Article of the Month
Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances,
and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.
Rieder, Paula M. "The Uses and Misuses of Misogyny: A Critical Historiography of the Language of Medieval Women’s Oppression.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 38, 1 (2012): 1-18.
This article examines the development of language used to describe the
oppression of medieval women—particularly the terms patriarchy and misogyny—and its
connection with the women’s movement of the late twentieth century. It argues that the
broad application of the word misogyny by medieval historians to describe a wide spectrum
of anti-feminine attitudes and the tendency to understand misogyny and patriarchy as
coterminous are inaccurate and problematic. The article supports this position first with
an analysis of medieval clerical texts that use the common medieval linkage of women
with sex and pollution. The analysis suggests that the usage of this negative linkage is not
always misogynistic. The article then analyzes three medieval sermon collections intended
for preaching to lay audiences and suggests that the sermons, though androcentric or
paternalistic and so in some sense patriarchal, are not misogynistic. [Reproduced from the journal website]
Previous Articles of the Month