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#MeToo and the Renaissance | CAS Inquire
Nora Peterson's talk from November 9, 2021. Dr. Peterson is a professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
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Important signs of proof that
can be seen in this justice narrative, so you can see here
above, the crime has just taken place
and she is tried out and then here we see also
the battle that comes after this dismemberment scene.
It's very gory, but it does lead to a revenge battle.
So that's the limited justice narrative.
But the end of the 15th and into the 16th centuries,
the narrative changes again away from the justice narrative, placing
assault against women back in line with a narrative wherein women
who were formerly viewed as virtuous heroines were transformed
as art historian Diane Wolfe to write northern European images of rape
undergo a change in tone
and content over the course of the 15th and early 16th century.
Early renderings more clearly condemn the rapist later, once blame the victim.
The social message, too, had changed.
Now, public art should become part of a campaign
that identified rape victims as women of loose morals.
Now, the whole town could see that women were to blame
for their own rape like heroic rape images.
These paintings serve to whitewash a violent sexual crime.
The narrative of victim blaming
took over as dominant narrative in art and literature,
erasing the cultural insistence on severe punishment of the rapist
and highlighting violent sexual crimes.
But what is the relationship between these three concurrent narratives
and the Renaissance?
And I think we could also say today all three of these narratives the heroic
victim blaming and limited justice coexist,
suggesting that even if conversations about violence against women
were not frequently represented in legal trials of the 16th century,
the conversations were in fact taking place.
So with all of that context, we can dove into our case study
using one particular text in which all of the things we've already talked
about come into play, and I have two introductory slides here.
All right, so we're going to be talking about a text by Margaret Geneva,
the quick and family quick and dirty family tree .
She was the sister of French King Francis, the first also the mother
of Jandiroba Ray, who is in turn the mother of another influential
French king and has direct connections to the son King.
So this is a very noble, very well read, very well connected
woman who lived and wrote in the 16th century
she was very important in terms of negotiating.
She did a lot of diplomacy.
She was very politically active,
and she also was a very prolific writer in particular.
Today we will be talking about.
This text they have, Tamron, which is written in 1559.
I've been reading and
and studying this text since 2004 and why?
I'll just give you a couple of points.
It gives me great pleasure and pain. It can be very frustrating.
Text it's very dense, but also very rewarding.
It does fun things with things that look like binaries like pleasure and pain.
As it turns out, the author's very ambitious.
She takes up lots of the hot-button issues of her time, including religion,
gender, philosophy, love, sexual assault, and she does not tell you what to think.
She gives you lots of narratives, lots of opinions,
and then it is up to the reader to decide what they're going to do with it.
And the last thing I like about it is that so we have these 72 novellas
that I'll tell you about, and after each novella,
there's a conversation, and the people
who are giving the conversation often disagree as one does.
But at the end of the day, they go back into the monastery
where they are stranded together and they have dinner together
and they come back the next day and they get along.
And that is a nice thing.
So that is a little bit of an introduction to this text.
It has 72 stories, ten framed characters, five of them are men
and five of them are women.
And of the 17 1772 novellas and they have Tamron, 17 of them.
So over 23% feature rape, attempted rape or physical assault.
And the representations of assault in this text engage deeply with the
historical, social and legal phenomenon that we've already discussed a bit during.
The Renaissance migrates in advance.
An unusually nuanced descriptions suggest familiarity both on her part
and that of her readers with the common narratives of sexual assault
and with a love for pain, pleasure, finery.
But she doesn't do is resolve any of them.
So I'm going to dove into
three examples and there is a little bit of brief silence.
And just just be aware of that as as we dove in the first one
I'm going to show also as I describe these novellas
, some of the engravings that accompany them.
So the author herself didn't have anything to do with these images, but
they are frequently printed in the texts that you can you can read and receive.
So this is novella, too.
It's the first assault story as the story of a man who brutally attacks
the woman while her husband is away and the violent rape ends in her death.
We see the juxtaposition of love in force
early in this text and throughout the text.
I'll give a little bit of a quote of how this all comes about.
The man had been desperately in love with the wife for quite a while.
In love one day, unable to stand it any longer, he'd
come out with his declaration for being a very virtuous woman.
She'd given him a very sharp reply.
