remarry and if she didn’t remarry she could keep those freedoms. If she did remarry, all the land, money and titles were transferred over to her new husband’s name.

Speaking of widows, there was an important woman born in the Late Middle Ages. Her name was Christine de Pisan (sometimes spelled Pizan) an Italian French woman born in 1364 was an author. Her father Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano (or just Thomas de Pizan) was a astrologer for the French Court. Christine received a magnificent education she not only learned how to read and write, but she learned to speak Latin, (Only extremely intelligent and wealthy people learned to speak Latin) she learned philosophy, and the sciences known in the medieval world.

At fifteen, Christine married Etienne du Castel, a royal secretary, who died in 1389. She had three children two of whom died in childhood and her surviving daughter- Jean du Castel- became a nun.

When Christine’s husband died, Christine looked for a way to support her mother, niece and three children. She turned to writing and became a court author, writing poems and ballads of love for nobles.

Christine’s most famous work is “The Book Of The City Of Ladies” written in response to Jean De Meun’s poem Roman De La Rose (Romance Of The Rose) which criticized women as seducers and that their only purpose is to seduce men and cause them to fall. In this book Christine defends the female gender against the unjust prejudice they receive. If you’d like to read a short biography on Christine de Pizan as well as excerpts from her first book click here. Christine also wrote a sequel called “The Treasure Of The City Of Ladies” in which Christine lays out ways that women can influence her society for the better despite her position.

Christine de Pizan is one of the earliest feminists and Simone de Beauvoir in 1949 wrote:  “[This is] the first time we see a woman take up her pen in defense of her sex”. If you ever have time I strongly suggest reading her books. I personally am still searching for her first book, but I am in the process of reading her second book and it is life changing. But that is for a different post.

In conclusion, life was rough on Medieval Women, things were getting a little better but not too much. Women could now inherit from their fathers and husbands (Supposing they had no brothers or sons). And if they were widowed a woman could have unimaginable influence in the region she lived in. Now we skip ahead 340 years to The Victorian Age. An age of sophistication, strict morality, and peace. Until next time.

References and Citations

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Sorry for the wait!

So I am terribly sorry about the wait. I’ve been busy with some stuff at work and I was also doing some extra research for this week’s topic. So instead, I am posting up what I did last Tuesday. There was an article I found on Facebook and I reacted to it and wrote this on Facebook.

ME: I am a teenage girl and I definitely feel this. We need to stop putting all the blame on women and what they wear. While there should be some restraints, such perhaps not wearing bikinis or that dress with the low neckline, we should be free to decide what we want to wear.

It is not the responsibility of women to make sure that any man who looks at her is not drawn into lust. We should be considerate of our brothers in the lord, however it not our responsibility.

When we wear beautiful clothing it should be for the glory of God. It should be because we want to look beautiful before him. Not because we are afraid of ourselves

This is the link to the article.

Here is the response I got. The name shall remain anonymous, however I will say it is someone I know who was trying to challenge me.

FRIEND:  Ok, but where do you get the parameters for the restraints? You suggest “no bikinis and no low-cut dresses”. Why? I have further thoughts but I want to see how you respond to my question first  😛

ME:  I admit my comment on parameters was vague. I guess I would say that it’s not how much skin you show, but the attitude in which you wear it and the message your clothing is sending.

For example, let’s say I was wearing the sundress shown in this article. The dress suggests a hipster style while also keeping cool in the summer. I wouldn’t say that the dress is provocative. It may reveal the shoulders and the upper half of her back, but the attitude is not provocative.

Whereas, a black dress with a low neckline is provocative, giving the viewer a teasing peek at what might follow. The attitude there is about being sexy.

Now, please do not assume that there should never be a reason to look sexy. When you are with your husband or fiance, there is a place for that. The issue is when women wear these clothes outside of these contexts for the sole purpose of being sexy to everyone.

Sometimes these women do it because they are lonely and want to feel loved. Sometimes women do it because they love the power that it gives them. Others simply don’t understand.

I hope that gives you an answer and some insight to my concerns.

FRIEND:  Ok, so I had further thoughts but they all boil down to- perhaps this is a more nuanced issue than people give it credit for. And by people I mean people on both ends of the pendulum swing. So all I as poking at you for was a bit of nuance. That’s all 🙂 Love you!

