In my mind the Renaissance era was the greatest era. This era had a huge impact on our life styles and beliefs today. Some of the things adopted from the Renaissance era was Culture, Society, and Religion. But in order to fully understand the concept of the gender roles of the men and women of the time. We must first understand how the men and women of that time were viewed. Throughout history there is a lot of ways men and women were different. But only a few were the biggest setback for women. Did the Renaissance women have the same life as the Renaissance men?
Women of that time were often enounced as Devious, Domineering, and Demanding. The Renaissance women played several roles in their families. Those roles were based on their marital status and also their age. Of course like all women, they were daughters first, then the ones that decided to marry (which was most of them) they became wives, and then after marriage they became mothers. “The upper-class women were expected to conform more than the common women. The reason that was expected was because those women had shares in their family estate.
But the common women had no shares in anything, which allowed them to have few more “freedoms””. (The Gale Group 2002) The reason they had more freedoms was to help support their families. They maintained the house and they also had jobs. “Some of the male members of the noble families, had to get possession of property in order to fully become an adult”. (McKay 2014) This gave them authority over lands and people. They had to maintain order, settle disputes, and protect the people from attacks. “But instead of defending the church, some nobles would steal the land from the church, tyrannize the oppressed rather than help them”. McKay 2014)
As the Renaissance radition and beliefs spread throughout the land the biggest issue in my mind was on the educational differences between men and women. The women were not only excluded from the same educational opportunities as the men, they were thought to be physically unable to learn the same materials as the men studied. The only education the girls and young women of the time received was to educate them on how ladies of the courts should and shouldn’t behave and to be patronesses of the arts. But under no circumstances should their education be used to gain a profession.
The only other education that they received, esides on how to act, was from their fathers and some even had private tutors. Also many of the men seemed to have regarded the capacity for rational thoughts as exclusively male; women, the assumed were led only by their passion. These women were unable to escape from their emotions long enough to learn something factual. This assumption is also Renaissance conception of biology. The main reason I believed that the women were educated was because they were told that they weren’t capable. Because their beliefs taught them that God framed them only for domestic duties.
But this false concept on the Anatomy and Physiology of the women of the time, led people to believe that the women were completely inferior to the men in almost every capacity except those dealing with domestic duties. The way in which society valued men and women differed greatly. The men basically functioned as the ruling voice over all aspects of society. However, the women had virtually no say or control over roles in society. The women of that time were excluded from any meaningful position of authority in any realm of society. The women of that time were also judged on their looks.
Just like today’s society the men established beauty as an important quality of life, and only men had the capacity to differentiate between that which was beautiful and not beautiful. So the women of the time were often valued for their physical features rather than their brains. “They were also in charge of the inner economics, these duties included: cooking, Brewing, Spinning, and weaving”. (McKay 2014) “The Daughters of the Renaissance men had very strict rules, the biggest rule was they had to stay “virgins””. (The Gale Group 2002) They were expected to stay celibate until marriage.
That means even some women stayed Virgins for their entire lives. But just like today’s society there were the women who didn’t they would turn to prostitution to make money. Parents often wanted to make their daughters future as settled as soon as possible. The Renaissance of that time preferred much younger Brides. The reason they preferred younger brides was because it gave them more years of child bearing. So the average bride age of that day was sixteen. However, the men of that time were much older than their brides. The average age for a Groom was probably about thirty.
Another very important aspect that also had a huge impact was marriage. Marriage really brought out the gender roles. The Renaissance women had virtually no control when it came to picking their husbands. This may have led to an increase in infidelity because they didn’t get to fall in love with their husbands. The husband and wives very distinct duties they were expected to follow. ” The husband’s role was to have absolute authority and total dominance. The roles of the women were to maintain the home and serve the family”. (Zuber n. d. Also when it came to decision aking and running the house, the women of the time were thought to be inferior beings.
“Even though not all women were married, the majority of the women chose to be wives. Those women showed certain characteristics. Some of those characteristics were Chastity, Modesty, Humility, Constancy, Temperance, Piety, Patience, and Kindness”. (Zuber n. d. ) All of these characteristics listed, were traits of someone with no authority. Finally, these women weren’t allowed to speak out of turn. Occasionally when their husbands you leave, the wives then would have to take over their husband’s duties.
Those duties would include: Herds, Barns, and Granaries. Also because of the high mortality rate, the women would receive their husbands land. Just like families did in the seventeenth century till the late eighteenth century, the grooms were responsible for giving a dowry (property and/ or money brought by a bride to her husband on their wedding) to the bride and her family. “By the late twelfth century the roles were reversed. At that time the brides would give a dowry to the groom’s family”. (McKay 2014) Even though a majority of the women were married there have een some single.
The single women had a lot more. The women had a right to inherit and administer land. They also they could also make a wills and sign contracts. But these women could have freedom unlike the married women, didn’t have to have a male guardian or a proxy. I believe that the events, traditions, and beliefs of the Renaissance people made it a great Era. But I also believe that they mistreated people, especially the women. The way the women were treated definitely but the women in my mind back a step. Of course this is comparing the Greek women back in 3000 B. C. E.