After that, the man had never dared open his mouth to her in this fashion again
or in any way indicate his feelings, but left himself in the house
and the servant then got it into his head that he would take by force
what he had failed to obtain by supplication and service.
Readers must then witness the extreme viciousness of the attack.
He stabbed, stabbed her violently in the small of the back,
thinking no doubt that the pain
would make her surrender where terror and manhandling had failed.
He stabbed her several times again.
It's a very short novella, only two pages, but the chase
and the attack scene takes up a sizable part of the narrative.
So does the description of the actual rape and aftermath
when the lady can no longer speak or move.
The victim is nevertheless cognizant of what is happening to her
after the attacker flees.
The texts go on goes on to describe her wounds and finally her death quote.
We found 25 fatal wounds.
She lingered on for another hour, unable to speak.
And so with joy on her face
and her eyes turned to heaven, where it's her soul left this chaste body.
At the moment of her death, the victim reverts into an heroic,
virtuous woman happy to meet death after the violent and dishonorable deeds.
While the victim's resistance smacks of the heroic rape narrative.
It is a heroism so deeply grounded
in physical brutality that it verges on the nightmarish.
But the simplicity of the moment is deceiving,
especially if you look at what happens with our dichotomy here.
The text starts off by casually linking love and force.
Love made him do it during the attack, we clearly see violent wrapped pain.
But the lady dies joyfully. Pleasure.
So this novella shows us different kinds of relationships at work at the same time.
Turns wrapped into Ravi and set the tone
of multiplicity and ambivalence when it comes to sexual violence.
The setting of the tone so early on in the collection
suggests that violence against women will be a central theme
when the author and frame characters will debate and negotiate.
The first day of storytelling culminates with Novella ten,
which is one of the longest and most complex in this collection.
Although the two main characters named Amador and Florida love one another.
A series of misunderstandings, disappointments and deception
lead to two failed rape attempts.
In both cases, the male characters reasoning is grounded in the misogynist
narrative that patients in love should be rewarded with sexual favors,
and that when this is not the case, force is warranted and acceptable.
The convergence of vocabulary and action becomes clear
as readers trace armadas reasoning before his first rape attempt.
Quote, He made up his mind to make one last desperate gamble
to risk losing all or to gain everything, and to treat himself
to one short hour of the bliss that he'd considered he had deserved.
He rose from his bed, he said.
Not a word and pretending still that he was at the brink of death
began to pursue the path that leads to the forbidding goal of a lady's honor.
He struggled with all the strength in his body to have his way.
Florida, terrified, called out to a gentleman
within the same passage.
Readers encounter Amador as justification.
I've been so patient now.
I deserve sexual favors as the dominant cultural narrative.
This would have resonated with Renaissance readers.
We see Florida's heroic defense and an echo of the legal context
that demands victims cry out for help.
Amador speech before the second rape attempt echoes the amorphous
pleasure, pain, bigger vocabulary, Amador says.
Almighty God, Florida.
I'm not going to have the just desserts of my efforts frustrated by your scruples.
Seeing that all my love,
all my patient waiting on my begging and praying are useless.
I shall use every ounce of force in my body to get the one thing
that will make my life worth living.
Moments later, after attempting
to defend herself in a variety of ways, Florida calls out for help.
With a heart rendering cry,
she shouted out to her mother with all the strength that was in her
in the discussion, the frame characters are deeply divided.
They alternate between a variety of voices.
There's Parliament who suggest that Florida quote
was tried to the limits of her endurance, and she put up a virtuous resistance.
Her husband and noted misogynist geekcomp, who counters that quote
Screaming is the smallest resistance a woman can offer.
He goes on to accuse Amador for not having completed the rape
and says if he'd been more of a lover and less of a coward,
he wouldn't have been quite so easily put up.
The nod to the legal context in
this exchange is countered by another character's insistence
that men have the right to be rewarded for their patience and the next comment.
Parliament lauds Florida's heroic resistance even in the face of reciprocal
love. And readers must also balance the argument that Florida's resistance
was not enough proof of resistance along her along Florida's
Florida's mother's tepid response to her daughter's cry for help.
So the mother comes in
doesn't know what's going on
and does not immediately believe her daughter, so it's a little bit sketchy.
