Men Fear Women, and Other Generalizations Kruegers article, Women Readers and the Politics of Gender in Le Roman de Silence, focuses on several different interpretations of the romances intentions towards presenting the role of women. No conclusions are formed as to whether or not the author of Silence, Heldris, is being misogynistic or proto-feminist. Krueger points out that this question of Heldris intent will probably never be answered definitively. Her article does argue that, while women are told to be silent in the romance, there is also a challenge to the traditional roles of men and women because of Silences excellence at being a man. Naturally, she cannot fool Nature for long, but she does a pretty good job of hiding her sex for a while. There are several lines from the romance I would like to focus on. During lines 3240-3280, the minstrels with whom Silence has been traveling and performing begin to hate him.
They are positively disgusted with his superb musicianship, and jealous beyond control about how much everyone loves him. They say that their own talents are multiplied in him, suggesting not only that he is a better artist than they, but also that his talents come from theirs and are not at all his own. For a moment, let us assume that this entire rant is based on the fact that Silence is really a woman, then assume that she represents all women who have tried to break free of the mold Nature prepared for them (for as these men see it, the natural way is the way it has always been, and why should it be otherwise?).
Women and Men Communicate Differently The process of neo-Liberal dogmas, such as celebration of diversity and elimination of sexism, being showed up peoples throats, brought about a situation, when employment policies correspond less and less to the objective reality of interaction between genders at workplace. Men and women are expected to execute their professional duties with the same ...
The disgust of the minstrels could then be read as a jealousy and fear of women in general. They are shocked and outraged that either were not as good as we used to be, or this upstart is the best jongleur there ever was. Does this mean that men must become weaker for women to become strong? Or could it be that the best man ever is actually a woman? No, it couldnt possibly be that a woman could do a better job of being a man than a man could.
But Silence excels at being a man and a woman. What does this say about gender? Could the sexes be closer than previously believed? And this was written in the middle ages. Now, notice the minstrels fear that Silence will try to share the profits 50/50: if he wants to, hell split the profits. That will more than double our losses. And earlier in the rant, weve created a master out of our servant. Maybe this is Heldris speaking of women, and how they should not get an equal share of anything for fear that they will try to become more powerful than men.
Why not blame the gender gap on this fear? I think it makes a lot of sense. Im going to generalize a lot here: men are afraid that women will outdo them, and because men have kept women silent in the sewing room for so long, the women will want to split the profits and be given equal status once they have proved their worth. So, men keep women silent in the sewing room, reminding them all the time that they should try to be good, but that they forgive them their horrible nature (the saying, women, cant live with em, cant live without em is evidence of this notion of ill-natured women being forgiven by men).
Forgive me for making so many generalizations. I am aware of the misogynistic tones implied in Silence when Heldris begins a line with, Women are Isnt it interesting, though, that women still dont make the same salaries as men?