Women in medieval age

I am so lost in reading “A song of Ice and Fire series” (Game of thrones TV series) these days that I eat, sleep, walk with that book in my hand. Throughout the day, I keep discussing about it and irritating my husband with it. Many reviews that I saw about this series say that George Martin is a misogynist. Because all the books have portrayed women in a bad way. But I do not think so. I think it has to do with the middle ages and medieval period. This was how women were treated back then.

Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women (from Wikipedia)

I remember telling my father after seeing a huge fort in Jaipur that it would be so wonderful to live in a kingdom like that. It would be so nice to actually live in that age where kings and knights ruled. My father told me that no woman would want to live in that age. In those days, any beautiful woman walking on the street would be picked by the king and kept as his whore. No person could go against the king, could they? Kings had so many keeps, along with the so-called wife. This wife was there just for the sake of it. King would have many more illegal wives and whores for his sake. Queen probably had no rights to say anything to the king. King chose what he wanted to do.

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Also, if a beautiful girl was abducted or even raped by a king or say some knight, who would come for her protection? How could anyone protect her if a gang of kings’ men wanted to rape her? There is a gang rape scene in this book that literally was spine-chilling. But it could have very well happened in those days. Who is there to say such things did not happen? So many women must have suffered under the rule of these medieval kings. We saw a chamber in one of the Jaipur forts, meant just for the king’s keeps. They had a separate tunnel to escape through if attacked by an enemy. I am sure all the other kings had them too. And coming to bastards, I am sure kings had many bastards from these keeps that they had. God knows how many sons and daughters they fathered.

Prostitution.. this too seems to be so high in his books. It looks as if every other woman was a prostitute and sold her body for money. I am not sure if it was true in those days. But prostitution was not illegal and so it is quite possible that it was prevalent. Women are just treated like some “thing” that can used for pleasure and then killed or kicked away. Women seem to have no value in the man’s world. They rule the kingdom, they have power and money so they can get any woman they want. It all seems so bad.

There are few women though, even in these books like Arya, Catelyn Stark, Daenerys who stand out. These women show the others that women can be powerful too. That women can equal men sometimes and I admire that Martin has come up with such strong women characters in a book that seems to be so full of misogynist characters. Even in our history, there are women who did something brave and are still remembered today. But there are very few women like that. Rani Lakshmibhai, Kittur Rani Chennamma, Razia Sultana and many more we studied in history. Probably we as a human race have always been like that. Some men have always treated women badly. I am glad I was not born earlier, in those good old medieval days 🙂

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15 thoughts on “Women in medieval age

  1. Power doesn’t come from the sword or physical strength alone. Women have always been mentally stronger than men (in any age). Besides, life in the towns and villages across the country would have been the same as today for women back then. Only, women had few chances of participating in the economic activity, but that was compensated by more work at home (I guess).

    Men were strong and hence killed each other (in wars, etc) to determine who was stronger. Since women were considered to be physically weaker, they were generally not involved in wars, etc. Being stronger doesn’t mean security or better survival.

    Destination Infinity

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    • I think in those days, power was with the person who sat on the throne.. also women in villages and towns were ruled again by men.. I think there were very few women who were in ruling position. After reading this series and pondering upon it, I feel it was a man’s world totally. Women have more freedom these days. They can wear what they want, lead the life the way they want to. But of course, men would fight each other.. there was treachery and other things that made them fall.

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  2. My husband keeps watching it on TV and I find it SO GROSS! I mean, i dont watch it, but can’t avoid listening to it. And the sounds are so depressing – especially the cries and screams. I can actually visualize women being tortured. Brave of u to read it!

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    • Yeah I am really loving it. I get the same feeling that I got while reading Lord of the rings. And there is no single hero and villain, that makes it hard to guess what will happen in the end 🙂

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  3. Fantasy != Middle Ages

    I doubt about the book’s accuracy. The violence, sexuality, misogyny, misandy, etc., are used to cause an effect needed by a plot.
    This book and tv series is following the simple rule explioitation genre.
    Sex + Violence = Money.
    Agreed it has a very good story, narration and an addictive plot, but the author managed to merge the above elements to sell the book. Just like what JK Rowling did with “The Casual Vacancy”.

    So don’t think too much and enjoy the exploitation. Realistic novels are too boring 😀

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    • Hmm I dont feel like considering his books as fantasy.. because it is basically a story based in medieval age with kings and knights. Just to forcibly make it feel fantasy, he has thrown in some dragons, witches and zombies to the story. And the TV series is only about sex and violence. There are so many good scenes and storyline cut from the TV series so that more sex scenes could be added. The book is great even though it has sex. I wonder why he wanted to put so much of sex, because unlike J K Rowling’s book, this book would have become popular even without sex.

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