Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

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.

October 2018 [Posted September 2019]

Eugenia on trial
A mother gives her daughter advice, Die Winsbeckin (The Lady from Winsbecke) in the Codex Manesse, 1300-1340, Zurich, Heidelberg University Library, Cod. Pal. germ. 848, fol. 217r. (Source: Wikimedia Commons, open access)

Burge, Amy. "The Rough Guide to Love: Romance, History and Sexualization in Gendered Relationship Advice." Journal of Gender Studies 27, 6 (2018): 649-660.

Abstract: "Sexualization is changing the way we think about romantic love. According to recent research, young people are increasingly confronted by narrowing ideals of sexual attractiveness making romantic intimacy increasingly difficult forcing a choice between 'raunch or romance’. This article investigates the alleged distinction between romance and sexualization, in the process challenging claims that the current crisis of sexualization is a product of societal change in late modernity. Responding to a call to consider sexualization from a hitherto neglected historical perspective, the paper employs critical discourse analysis to identify the formation of gendered meanings and practices in How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, a late medieval advice text for young women, and twenty-first-century advice from the MyBliss website. Focusing on sexualized clothing, contact with others, reputation and social status, the paper argues that in both medieval and modern advice, discourses of romantic love and sexualization are mutually dependent. In addition, similarities between medieval and modern advice reveal that our current sexualization crisis is not solely a product of modern life, but is part of a longer pattern of gender normativity and inequality." [Reproduced from the journal page on the Taylor & Francis Online website.]