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As this week leisurely comes to a close, I find myself becoming impatient. Why? Because next weekend I get to go to a Renaissance Festival, of course! Lady Cornelia and I will be exploring the Central Missouri Renaissance Festival in the realm of Kingdom City next weekend, and I can’t wait! I find that I’ve had “Renaissance-on-the-brain” a bit lately, and just today I began to ponder: how would I have fit in during the Renaissance? Would there have been a place for me? It’s the same question that came to mind as I read/watched Outlander; if I were truly able to go back in time, would I be able to blend in as well as Claire and Geillis (sorry…spoiler alert?!?)? Of course I know that this isn’t terribly likely, but since when does plausibility enter into daydreaming?
There are, of course, many aspects to consider. A woman’s behavioral education would have begun in the cradle, and the world was a far different place. More years ago now than I care to admit, I recall writing a paper for a history class on the Renaissance and Reformation entitled “Missionary: The Position of Women in the Renaissance.” The title is about all I can remember about the paper, mostly because my suspicion is that it was, indeed, the BEST part. Regardless, the facts are plain: women simply did not figure into most aspects of the Renaissance. Silence was golden, afterall.
I am not particularly adept at silence most of the time. It comes in fits and starts, however. Once in high school I stayed absolutely silent for several hours just to see if I could, but that’s a rarity. Besides, voluntary silence is far different than effectively having your voice taken from you as most women in the Renaissance would have. A lady always left the speaking to her Lord (or closest male relative). Unless, of course, she was a shrew.
After much consideration, I think I would have been a shrew (no, not the venomous little mammal…. Instead, think of an unruly woman who speaks her mind and doesn’t obey–as in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew). I think a lot and have copious opinions on all sorts of subjects…few of which stay sequestered within. You will know what I think (whether you want to or not). I also have a minor problem with the whole obedience issue. Telling me what to do doesn’t go over well. In fact, telling me what to do is the quickest way to insure that I won’t do it. Try to tame me all you like, but I’m also incredibly stubborn. I think there must have been many women like me during the Renaissance, though. Intelligent, spirited, independently thinking women who would not allow themselves to be silenced. Hear me, world: I am a shrew, and I wear that title proudly.