Marguerite does not
shy away from shedding light on the dominant viewpoints of her own time.
If this is a critique of physical assault, it is heavily negotiated, unresolved
and unwilling to unequivocally favor the voice of victim.
Coexistence of different layers is what makes the Have Tamron
such a rich site for studying early modern interactions
between different kinds of representations of sexual violence
images for the next novella as well.
In Nevada, for all of the narratives we've discussed so far are deeply intertwined.
This reading focuses particularly on the overlap with the legal
narratives of Margaret's time.
The authors time
novella for makes it readily evident that the author is documenting
the coexistence of these narratives, while at the same time showing the extent
to which early modern women might have been aware
of their legal options and their potential consequences.
The lead up to the attack
in this novella begins with the misogynist or heroic narrative
the would be seducer prepares for his conquest, quite evidently
convinced that his advances will be welcomed rather than denied quote,
he put on the most magnificent night shirt he possessed and on his head
he put the most beautifully decorated nightcap you ever saw.
As he admired himself in the mirror,
he was absolutely convinced that there is not a woman in the world
who could possibly resist such a handsome and elegant sight.
And so he turned to the test.
When the lady rejects his advances, he resorts to violence
and attempts to rape her.
What follows is a description of her resistance,
which echoes the legal vocabulary of necessary defense to a T.
Quote, she was a strong woman,
struggling out of his clutches, she demanded to know who he was
and proceeded to lash out, scratching and biting for all she was worth.
He was terrified she would call for help and felt obliged to stuff
the bed clothes in her mouth in a vain attempt to prevent her doing so,
she realized that he would use all his strength to dishonor
her and fought back with all her strength in order to stop him.
She shouted at the top of her lungs for her lady in waiting,
a respectable elderly lady who was sleeping in the next room.
So the victim here fights back by the book
Resisting, leaving marks on her attacker and calling out for help.
She establishes a defense against the assailant
that would have been convincing in an early modern legal trial.
After help arrived, the lady and her handmaid deliberately discussed
whether or not she should accuse the perpetrator in a unique moment,
and they have Tameron.
The ladies explicitly reference legal trials and consider
pursuing a legal case against the attacker.
And I have that whole quote here.
I won't read the whole thing, but I will read the bolded parts here.
So she's basically encouraging the lady not to bring the case to court.
She says it's not easy to accept that a man can carry out such an act
unless she's been given a certain amount of encouragement by the lady.
There isn't a single person at court who hasn't seen the way
you've looked at him, the way you treated this man.
That could make people conclude that if he did indeed do what you say,
it couldn't have been without some blame being due to you as well.
And he and she also mentions the danger
you might you might enjoy being reminded of the pleasures of the flesh.
This passage contains a variety of different narratives.
Readers encounter the misogyny misogyny of the heroic cultural discourse,
the potential for victim blaming if the lady decides to speak out,
and the legal context of bringing an assault case to trial.
While the pretext for the conversation is justice
and the texts consciously references the legal action
to bring a case and provides coexistence of different layers.
That's what makes the Hub Tamron such a rich site for studying early
modern interactions, because, as I said, none of these are resolved.
They all just kind of sit there.
Are you bet? That's right.
The ladies advised against bringing such a case to trial is equally instructional.
She suggests that for the perpetrator that it might be,
that death might be too harsh a punishment for the perpetrator.
It's worth noting here that while it's true
that punishment for convicted rape was indeed death,
it was convicted extremely infrequently, as we talked about in the beginning.
Even when convicted, the actual death sentence was carried out
In fact, the crime of petty theft was more likely to lead
to an actual death sentence than rape or physical assault.
And so the lady here uses
the threat of punishment to prevent the victim from speaking.
In addition to suggesting that the young man did not deserve
the legal punishment for his attempted attack,
the lady in waiting makes another argument against speaking out.
Notably, she argues that
because her mistress and the perpetrator had been publicly on friendly terms,
others would assume that she had initiated or welcomes the seduction.
Thus, despite the lady's strong defense, her reeducation is grounded
in the same misogyny of many other rape novellas and have Tamron.
We should not ignore the fact that as far as advice goes,
this might not be bad advice for the lady in her own time, as Chrysler Futuro
explains, the liabilities of truth telling are relentlessly detailed here.
