The dominance of the medieval society by the male members

The Issue of Male Chauvinism

The male members of the community dominated medieval civilization, as evidenced by the numerous literatures. As a result, the women faced tremendous obstacles in their daily lives. According to ancient law, women had little influence in making decisions. The numerous literary texts thus demonstrate the issue of male chauvinism, in which men are regarded as superior members of society to women. As a result, women could not marry without their parents' permission, nor could they divorce or acquire property unless their husbands died. Furthermore, the dominance of the men is evident in the fact that there was the prohibition of the women from the inheritance of land if there were surviving brothers (Fuente, 321). The ownership of the women of businesses without the special permissions was highly prohibited. The paper thus intends to discuss the theme of male chauvinism that saw the women in the medieval literature highly discriminated.

Prohibition of Women's Property Ownership

The extent of chauvinism is evident in the fact that the law prohibited the married women from owning property whereby if they had properties the ownership shifts automatically to the husband. The laws thus forced the women forfeit the ownership of their assets to the men. Furthermore, on the death of their husbands, they would be assigned a section of the land to support themselves while the members of the family of the man would grab the rest. The unmarried women owning property had equal rights as the men on the properties (Rigby, 362). However, whenever there arose issue involving the women, the law necessitated that the women on such occasions select closest male relatives to represent them in the court as they were prohibited from attending the court sessions.

Limited Say in Marriage and Low Social Status

The chauvinism is further evident in the fact that the women had minimal say on the individuals that they married. The women did not have a voice in their intended spouses and on their marriage, their husbands obtained full control over their lives and the decisions that they make. Furthermore, the women from the seemingly low-income families experienced challenges in being married off. The women hailing from the low-income families experienced significant discrimination regarding the provision of healthcare. The women from the less privileged families had a short lifespan as most of them died due to the issues related to childbirth (Rigby, 365). The delivery of medical assistance further aligned to the discrimination evident in the society because of their economic status.

Pain and Oppression of Medieval Women

As evident in Malcolm’s work, pain characterized the lives of the medieval women. The pain is attributable to the extent of exploitation and oppression that the women underwent in their respective societies (Thick, 92). While the men enjoyed lavish lifestyles spending their wealth, the women had significantly hard times. Comfort was thus more of a privilege and luxury to the women as only a few could afford. The element of chauvinism and oppression is evident in the fact that the medieval society considered the men with great value and some of the critical decisions of impact to the entire community were reserved for the male members of the society (Thick, 89). The law prohibited the consultation of the men by the women even in some of the matters that had a direct impact on their lives. The male chauvinism is thus evident in the fact that the women had a minimal say in the society as the men dictated their roles. The community regarded the women to have their roles limited to the kitchen in performing some of the household duties considered of significance in the family. Oppression seemed the order of the day both at the workplaces and at their homes. The abuse is evident in the fact that in situations whereby the women secured employment their pay was significantly less than that of the men.

The Feudal System and Discrimination

On consideration of the pyramid-shaped feudal system in Europe that governed life, the theme of male chauvinism and discrimination against the women is evident. The operation of the scheme entailed the individuals from the peasant families at the base while the highest lord occupied the top of the pyramid. The advantage of the pyramid was the fact that it was easier for any individual to move from the bottom to a higher rank. However, the movement of the women from the seemingly small ranks to the high levels is however challenging.

Inferior Position of Women in Society

The women's position in the pyramid depended on that of their husbands or the male individuals in their lives that could be either their brother or fathers. Despite the post of the women in the pyramid, their value or view in the eyes of the public about their position was insignificant. The women in England's medieval experienced significant discrimination that resulted in their demeaning in the society. The women were thus forced to live their lives as though it's the last since the misfortunes or disasters could easily take over their lives at any time due to their insignificance in the society that was highly male chauvinistic. The world that the women lived in entailed limited sources of technology and poor communications whereby the men only informed the women what they felt that they should know. The illustration thus confirms the consistency of the high levels of male chauvinism and discrimination against the women.

Limited Roles and Freedom for Women

On consideration of the entire nation, the women of the medieval literature had no role in the society. The absence of the functions assigned to the women during the period is attributable to the general assumption by the male members of the community that the women were inferior to the male members hence their insignificance. Some of the tasks that the women were assigned entail provision of support to the lives of their husbands and the responsibilities mainly revolved around taking care of their families. The women occupied lower levels than the men in the society irrespective of their position in the feudal system.

Religion as a Source of Freedom for Women

Unlike the modern day women who secure positions at the various workplaces, the medieval period saw the women stay at home as expected by the society. The women from the noble families, however, had little freedom due to their education on how to defend themselves and their castles. The training thus provided some freedom and power to the noble women. On the other hand, too much power by the women would sometimes appear as a threat to the husbands and hence their punishment. The medieval society thus expected the women to assume their inferior position in the society and thus yield to the demands of the women without questioning the decisions made on their behalf.

The Limited Options for Medieval Women

Furthermore, the theme of male chauvinism is evident in the way that the society treated the women during the medieval period. The women had minimal options in their lifestyles as evident from the limited options available for the women whereby they could either be virgin martyrs and thus offer themselves for sacrifice or become wives and mothers. The options availed to the women presented a minimal opportunity for the women to live their desired lives. However, the options that succeeded the period created an opportunity for the women to live free of the dominance of the men (Thick, 104). The period thus created an opportunity for the women to acquire education and ensure that they put into practice their creativities in some of the areas that include philosophy, science, theater, music, and science. The monasteries and convents in the medieval period thus served as the sources of motivation to the women during the Middle Ages through the provision of opportunities to the women to exercise their freedom during the medieval period.


In conclusion, the women that found their way into nunnery willingly thus acquired the opportunity to obtain education and on numerous occasions developed their creativity without the pressure from the male members of the society. The religion thus offered some extent of freedom to the women during the medieval period whereby the women exercised some of their creative skills besides acquiring an education that was previously limited to them based on their perceived role in the society. On comparison to the other medieval literature, the religion to some extent played a crucial role in ensuring relief of the women from the discrimination of the men during the medieval period. The literature thus indicates the consistent theme of discrimination and male chauvinism during the medieval period that saw the women considered junior members of the society.

Works Cited

Fuente, María Jesús. "Christian, Muslim and Jewish Women in Late Medieval Iberia." Medieval Encounters, vol. 15, no. 2/4, Dec. 2009, pp. 319-333. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1163/157006709X458873.

Rigby, S. H. "Gender and the Family in Pre-Industrial Europe." Gender & History, vol. 15, no. 2, Aug. 2003, pp. 361-365. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/1468-0424.00307.

Thick, Malcolm. "BREADS of the ENGLISH HUSBANDMAN and WOMAN, C. 1750." Petits Propos Culinaires, no. 104, Dec. 2015, pp. 89-105. EBSCOhost,

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