Feminism In The Wife Of Bath And The Decameron

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As a society, have we allowed our modern views and advances in feminism to permute our interpretations of ancient literature? The definition of feminism has been argued for decades and has gradually changed over time. There have been marches, rallies, books, songs, and so much more dedicated to the cause, and these things have become the stepping stones on the road to equality. Allison from, “The Wife of Bath’s” and Philipa, from the seventh tale of day six are two examples of these stepping stones. “The Canteburry Tales,” by Chaucer, and “The Decameron,” by Boccaccio, both contain tales that exemplify feminist ideals. The two, female protagonist of these stories have a common goal of feminism in the broader sense, however, similarly to Martin…show more content…
The older connotation of the word is “women’s rights” and “gaining women’s rights for the purpose of making women equal to men.” We now define feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (Merriam-Webster). One of the reasons the definition has mutated so many times is because of the gradual shift in gender roles society has achieved through time. Currently men and women are not equal, but they are the closest thing to equal since the beginning of man. We still have problems of equal pay, objectification, sexism, and so much more, but thankfully not at the extremes of what it once was. During the Medieval times women were still the property of men. Women were not allowed to have jobs, get an education, choose who to marry, choose how many kids to have, etc. Women were the obedient slaves of men, and if they ever tried to break out of this role laws were in place to severely punish them. The ability to choose personal life decisions that women now take for granted, were not our decisions to make back in the Medieval Era. Throughout time gender roles have began to change and the definition of feminism has changed with them, but there has always been a common theme to the term, which is…show more content…
Her friends would view her ability create an environment that she controls, and that works in her favor over the male species to be empowering, feminist, and delightful. But that is the modern perspective. In the Medieval Era feminism had the main goal of women controlling themselves. It’s not until after that has been achieved that women are looking for something more. Allison’s ability to gain sovereignty is ambitious and twenty-first century. Looking at her story through a 2018 lens, one would probably define her as a feminist. However, when observing her through a lens of Medieval England one would find her methods at the highest extreme. Although Allison’s aims are respectful, her actions are not motivated by feminism because of their departure from feminism in a traditional sense. Ultimately, unlike Philippa, Allison doesn’t want the equality of both genders, but instead wants women to be superior. Because of our modern-day lens Allison is mislabeled as a feminist of her time, instead of only in

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