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Emily

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Misogyny has always been a prevalent plague in the history of the world. Even in the modern

era, we can still witness traces of unjustified and insidious gender-based prejudice. Although there has

been a great deal of positive progression over the years, still, there is much more to be accomplished;

Equality in wages, benefits, and access to positions of power and authority to name a few. While

misogyny has more than likely been around since the dawn of human civilization, one doesn't really

have to look any further than early western history, more notably, Greece and Rome.

Although misogyny still exists in kind, it is clear that there has been progress away from it in

degree. During the Grecian period, women had no ability to vote, no say in the affairs of the home, had

no economic powers, had no right to property, needed an escort to leave their homes, were not privy to

education, and were essentially the objects and trophies of men. Women often had to eat in different

rooms, marry against their personal will, and serve all orders. Ultimately, women were not perceived

to have great value in Grecian civilization. The only city in Greece that gave women any sort of

ascendancy was Sparta. Since most of the men went off to war, it was mandatory that someone take

care of the affairs and be responsible for the growth and development of the city-state. Although

against the grain, these tasks were often left to the women, which put them in a state of appreciation

and sometimes reverence. Although not as bad as Greece, Rome still was riddled with the disease of

prejudice and misogyny. In Rome, women were still oppressed and denied legal recognition, however,

in this era, there was the loosening of the Nuptial Knot, meaning that women were able to acquire

greater de facto freedoms of property upon the death of their husband. This was a right never before

realized by women in the West. It is said that there were a few independent and wealthy women in the

period, but their power and voice was invariably null in many instances.

In the next era, that being the Middle Ages, women still had the bear the burden of subjugation

and worthlessness. Even still, women had no real political or social rights, and were under strict
command of the male figure. However, this time, women had been given the freedom to choose their

religion. In this sense, if women gave themselves to the priesthood, they could exonerate themselves

from their familial responsibilities. However, this did not come without its price. Women had to deal

with the abuse of being demonized and sexually degraded, and often had to give up their well-being to

adhere to a strict code of chastity. While this loosened in the later middle-ages, its was still obvious

that women were still viewed unfavorably. They still could not vote, did not have any real legal

representation whatsoever, and were still a slave to man. It is even said that in this period, women who

found themselves into a 'elite' position suffered great loss of status. Although there were prominent

figures such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Margery Kempe, and Marie de France, they were often snuffed by

the multitude and misrepresented. We see an even greater advance in the renaissance and reformation

periods, particularly with the education of women, but still, the individual rights afforded to them were

unbelievably pitiful in comparison to man.

As were can see, over the ages, the degree of Misogyny has decreased drastically. The speed of

this change, however, has been torpid and painful; So much is left to be done. Nonetheless, positive

progress has been made and mutual ground has been achieved. Through the various texts and the class

lectures, it is clear to witness that substantial changes never come easy. Through their discipline,

determination, and perseverance, great things have been achieved. I can only hope to be as prominent

and courageous as one of them someday.


Emily
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Power is a term that is often thrown around, but one that very few have a solid grasp of. For the

sake of simplicity, I'll define power as the inherent force or ability to control a person, place, or thing at

command. Now, as with any great force or ability, it can be used for the benefit or the detriment of all

things. Generally, throughout history, we can see power being used for beneficent purposes, such as

feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and teaching the young. However, power has also been used to

subjugate, imprison, and castigate. No where can the negative uses of power be seen more clearly than

in Women's History. In this segment, we'll focus particularly on the insidious effects of male-centrism

in the Medieval ages.

While females weren't as restricted as they were in the Greco-Roman era, they still weren't

afforded many degrees of latitude. Women, no matter the class, charisma, or personal talent, were

privy to significant modes of power. However, that is not to say that it didn't make any difference at

all. Economic, Social, and educational status definitely gave a woman leverage. Those in the serfdom

classes had no privilege whatsoever. Those in positions of monarchy, while limited, did seem to carry

power. One example of a powerful woman in the Medieval ages was Eleanor Aquitaine. Eleanor was a

woman who was able to keep her land, despite an annulled marriage. This particular instance was

extremely unique to the time. In precedent situations, women often have to retire their land back to the

highest positioned male family member, but in this case, she was able to retain and later utilize it. She

also exhibited unforeseen authoritative powers. Not only did she accompany King Louis VII on the 2nd

crusade, but she was later able to escape from the imprisonment of her former husband, King Henry, as

he locked her in a tower for 15 years. Released after his death, she immediately regained the helm of

control. And while her son, Richard the Lion-Heart was off on the 3rd crusade, she was left to care for

the welfare of the kingdom. This was shockingly interesting because a woman of her prowess has

never before been seen in such enormity. Through her indomitable will and her organizational abilities,
she was able to attain and retain her power.

An example of a class of women in the Medieval ages who were completely powerless were the

ones in the peasant class. These women had no rights, no freedoms, and were essentially slaves to

conditions and environment. Even women of moderate classes and education still derived no real

source of power or leverage. It was apparent that only the most elite had access to the channels of

power, although limited. Women in these lower classes did not receive representation until far later in

Western history.

As we can see, the Medieval ages was a very prominent era for the development of women. In

this age, while most women were unable to amass any great degree of strength, a few, like Hildegard of

Bingen and Eleanor Aquitaine were able to leave their mark. These prominent women paved the way

toward the greater successes later to come. In the next era, the Renaissance, women would experience

even greater power, but none of this would have been possible without the brave ones that came before.

This set the stage for the new world era.


Emily
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Throughout the course of human history, it is clear to witness the perpetual subjugation and

abuse of the female, both in being and in action. Not only were the multitude of women severely

underrepresented, misrepresented, and starkly neglected, but they were also the unwilling victims of

ridicule, humiliation, and degradation. Through the course materials, lectures, and my own

independent yearning for knowledge and understanding, I have gained not only an acute awareness, but

an devoted appreciation for pursuit of the feminists. Never before have I been so in awe. Needless to

say, I believe myself to be a reverent historian of women.

Thus far, there have been a few particular themes that have been overwhelmingly intriguing in

this course. Firstly, the internal fortitude of most women; To fight, remain, and endure, despite the

grand scale opposition and defamation. Secondly, their inherent courage; The power to rise against the

status-quo and pursue new vistas, despite their social, political, and economic constraints. Thirdly,

their stolid integrity; to press forward, with passion, even in their most desperate times. These feats

alone deserve women a great deal of admiration. In conjunction to the aforementioned, a theme that I

found particularly engaging was the progression and expansion of female rights and privileged through

the ages. It was exciting to see that women made headway despite of the debilitating obstacles.

One concept I find particularly baffling is why the multitude of men would allow such atrocities

to occur. You would think that any educated person would know that you can attract more flies with

honey than with vinegar. In other words, that society, and their personal agendas would be better

served if women were treated with respect and grace. Not only would the men afford themselves better

friendships and love relationships, but better companions, thinkers, and creators. While it may have

been the intention of most men to keep women weak for their own personal satisfaction, little did they

know that this foolish deed constrained the human race behind substantially in its upward progress.

Although it hasn't been long, it is clear to me that the course materials have taken a place in my
psyche. Recently, I have noticed a unique fire inside; A deep passion for liberation and equanimity.

Although I was knowledgeable of the oppression around me, I wasn't every truly cognizant of the

degree. With this newfound knowledge, and the insights gained in this course, I feel that anything is

possible if you set your mind to it. I must be a catalyst for the movement.

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