European Life: Hardships for women Essay

Submitted By JessicaDuchesne
Words: 721
Pages: 3

European Life: Hardship for women

Life in 16th century was a simple, but hard life. A few families lived happy in their wealth, while the rest lived searching for their next meal. It was even harder for women, who were put down by their husbands and even the church. Their voices were mute and their doings gone unnoticed. For many, a simple “Thank You” would never be uttered to them. Instead their lives are filled with work, work, sex, children, and yet again, work. So for the women of the 16th century, their life was put below that of her husband’s in their home and in the face of the public. Social class had a big meaning to any person’s life. Especially that of a woman’s. If she were born noble, her virtue would be guarded closely and her marriage would not happen until she is into her 20s. A woman in the noble class would never feed their children, instead she would hire a peasant wet nurse. Even sometimes the girl would be sent to another noble family to learn her manners and noble behavior (Best, “Country Life,” http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/index.html). Unlike the nobles, the middle class would keep their daughters at home, and put them to work early in the shop or in the home (Best, “Country Life,” http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/index.html). This goes the same for the peasants; they never sent their daughters away, but kept them home to work with her mother. Their virtue did not have as much meaning as a noble’s because no wealth or land was at stake. It was important strictly for the husband to know his children are truly his and not that of the “milk man’s.” For the everyday peasant woman, her life was a long day of work. Her duty is to submit and subject herself to her husband in all such duties as properly belong to marriage. And even the church stressed that she should submit herself to him, for it was the duty God put forth for her (Dodd and Cleaver “A Godly Form of Household Government,” 2). The wife’s economic importance assured her a status which was close to being that of an equal partner with her husband (Best, “Country Life,” http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/index.html). This did not mean she was equal though. This just meant she was needed for a household to manage the money, goods, children, and house. This did not mean her husband thought her equal to him. Even her work as a woman was not equal, but greater than her husband’s. She was to work alongside him in the field if she were a peasant or in the shop if she were a merchants wife. Then…