History 2185 Lecture Notes - Femininity, Infant Mortality, Ejaculation

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31 Jan 2013

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Nov, 19, 2012
The Colonies
-Deals with 17-18th century with some influence from the enlightenment (USA built on these principles)
-The colonies were an opportunity to create a new society but we have to ask to what extent they just replicated
European society and it is clear than in most cases they just tried to imitate the old world because they instated
patriarchy, gender restrictions, etc
-They were very insecure and vulnerable in the colonies because they left everything they knew for a new land,
climate, native neighbours, economic problems, and there was very little government structure
-Institutions that were stable in Europe were in flux here so they tried to emulate familiar customs for comfort
-Penalties for not conforming could be harsh because of their fear of instability
-Wives were usually married to farmers or artisans and they had four main roles:
1. To populate the colonies with European blood
2. Provide their farms with labour from children they bore (also have heirs to leave the property to)
3. Perform unpaid domestic labour (this is why male farmers had wives to begin with)
4. Perform unpaid farm labour
-There was sexual division of labour but there was little concept of private and public on the farms because males
and females were all working at the same place
-Women were seen as crucial for survival and their work was valued like men’s but women themselves were
deemed inferior
-Femininity was defined as pious ness, modesty, chastity, passivity, dependence, and submission to male authority
-Not all of these requirements could be met by women because the demands of day to day life were intense and
there were mixed messages because women were supposed to be weak and yet be capable of hard labour
-Women had no direct public or legal role and they could not participate at church, own land, or have custody of
their children (man was in control of the whole family)
-On average they would have five children giving birth every 2-3 years and because infant mortality was high ¼
children died before the age of one
-Step families were common because of deaths of spouses as women died in childbirth and men died as soldiers
and often the surviving spouse would marry their sister or brother in law
-Men had total control but they were financially obligated to support and defend their wives so they were like
benevolent dictators
-Manliness was defined by owning property, being a respectful husband (doesn’t mean they were loving), keeping
a peaceful and orderly home, and participating in public life
-As there was more development a gaming culture emerged for men with cockfights, gambling, and saloons and
taverns all becoming forms of popular entertainment
-Gender expectations were rigid and punishment was harsh for operating outside of them
-In 1629 C. Thomas Hall who was a cross dresser was brought in for this offence against his community
-He preformed female tasks like needle work and it is strange that the public was curious about his sexuality but
about which gender he fit under
-After examination by many parties including women they found he had a small ineffective penis and they
disagreed on his sex but all agreed that his behaviour didn’t match whatever sex he was
-This was seen as needing to be stabilized and the true offence was diminishing himself to acting like a woman
-In New France white women were treated better than in other colonies because there were so few of them and
thus they were highly valued and when they resisted gender expectations there was less punishment
-There were also no witch trials in the colony of New France because women were so valued and it would be
detrimental to be killing them
-1690’s there was a witch craze in Salem Massachusetts and the movie The Crucible was a play first about the it
and it was written by the author because of the climate in the 1950’s dealing with Communism (people hunted and
sought out of the American public)
-If you were blacklisted by the government you could not get employment anywhere and they really went after
people in Hollywood like actors and screenwriters and Arthur Collins saw the parallels between the two events and
wrote the play
-Ideas of witchcraft were brought by immigrants to the colonies and they said there was black and white magic
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