Given the real importance of honor and reputation as social currency
and the limitations of the legal system, hoping for any other outcome
seems like nothing less than historically anachronistic.
This is, however, by no means the end of the conversation
after the discussion here between the lady and her made,
the text pivots back to the attacker where in his own room
he appears in his reflection in the mirror and undergoes a reeducation of his own.
Quote, he picked up his mirror from the table and examined himself
in the candlelight his face was streaming with blood from the bites and scratches.
She had inflicted the typical visual representations
of heroic rape victims, with light shining on their faces.
Purifying and glorifying the resistance are subverted in this image.
Looking at the victim's resistance, as manifested on the body of the attacker,
turned to the visual heroic rape trope on its head and leads
to the perpetrators conclusion that quote to win her heart and her love,
I ought not to have tried to take her body by force .
I have devoted myself to her service in humility
and with patience, accepting that I must wait till love to triumph
here. As in the discussion between the lady and her made,
the man uses legal vocabulary to underscore his mistake.
The discussion and the story afterwards adds more complexity. Yes.
Noted Misogynist blames the gentleman for missing an opportunity,
claiming that quote
he never should have been content eat or sleep until he had succeeded.
You even go so far as to suggest that he should have killed
the lady in waiting in order to carry out the assault
while the male characters are quick to criticize the perpetrator
for not going far enough.
The narrator upholds the virtue of victim who's done
everything just as she should in order to protect her honor.
Her defense would have held up in a legal trial,
even if she was explicitly advised against bringing a case.
The storyteller notes the virtue of the lady
and the good sense of the lady in waiting.
Suggesting that women understood the risk involved in speaking out in
the face of sexual assault,
the narrative in the frame
said multiple viewpoints alongside one another.
The author is deliberately including legal and cultural
vocabularies of pain and pleasure, violence and assaults into her text.
These vocabulary stage a literary performance
of the cultural and legal phenomenon of violence against women.
The discussion following the tales reflects perhaps more clearly than in
other cases, the ambivalence surrounding victims of physical assault.
The women who were assaulted in the head, Tamara, do not take their cases to court.
The absence of legal intervention does reflect the cultural reality
of 16th century France.
The author is reproducing the ambivalence, hesitation and silence
that would have been part of the experience in the 16th century.
And finally, I'm going to turn to one more example
that represents the victim blaming narrative.
Quite simply, summarized,
it is the story of a lady who accidentally tells the story of her own rape,
and when I say accidentally, it involves it involves a Freudian slip
where the lady is telling a story about someone she knew.
And then at the end, she steps into the first person.
The tale is deceptively straightforward.
The layers of narration are wrapped tight in this novella and suggests
that the lady is being tried for a crime instead of retelling
a traumatic experience before beginning her tale, she exclaims.
This is a true story.
I vouch for it on my conscience.
The frame characters discuss whether the narrator of Novella, 62,
was really a victim of rape at all, or whether she had somehow
secretly enjoyed or invited the attack.
Well, two of the same characters
praise her for her efforts to fend off the assailant.
three others judge her mercilessly.
Sus Adobe, one of the male frame characters, caused the lady a sinner,
claiming that quote she would have wanted to erase it completely from her memory.
Had the attack then so traumatic.
Another point of contention
is the way that the lady uses her voice to hear the fictional lost
listeners of her tale laugh when she slips into the first person.
But the laughter comes at the expense of her reputation.
Parliament, one of the female frame characters, states that a lady
should never use her experience as an occasion to entertain others
when it contains trauma
and suggest that because she did so, the lady must have enjoyed it.
Though her trial by her peers and the framed characters does not end
particularly favorably for her, this does not discredit the fact
that she uses the space of narrative to come to terms with trauma.
Her, speaking of the tale, is complicated by her silence during the rape attempts.
The lady recalls that although she tried to cry out for help,
a move that would have been essential to proving an attack in a court of law
she stocks when the perpetrator threatens her, saying that quote.
If she told anyone about it, he would say that she had sent for him
standing in direct tension with one
another are the telling of her story to claim ownership of her trauma.
On the one hand,
and the legal implications of not crying out during the actual experience
and the narrative of victim blaming that emerges from this initial silence.
