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Renaissance and Modern Gender Roles

Uploaded by etrane66 on May 03, 2004

Gender role is defined simply as the perceived set of expectations, attitudes, and life goals of a particular gender. But who defines these expectations, and for what reason? Why is it ok for a boy to be a fireman, but not a nurse? Why are females discouraged from being discourteous and loud, where it is almost expected of men to do so? Someone or something had to have prescribed these roles for us to follow. -
Without much effort, most of the above question is answered with a quick glance at history. Often referred to as the golden age of humanity, the Renaissance provided the world with a new belief that the individual was the centerpiece of the universe. Without the renaissance the whole philosophy of liberal studies, which is what this institution of higher learning deems as its most important quality, or many other beliefs and ideas would not exist. It no doubt has had a profound impact on the way we approach art, literature, and many other aspects of society. The above seems common knowledge, however a little known fact about the Renaissance is how it shaped modern thought regarding gender and the roles assigned to them.
“…Just as [a man] must show a certain solid and sturdy manliness, so it is seemly for a woman to have a soft and delicate tenderness, with an air of womanly sweetness in her every movement…” (Castiglione 206). In his book, The Courtier, Baldassare Castiglione outlined the ideal man and woman. He outlined what things the genders should be educated on as well as how they should carry themselves in public and private life. In the early 1500’s this was the handbook on how to be a proper individual in society. In the great words of “Sir” Charles Barkley…. anything less would be uncivilized.
For males, Castiglione wished that the proper man exercised regularly and was known to be energetic and full of vigor. He was also to be faithful to whomever he served. His reputation was key and “cowardice or other disgrace, always remains defiled before the world and covered with ignominy”(Castiglione 34). Aside from not being a wimp, the ideal man was to be learned in letters and studies, which today we call the humanities. He was to learn Greek, Latin, as well as his own...

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Uploaded by:   etrane66

Date:   05/03/2004

Category:   European History

Length:   5 pages (1,226 words)

Views:   3234

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