Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 43595
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hutchison , Emily J.,
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Sex, Knowledge and ‘Women of Sin’ in the Registre Criminel du Châtelet de Paris (1389–92)
  • Source: Gender and History 32, 1 ( 2020): Pages 131 - 148. Available with a subscription: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12459
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Courts of Law Friendship Prostitutes Reputation Sexual Violence Sexuality
  • Award Note: Feminae Article of the Month, March 2021
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 14
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Using the Registre criminel du Châtelet de Paris (1389–1392), this article examines the interaction of different knowledges circulating about filles de pechié (women of sin) in late-medieval Paris: those of the court, the local community and within tightknit female groups. The assumptions the tribunal produced of sexually active women often relied on and mirrored the ideas their male peers held of them as public objects rather than full persons. Consequently, women of sin were at higher risk of sexual assault and murder, or torture and execution in the courts. However, the trials also indicate that a woman's local reputation did not necessarily suffer if she was sexually active, and that strong female circles produced their own knowledges about love, sex and desire. Women relied on these supports. While the objectification of sexually active women often violently affected their experiences in both the streets and the courts, the Registre criminel enables scholars to look beyond the tribunal's simplistic attempts to dichotomise female bodies into honest/dishonest. This article builds on current research on medieval sex and gender that illustrate the complex ways in which people were thinking about sexuality and producing fama at street level. [Reproduced from the journal page on the Wiley Online Library website: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12459]
  • Author's Affiliation: Mount Royal University, Canada
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2020.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00161071 (print); 15275493 (online)