The lady here says both too little and too much, depending
on who is doing the reading.
As you may by now have an inkling readings of sexual
assaults in the Tameron are rarely straightforward.
So to conclude, throughout the time on and the 16th century bodies
and female bodies in particular are a space of resistance,
they're also a space of complexity and visual clarity
that helps to renegotiate the way we think
about the narratives of rape in the 16th century.
The author gives the underrepresented and underreported stories
a physical assault against women, a place alongside the dominant positions of her
time, thereby creating a space for status quo to be renegotiated.
The multiplicity of interpretations cannot be resolved into any conclusive reading.
Rather, the gap between them remains a bit like the gap
between the two meanings of the word wrapped pleasure and pain.
These wide ranging viewpoints
and the often conflicting narratives reflect the ambivalence
surrounding victims of physical assault in the Renaissance.
In particular, the opinions put forth by the men
underscore the prevalent attitudes of the time at issue.
Here are contemporary issues of consent and violence,
all of which suggests that women in the 16th century were thinking
and talking and to a lesser extent, writing about these issues,
even if they are not reflected in legal documents.
By setting a variety of often irreconcilable
narratives about sexual violence alongside one another,
they have Tamron represents the wider spectrum of sexual assault,
considering many ways of speaking and writing about it.
The author here gives textual proof of the etymological contradiction
that lives within the very word of Wrapped.
She dissects love and force pleasure and pain and shows ways in which bodies
and female bodies in particular become a space of resistance,
a visual clarity that can renegotiate rape in the 16th century,
thereby creating a textual space for pleasure of a certain kind.
And so just to come back to a topic explicitly close,
well, it might not change the pain of sexual assault.
Speaking this story, putting them out there, talking about them,
even in their ambiguity, rendering
them real did and does participate in the kind of comfort,
if not pleasure, that comes from speaking the truth in a community. Thank you.
I saw a really interesting last year,
so when talking about,
I guess, the history of kind of sexual assaults
with the reticence specifically within France.
Do you think it was for the women, at least more kind of.
Don't tell anyone at all or just and.
Ignore it, or was it
more of kind of tell people in immediate family and then but
don't take it to the authorities at all to make it harder for it to report?
Yeah, that's a really good question.
And of course, we don't know, right?
Because everyone is dead,
which is one of the frustrations of working with historical documents.
But I think that when we read texts like the have Tameron, we see that
we're looking at kind of a yes and situation and not an either or.
I think that, yes, there was pressure to keep silent about these things
because there are consequences for reputation and for relationships
and for marriage and for politics.
I think that there also was a strong community
in which people found outlets to talk about it,
and that's why we see these traces in different documents.
We don't see where we don't see is a lot of evidence in the courts
that these are stories
that we're being told and tried and punished and brought to justice.
We don't do that.
So, yes, I think there is pressure to remain silent,
but I also think that people found ways to speak about. Good question.
one more so when talking about when rape was sexual,
assault was discussed about and kind of going out,
was it more of a was the reaction more of a kind of a vengeful
reaction like let's as like a painting
or it was a painting or tapestry, whatever it was
rapist, wasn't it kind of was that more of a common reaction?
It's all within literature?
Or is it more of a kind of laugh it off like the people like
the three characters did in the Tameron?
I think that in terms of the dominant cultural narrative,
there was kind of a suggestion to shrug things off.
This is normal, you know?
But at the same time, and I think it kind of depends on who you ask and when
as well, right? We see.
What I what I find so
fascinating in the case study that I use this text
is that all three of those things are true, right people.
People kept silent about it because they felt ashamed.
People also tried to seek justice in certain situations.
And and all of these things kind of coexisted.
I would say that
the dominant cultural narrative would have been to try to remain silent.
And that's how it kept perpetuating itself. Right.
Because and I don't want to emphasize this.
Either too much or too little, you know, I think
in the Renaissance, the crime was often seen differently.
You know, this is seen,
especially if the woman was married as a crime against the man's property.
Right. And so we think of sexual assault.
I think today is a crime against an individual.
And so that already
changes the way we frame the questions that we're asking, right?
When that doesn't change the fact that this was, of course, still traumatic.
And, you know, clearly was written about and thought about a great deal
with the crime in and of itself was not
seen as a crime against a person, a woman.
