What did it mean to be a women in the Middle Ages?

The historian Catherine Macaulay stated in her History of England,

‘the invidious censures which may ensue from striking into a path of literature rarely trodden by my sex……will not keep me mute in the cause of liberty.’

This statement reflected the resentment well-educated, independent thinking women of Europe felt toward the perceived inferiority of the female sex on matters of political and intellectual importance, even at the end of the 18th century. This subordination stemmed from Christian doctrine- namely the Genesis creation story, where Eve was the cause of all sin. Influences of traditional medical and Greek philosophical ideas around woman as a ‘deformity’ or an imperfect man were also passed down from the ‘Era of the Fathers’, 300 to 430 C.E. to early modern times by the Roman Catholic church, contributing to construct feminine ideals. This religious discourse oppressed, subordinated and justified women as inferior, weaker and more unruly of the sexes, from medieval to early modern times. Keep reading!!

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