Women in the Renaissance

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What Life of Renaissance Women Was Really Like
“What was life like for Renaissance women?” “If you were a woman in that time, would you have liked it?” and “How was the treatment towards women?” Questions like these keep pestering my mind as I research about the Renaissance. It is preposterous at how little freedom women were given compared to this day and age. Not only that, it is clear and obvious that men in the 14th to 16th century in England were given special privileges, while females were not. This is absurd. Women should have been treated as equals with men and without inferiority. The English Renaissance was a period of time filled with great injustice, harsh treatment, and unfair consequences. The life that most women live currently is a luxury compared to the Renaissance since females may major in whatever career she wants, choose who she wants to marry, and in general, make her own decisions. Yet, it has not always been this way. In the Renaissance, females were deemed inferior to males and there were laws that restricted women’s rights. For example, Protestantism “underscored women’s wifely and maternal roles and simultaneously closing down religious orders that had heretofore offered women a realm for their exercise of spiritual and social power” (Smith 25). Men could not even give females any power, even if was just religious powers. Any authority for females was looked down upon, for men believed women would misuse it since “as inheritors of eve’s sinfulness, women were pronounced disobedient, lustful, and physically foul” (Smith 25). Females were assumed that way so thus were the inferior gender and treated differently. As males were superior, it was accepted that they had the higher authority so their wives and daughters followed his orders. The daughters had no say to who her father married her to. The main purpose of daughters was as a bride. If they could not marry or lacked the dowry to become nuns, they had to find work (“Women” 324). Almost all girls were not allowed to decide who they could wed. Their father mainly chose the groom and marriages were often a matter of business. It did not matter whether or not his daughter loved the guy. In addition, the fathers expected “certain values for girls: chastity, obedience, and silence” These were thought to prepare daughters for their second stage of life, as a wife (“Women” 324). Chastity was needed because girls could not be married without it, obedience for listening to the betrothed, and silence to not argue with the husband. Sometimes, young girls married men twice or three times their age (“Women” 324). Imagine having a spouse as old as one’s father, or worse, grandfather! In nobles, the girls had their husbands chosen already at the age of ten or eleven. After five or six years, on the actual wedding, they would meet each other for their first time (“Women” 324). They were usually married to men with power and wealth; the main reason of the wedding meant sharing a lord’s property or a noble name and continued success. Many women married men they barely knew, or never met. After following her father’s orders, she then had to obey the demands of her new husband (“Women” 324). Women in the family had different roles depending on what social class they were. The roles of mostly upper class women consisted of different struggles than that of lower class women. For example, upper class women were, “placed [with] crippling limitations [on] developing artistic or intellectual skills a woman might possess” (“Women in the Renaissance”). If a woman had sophisticated abilities and wealth, there were more marital offers that came from other nobles. Also, the girls, from a young age, were taught needlework, etiquette, and other talents. In the lower classes, women tended to have “less freedom of movement in lower classes; they were always handicapped by the physical strains and dangers of constant childbearing and by...
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