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Anonymous asked:

there's a lot of posts about women in ancient and medieval times, but what i haven't seen is how people justified their sexism. How did men have female loved ones that they thought were inferior? What men and women think was the difference between the genders? Why did so many women put up with it? Did some of them truly believe they were inferior?



It’s been said that the scariest words are, “But it’s always been done this way!” And that was the primary reason sexism was around. Men had been in charge for thousands of years, and very few women had the time and organization necessary to foment rebellion. There’s a reason many social movements occurred after a large section of the population were well fed, safe, and had leisure time.

Part of the sexism came from religion. Women were seen as inherently sinful because, according to the Bible, they (through Eve) are the reason everyone has to suffer on Earth instead of chilling in Paradise. Many medieval women accepted subservience as part of the punishment for their great-x1000 grandmother eating the apple. Or they accepted having a lower status because they thought this was how God wanted it to be. If women had any questions about their world, they were supposed to consult the Bible, which is not the most feminist work in the world.

Women were seen as more delicate, more gentle, more supple, more envious, more loving, more prone to laughing, and more malicious than men. Women were also seen as slower to work and more deceitful. A medieval woman’s view on men is impossible to find because of the rarity of female authors, but you can assume men were cruder, rougher, less openly joyful, harder working, and more truthful. 

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Wow I just got waayy to caught up in the medieval Europe part of that question …

Unfortunately, I do not have infinite and vast knowledge of all ancient cultures, but it seems that, in many of them, the sexism was in the laws, the very fabric of society, and in the political structure. It also had religious justification. Most women in any given place were concerned with immediate needs like food and shelter, and their literacy was often withheld or limited. Because of the existing social order and lack of free time with which to change it, sexism persisted.

However, women played a huge part in all ancient and medieval cultures (beyond being that constantly birthing fainting wisp stereotype left over from the Victorian Era). There was sexism and many women did accept inferiority, but that didn’t stop them from kicking ass and taking names. There were even some cultures which were fairly egalitarian (e.g. the Huns, prehistoric hunter gatherers, many Native American tribes).

How the genders saw each other depended on their own cultural views, so I can’t issue a blanket statement on that.

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