Women In The Renaissance Essay

1922 words - 8 pages

The Renaissance is the period from 1350 to 1600 in Western Europe and is a very important time period that changed the way that people in Europe viewed the world. Western society was presented with new and controversial ideas, world views, wisdom and art. However, the new ideologies that were emerging seemed only to benefit man, and excluded the majority of women from equal development. The role of women in society throughout the Renaissance was greatly affected by their social class and economic power. Although women within the upper class had increased opportunities in education during 1350 to 1600 in Western Europe, the remainder of the female population was discouraged in participating in the new liberating ideals of the Renaissance. Medieval ideas and stereotypes of women, a lack of social and cultural growth, and the increase in opportunities for men all contributed in undermining the importance of women throughout the Renaissance.In order to truly understand the impact of the Renaissance on women, their place in the Middle Ages must be examined. By identifying and understanding the role of women before the Renaissance, their lack of development will become evident when compared with their social conditions and roles within the Renaissance. Life in the Middle Ages was not pleasant. There were many plagues and diseases, cities were over populated and infested, and their were constant hunger epidemics within Western Europe. Most women lived until their late twenties, but many would die sooner due to pregnancy or disease. Females were oppressed during the Middle Ages, which is a truth evident within the Renaissance as well.Women were placed in very domesticated roles during the Middle Ages, and were expected to have and raise children, and to maintain their household. Most births occurred at home with the help of midwives. Many women died from having children, as the technology and knowledge of the different implications of pregnancy was very primitive. Upper and middle class babies would be baptized on the day they were born, because there was a fear that if they died before they were baptized, that they would be sent to Limbo: the place between heaven and hell. The mothers of the children, however, would not attend the baptism because the Church pronounced them impure and unclean after so obviously displaying their sexuality by giving birth to a child. The Church's rigid views on women and sexuality were very evident in their different policies.The different conditions that women faced during the Middle Ages varied depending on the social class that they belonged to. Girls generally began to work at the age of eight or nine, and the work that they would do depended on their families status. Peasant girls would work with their mothers, who would generally work indoors, cooking, cleaning, and sewing. When a girl became old enough in the middle class, she could become an apprentice and work alongside an expert in the area in which she was being...

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