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Lecture 5

MUS 365 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Concupiscence, Daniel Defoe, Moral Agency

Course Code
MUS 365
Benjamin Ordaz

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Gender & Race in Country Music
Part 2
19th Century Gender Issues 2
o Evangelicalism, through its influence upon American women when women had
constituted a majority of those in attendance in Protestant churches from the
mid 17th century had between the 1790’s and the 1830’s developed another
image of women, one that posited women as passionless in the face of self-
sacrifice and sensuality
o This concept of passionlessness would be taken up by male physicians in sexual
studies of women from mid-century into the early 20th century
o Until quite recently, historians tended to…associate the idea that women lacked
sexual passion with social repression and dysfunction
o Now that attitude has been challenged by the possibility that 19th century
ideology held some definite advantages for women…
o A full appraisal of the idea that women lacked sexual passion requires an
investigation into its origins
o Obviously, a single conception of women’s sexuality never wholly prevails
o Western civilization up to the 18th century, as Ellis discovered, accentuated
women’s concupiscence; a 15th century witch hunter’s guide warned for
instance, that “carnal lust…in women is insatiable…”
o I would acknowledge that there was a traditionally dominant Anglo-American
definition of women as especially sexual that was reversed and transformed
between the 17th and the 19th centuries into the view that women…were less
carnal and lustful than men
o Women became a majority in the Protestant churches in America in the mid 17th
century and continued to increase their numerical predominance until, by the
mid 19th century, Christianvalues and virtues and “female” values and virtues
were almost identical
o Early American prescriptive and legal documents suggest that the New England
colonists expected women’s sexual appetites to be comparable with men’s, if
not greater
o And yet it was objectionable for women to exercise the sexual initiative;
regardless of women’s sexual drives, the religious and social context required
female subordination
o Puritan theology weakened but did not destroy the double standard of sexual
morality, whose underlying tenet was the view that men have property in
women and that the value of this property is immeasurably diminished if the
woman at any times has sexual relations with anyone other than her husband in
the second century of colonial settlement one finds many more prescriptions for
the role of women
o Since British social ideals became more influential in the mid 18th century with
the decline of Puritanism
o British prescriptions” must be taken into consideration
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