Regis College Senior Honors Program
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
The Queens of Anglo-Saxon England were restricted and defined by traditional gender expectations and images. Though these ideals are less rigid, gender roles and images of femininity still restrict women. Standards have changed over time, but women continue to be defined by their position as wives and mothers which in turn can restrict actions in the public sphere. The sexual state of a woman is still intimately linked to personal quality. Motherhood was and is currently seen as a state of superior development for women. Women are defined by motherhood and the social obligations and expectations such as emotionality and nurturance that accompany this position. These are not necessarily negative images, but the mother is still expected to have the more dominant role in a child's life. Similarly, in modern society wives are expected to perform most of the domestic duties in the home. Traditional social expectations which restrict women to the private sphere, or the household, have made it difficult for women to participate in matter outside of domestic duties. Though progress is being made and women are working in professions that would have traditionally been limited to men, Patrice DiQuinzio argues that "the 'male' comes to stand for the mind, the social, and the public, and the "female" for the body, the natural, and the private." In this way, gender expectations restrict the way modern women can behave and participate in public and these same characteristics that Patrice DiQuinzio recognizes as modern images of femininity also characterize medieval interpretations.
Date of Award
© Emma Curwen
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Curwen, Emma, "Mother, Wife, Temptress, Virgin and Tyrant: Defining Images of Feminine Power in Medieval Queenship and Modern Politics" (2009). Student Publications. 490.