ME: Not at all. It made me think about what I meant.

I hope that will hold you over to when I finally finish my next blog post. Hang in there!

The Fairer Sex: Ancient Women

Hello, welcome to week two of my nine weeks series about the history of women. If you remember from last week I wanted to address some of the mistreatment of women that has happened in the past and currently. I also stated that the goal is that I hope to challenge the way you think about women and I hope that some day in all areas of the world women will be respected and seen more as people and less as objects.

We will begin as all stories do, at the beginning. Before the plants, the creatures, the sea, sky, there was nothing. Except for God. Then one day God decided to create light, and as the story goes on he creates the sun, the planets, the plants, the animals, but most importantly he created us.

Of all God made, humankind has been the pinnacle of creation. The reason being, because we have been endowed with Imago Dei, Latin for The Image Of God. Genesis 1:25-28 says this:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Notice how it says that he created them in his image? Notice how it says that both the men and the women are supposed to work together and rule the earth?

In the beginning everyone was happy, no one was controlling the other. Everyone lived together in perfect harmony. Adam and Eve were the perfect couple.

But then when the fall came everything changed. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, that was when the battle of the sexes began.

The Ancient Israelite Culture was one of the most male-dominated cultures of its time. I believe that the rules set in place were put there to protect women. But as time went on the purpose was forgotten and the grace of the rules were not being carried out.

For example the ancient law states that a woman’s husband were to die and she didn’t have a son, she should marry his brother. Now the reason initially for this was so then the land land could stay in the family, but also so the woman could be cared for. In that time and age women could not get jobs.

Women were very limited to what they could do. In order to leave the house they had to have the permission of either their father or husband and be doubly veiled. Then even when they were out they could not speak to any men that were not their brothers, husbands, or father.

A woman could not be a witness in court. According to the Talmud the reason is because: “Women are temperamental and light-headed.” Also because in Genesis 18:9-16 Sara lies to the man that she laughed when he tells her that she will have a son in a year.

However despite all this, when Jesus came he was extremely radical when it came to the issue of women. He spoke to them in public, he taught them, he even touched a woman who was suffering a bleeding disorder, which in that day in age would have been scandalous. But we shall save all this for another post.

 Another culture that did not treat women quite as well were the Greeks, specifically the Athenians. Despite everything I stated about the Israelite Law, I think I would rather be a Jewish woman than an Athenian woman. The view of women in the Athenian culture was poor.

Aristotle once said this about women: “Man is by nature superior to the female and so the man should rule and the woman should be ruled.”

Hipponax also wrote: “There are two days on which a woman is most pleasing—when someone marries her and when he carries out her dead body.”

Euripides, a famous Greek Playwright had female characters in his plays say disparaging things about their sex. For example:
a) I am only a woman, a thing which the world hates.
b) No cure has been found for a woman’s venom, worse than that of reptiles. We are a curse to man.
c) Men of sense should never let gossiping women visit their wives, for they work mischief.

And finally it was said “A man who teaches a woman to write should know that he is providing poison to an asp.”

If that doesn’t give you an idea of what Athenian men thought of their women I’m not sure what will.

The Spartan women however were different. While they were still seen as vessels to bear children and to run the house while the man was gone, they enjoyed more freedoms then their Athenian sisters. For example, Spartan women had would be given an education, they would learn poetry, dance, art, and basic fighting skills. They also would leave the house and compete in competitions such as races, javelin throwing, and wrestling, something that would have been unheard of in Athenian Culture. Spartan women could also inherit, however it was only half of what a son would receive.

Lastly we have the Egyptian Culture. Of all the ancient cultures the Egyptians were the most sophisticated in its treatment of women.

The Egyptian culture actually mirrored much of our own American Society today. Women could own land, have jobs, they could borrow money and sign contracts, they could appear in court as witnesses. Egyptian women could even initiate divorce, something that only men could do in other cultures.

In conclusion, as we see most ancient societies looked down on women and it was a common thing to do. Some were crueler to women than others and some had good intentions that got lost somewhere along the way.

Thank you for reading this long post. Next week we will move on ahead to the Medieval Ages and see what life was like for women then.

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