Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Women and Sexuality

So I'm posting about something that has bothered me a bit over the last few weeks. 
But first,  let me preface this with a little history.

Women, as a whole have not been able to speak their minds all that long. So I guess that I really just ought to bee grateful to write this at all.

In my Early Modern English class,  we were talking about the witch trials in England. First let me give you some stats: 80% of the witch convicted were women.  Only 24% of people accused were convicted, but numbers were much higher on the continent.  All of the men and women who were convicted were executed, through any number of ways.  Burning was most popular on the continent, it made sure there were no relocation or burial sites. In England,  hanging or drowning were most used.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, the main reason that the vast majority of these executions were women is because women were thought to be made of lesser stuff,  both in moral quality and physically.  In order to have made a pact with the devil, as many of these women were thought to have, one must have had intercourse either with the devil himself or one of his demons.  Men could still do so,  but women did so more commonly because they did not have the reasoning or resistance that men did. They could not tell the difference between their human lovers and their demon lovers. They were also seen to be the sexual predators i their time. Men were "seduced" by women, they just couldn't help themselves.

So, in the cultural conscious of that era,  women held very little sway in the affairs of their time.  We have come very far in the last 450-ish years.

But I have one bone to pick with our more modern, more civilized society. Why is it that when a man does something distasteful or cruel, he is a jerk or a bastard, but when a women is, she is a slut or whore? Why is every insult thrown at a woman tied immediately to her Sexuality? Her moral quality should have nothing or at least very little to do with her "looseness" sexaully. This there still a stigma about women's mental capacity tied with her sexual activity? I would hope not.

Oh wait, Rush Limbaugh.



  1. relating to sexuality: actually, jerk is short for "jerk-off,"(masturbator), and bastard questions legitimate parentage (sexual indiscretion). Other terms used for men who are abnormally hostile are prick, dick, cock, or asshole, all relating to the salient body parts. For women, the most common term is bitch, which actually compares her to a dog. That swings both ways, though, because women often refer to men as dogs. When we want to "put someone in their place" their sexual parts, preferences, or parentage is almost always referenced.

    The witch trials, however, were much more frightening than all that. Women were the keepers of two types of knowledge the Catholic inquisitors found troublesome: childbirth and earth medicine. Women knew which herbs helped a pregnancy, which herbs could end an unwanted pregnancy, the best plants for illness remedies, you name it. To the priests, this smacked of pagan magic, and gave women too much power over their own lives. So two priests who were acknowledged woman-haters were commissioned to write a manual (drawing from paganism, folklore, the Bible, and wild speculation) to be used by the pope's inquisitors to identify and stamp out these witches. All of the outward signs of the witch were the standard items of the wise hausfrau of the time, so some regions initiated massacres that make many genocidal cleansings pale in comparison. And all in the name of God. It makes me sad and angry to see what wicked people can accomplish by invoking that name.

  2. Thank you Topher! I appreciate it. It was also incredibly nice to meet you tonight. We'll have to get together sometime.