It was seen against the man, really, because his property had been,
to put it, bluntly tampered with.
Right. And so that is a difference in in how we think about
how these things got framed.
All right. Thank you so much, Norah, for this absolutely fascinating talk.
And I probably have a question which other people might have.
You know, this was obviously, you know, preceded by the cameras near
the camera and the Bible was 14th century.
And you know, when I read it, they were similar knotty details,
but they were more innocent and more for entertainment.
So if I understand right in here, we have a shift in women's agency.
It's more sort of serious.
They are more sort of messages
and more sort of moral tale and more of a critique of a rape, right?
That's a really good question.
And I did not mention that
that piece of context, which is really important,
these stories were based on the day Cameron, which is written by Boccaccio
in Italy and and Hannah, you're exactly right.
I think that one big difference between these stories and the earlier ones,
I like to say that these tales and the discussions have teeth. Right?
The first set, of course, you know the Cameron scholars who disagree with me
here. But you're right, they are entertaining, you know, and
the discussions afterwards are largely, Oh, what a great story.
Let's move on to the next one.
These stories have teeth in the sense that people really disagree,
and often the discussions after the stories are longer,
richer, more complex than the stories themselves.
And so I think that's absolutely right.
The fact that we also have a woman writer who is invested in female communities
in women's agency in in women's writing.
She often appears as a character in these stories.
She kind of historically appears
and solves a problem in one of these fictional stories.
And so she's clearly invested in in the kinds of issues that women are facing.
I think that's a major difference between this text and its predecessor. Thank you.
So how important
was the social and political power of the woman involved
in determining the level of victim blaming and her believability?
That's a really good question.
Thank you for that.
I think first, it's worth noting that most of the stories that get written down
and that we have here are stories of noble women and their stories of assault.
I think that it was equally and more common, even for women
who didn't even have that level of privilege.
Their stories to go completely unheard any race.
So it's important to note that privilege there in a sense
that only certain kind of women even get to write their trauma.
I think that it's incredibly important
that the power status and the class of the women
in terms of determining how she gets to tell her story.
At the same time, I think what we see here, like in one of the examples
I showed where her lady in waiting told her, Don't talk about this, you know,
you don't have any hope of bringing this to court.
You're just going to cause more attention being drawn to yourself
and people will blame you for it.
That was the lady who was very noble and had a great deal of power,
and a lot of people actually say, that's the author
writing her own story because she she herself was raped, the author.
And so I think it goes to show that this is also universal.
So at the same time, as only certain women get to write their trauma,
clearly, even these certain
women didn't get to always shape the direction that they wanted there.
They didn't always get to seek the justice
or seek the outcome that maybe would have been most helpful.
Does that answer your question a little bit? Thank you.
Norah, I'm really interested
that you've been studying this text for nearly two decades. Yes.
And I'm wondering how
maybe the the changes in public discourse around rape and trauma
in that time span might have changed your reading of this text? Thank you.
I thought a lot about this actually recently, because when I first
started reading this text, this is the furthest thing from my mind.
And, you know, I initially
was focused on storytelling and how the stories were told.
And then I was focused on the body broadly, but certainly nothing
to do with sexual assault or violence.
And then that's exactly right,
as I kind of saw my own moment being shaped by these conversations.
I kind of fell into this topic by first.
Looking at the engravings actually is what pulled me into this topic
and saying there's some interesting stuff going on here.
How does Marguerite, the author, write about these questions and then
just continue to see all of these different narratives
that were coexisting and that I kind of saw in my own moment, too?
And so my decision to pursue this is actually very, very much informed
by, you know, I've thought about different things about this text,
but now I'm being kind of colored
by this pulled into this conversation
that I see marriage often in and in our current day. Yeah.
Kelly. So I'm wondering about
part of the typical kind of way that women's writing
ends up being framed and forgive me if this is if I'm simplifying too much,
but if I'm thinking about sort of like Christine, the person saying that
her counter to report to you
and to male writers is to say that, you know , they're
they're telling their representatives, authorities and women
getting to tell the story differently.
When we see Christine, though, she is
not always as feminist as we want her to be now.
