Saturday, May 14, 2022

Question from Anne - Treatment of girls and women

Greetings! I would like to ask a rather unusual question. It is; In an era where women/girls were treated as lessers, were discriminated against, and/or even abused, were there still some men who genuinely loved/cared about their wives and were good and kind to them? Also, were there some fathers (and mothers too), who were truly good to and treated their daughters well and with kindness? Or was every single girl/woman who lived in this era mistreated by her father and/or her husband?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Yes, there were definitely women, wives, daughters, and sisters who were well-loved and treated kindly by the males around them. But the simple fact is that domestic life in England the sixteenth century is not as well documented as we historians would like. Without question, there are good examples of positive treatment of women. Sir Thomas More seems to have treated his daughters quite well. Sir Anthony Cooke saw to it that his daughters were uncommonly well educated. Wills from the era are replete with fathers eager to ensure the well-being of their surviving daughters. We also have the evidence of husbands who built large and elaborate funerary monuments to their late wives, and even occasionally to deceased children. So nothing in history is every universally monolithic ... circumstances always occur on a continuum from really good to really bad and everything in between. As historians, we sometimes struggle to identify what constitutes the majority circumstance. And in regard to domestic client, that picture skews towards circumstances much less favorable to women than the modern era, but not universally "bad."