20 December 2019

Who is Wearing the Pants? Relationships between Men and Women in the Early Modern Period

Source: Youtube

The battle of the sexes is one of the most prominent themes in the festive, joyful culture of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Numerous images, theatre plays, parades, songs and other performative texts dating from this period show women dominating their partners, ridiculous cases of domestic violence and cunning wives cheating on their husbands.

In this short video, Dr Katell Lavéant (Medieval Culture), Dr Cécile de Morrée (Medieval Culture) and Rozanne Versendaal MA (Early Modern Literature) reveal that these representations of relationships between men and women were not only meant to be funny, but that they also served other objectives. They offered opportunities to discuss serious matters in a light-hearted way, they enabled people to try out and criticize various gender roles without social consequences and they were used by printers to make religious treatises on marriage more attractive.