Especially in her narrative on things like rape and that it's always
the virtuous woman who's the only one who has any chance of being recovered.
The idea of the non virtuous woman.
You know, that doesn't even exist, Christine.
Although she does have a full throated, he has a couple.
She's a couple. You know, she
and she just doesn't mention that media does bad things too, right?
But she does have a full throated defense at the end of her narrative about rape,
sort of saying that men should be put to death for this crime.
She finally kind of steps up, says this right?
But the examples that she offers
are largely heroes or heroines or people for.
For Marguerite, we have, yes, noble women, but real people, right?
Or kind of, you know, real enough people.
So I'm wondering how this is this itself,
even if we're talking about noble women or women of privilege,
a moment of the community of women embracing this story
in a way that is more personal and allowing experience
and authority to kind of cross into a new balance, right?
I'm sorry, I'm going through this in a long way.
I'm trying to think through the question.
Through my question,
so that we no longer are even talking about things
like the anti-feminist narratives of
the oppressed us or something, but rather talk me about
these narratives of justice that are that are a part of the real way.
And so now we're we pushing against the authority
that is at least contemporary when we're talking about Mercury
and is the community of women actually capable of setting a tone?
Is that why it comes back so many times, the hip Tamron?
Because it just hasn't been settled?
What do you do with that recursion when you're studying this whole?
Yeah, that's a really good question.
And it kind of gets to why I just can't look at the text
because I can't solve any of those problems.
They're so complex.
But I think you're right, and that's another important thing about this.
This text is that when they start telling these stories, they at least claim
that all of them will be true.
Of course, they're not all true, but they say that they will be.
And so I think that that's an important piece of why it feels more real, right?
And there's supposed to be true and also fairly recent.
And so now, instead of using as as Dr.
kind of classical examples, virtuous women from mythology, we're talking about
a queen. Sure, maybe you are a noble lady,
but someone that you would know who they were
and maybe you would know a little bit about their story.
And so I do think there's something is changed in terms of the tone here,
not just because of the kind of precious and contemporary nature of the people
being talked about, but the fact that the people discussing
how to read, how to interpret they're all bringing contemporary views
to the table and and discussing them and kind of having it out.
And and nothing gets solved, though.
And so I think that's the message to to, well, readers in the 16th century.
But also to us is, you know, this is messy,
this is complicated and you're going to have to think about it. Not.
These are heroes.
Men should be tortured and punished for these crimes, right?
She's drawing attention to the fact that this is more complicated
and these narratives exist and should be dissected and called attention to.
It's not a very good answer to your question, but.
They asked enough of a question, but
one other thing, though, that did occur to me was this is
the sense of authority.
In the end, the conversation is going on and justice, as you talked about,
it goes back to the legal system and the legal narrative.
What about the church narrative?
As you mentioned,
there is these competing sense of where is it a crime or is it not?
Do they? Ever since I'm not familiar enough with Margaret.
Do they do they push against the church at all?
Or is that just like, No, we're not going to do the opposite?
Actually, that's a really good question.
I would say that of the the sexual violence and assaults committed
actually don't. I'm not going to give a proportion,
but a good chunk of them are committed by men of the church.
And there's a really interesting distinction.
Men of the church are almost always punished when this happened,
so they're brought to justice really brutally.
Sometimes their arms and legs are cut off, the entire monasteries burned down
like there is a vicious sense of OK, this is corrupt in the church.
It was this a whole another hot-button issue, you know, and a whole other talk.
So when when men of the church commit sexual assault, they're punished
and they're punished and really memorable ways
when it's men of nobility, you know, contemporaries to these noble ladies.
It's a little bit more.
Ambivalent in terms of how these men are brought to justice are usually not,
which in and of itself is an interesting distinction. Good question.
How much of a difference did it make if the lady was married or not?
The difference in terms of punishment or in terms of whether it got talked about?
Probably punishment, like how the man was seen. Mm hmm.
That's a really good question.
Often this was where punishment became more possible, because now
to come back to that sense of rape being a crime against property,
you know, if the wife is the property of the husband,
then there could be a legal reason to pursue punishment for a crime.
That said, it wasn't again often brought to trial.
So at the end of the day, was it that different?
In practice, not much.
Well, I don't want to say
thank you all. Actually, I think you're.
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