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Re: A thought! (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)


> In a message dated 98-12-17 13:52:34 EST, clevin@ripco.com writes:
> << 
>  Yes and no. There was, indeed, a flourishing school of misgynists
>  in mediaeval Europe. However: a reading of Malory's Le Morte
>  D'Arthur would clear that up. Rapes were _not_ a matter of
>  feminine wiles  >>
> I cannot say that i have enough knowledge of history to say what the view on
> rape was during the time in question.  However, I believe the original post
> from Sue is partly based on some beliefs that *do* exist today.  No, rape is
> NOT  a matter of feminine wiles.  That does not mean that the excuse has not
> been used.  There was a case a couple years back where a high school boy raped
> a classmate & said she was asking for it because she wore a miniskirt to
> school that day.  The judge held the boy to be not guilty (needless to say
> lost his reelection the next year).

The excuse is as old as men who cannot control themselves. As the
example of Sir Galahad shows, people back then thought it was the
noble thing to control their baser instincts, just as it is so
thought today. The fact that an excuse needed to be made implies
that people felt that rape was not the same as consensual

> I think the point of her post was that that could be used as an excuse, not
> that that is what actually happened.  I can easily see in a society where
> women were second-class people to begin with, thus needing chaperones, wards,
> one who was misogynistic could use that to justify his misdeeds, or at least
> try to.

Quite possibly.

As an aside, might I note that the Protestant Reformation
actually may have reduced the moral status of women somewhat,
because of its increased emphasis on what the Fathers of the
Church thought (and patristic lit. is virulently misogynist), the
rejection of the cult of Mary (which did a _lot_ for the view of
women in the Church), and its never completely stated rejection
of much of chivalrous culture (which carries with it the idea of
courtly love, which I suppose we all know about). With the
removal of courtly love and Marian veneration from their minds,
the old patristic misgyny could re-assert itself in the minds of
the early Protestants (such as our own Puritans, who were such an
intolerable lot that even the Dutch-who were Calvinists
themselves-couldn't stand to have them). Given all this, it's
plausible that the "She wanted it" defense might have been a
stronger defense _after_ the Middle Ages than during the Middle

Craig (Pedro thinks that Huss and Wyclif are damned)
Craig Levin
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