Friday, October 22, 2010

Being a Woman in the Middle Ages

People have this idea that women in the Middle Ages were weak, delicate, damsels in distress, etc. Yeah, right. The women worked hard, just as hard as the men. They were also considered less important than men. A woman's "duty" was to get married, have kids, be a loving wife, and help her husband even if he abused and beat her. If they wanted to remain single, they could be nuns or midwives. If they lived in town they could run businesses, though. Women could also be artists, writers, or tradeswomen. Peasant women worked alongside their husbands, although they did different jobs. She sewed, wove, cooked, cleaned, and took care of the children. She also had to have more children to take care of. This was dangerous because the midwives had no concept of hygeine. Twenty percent of the women who died in 1424 (between the ages of twenty-five and thirty) died in childbirth. Most of them had bled to death or suffered infection. According to many religious books, children were nothing but a bother. Having them ruined your figure, you had to clean up after them, etc. These arguments were used to try to get women to become nuns, which you usually couldn't become unless you had money.(You had to pay to be a nun, because nuns were the brides of heaven, and you had to give a substantial dowry.)

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