The Ideal Wife
With very few exceptions, women have been relegated to domestic and/or subservient positions throughout history. In nearly every society, social mores or even laws dictated what women could and could not do, how they were to behave, and what roles were suitable for them. Though women were in inferior positions, many societies did place considerable value on women's roles, especially when it came to domestic affairs.
Writers and commentators throughout history have provided us with insight into what their society valued when it came to women. The author Dandin lived in India around 600 C.E. and wrote a collection of stories called Tales of the Ten Princes. Through his storytelling, Dandin described--among other things--the characteristics of the ideal wife. In similar fashion, Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives, who wrote The Office and Dutie of an Husband in 1529, discusses in one chapter what a wife should be like.
Tales of Ten Princes
Office and Duties of a Husband
3 Answers | Add Yours
Hello, those are some very old and interesting documents you are talking about. The links you have provided don't work, but I can comment based on my knowledge of the texts.
If comments about women from both of these men were printed in my local newspaper, with modern values, "Tales of the Ten Princes" is going to get the far worse of it. In short, Dandin's opinion is that women are essentially useless without a man around to tell them what to do. In fact, if the man dies, a woman is really best of following him into the funeral pyre because she will never actually be happy without him.
On the other hand, Vives takes a much more modern idea of women (well, at least modern for his day.) For example, he argues that a lot of the things that men didn't like about women (at least, apparently, in his day) were generally caused because men didn't allow women to become very educated. Educating women would, in his opinion, make them more virtuous and honest.
I think that because of the age of these documents, most people in my community would laugh at its publication in the newspaper as some sort of joke. However, if the date of original publication were omitted and the document were presented as a modern commentary, I believe the one about how husbands should act would raise more "stink". My town is very southern, and although the women for the most part of independent and outspoken, they are also of the old-fashioned "stand by your man" mindset. The men, however, do not like to be told what to do. If they want to hunt, they hunt. If they want to fish, they're gone to the lake. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but I feel safe saying the majority feel this way.
I would have to agree with #3. If these articles were printed without information about the time in which they were written and if they were suitably updated, I think the husbands article would be most controversial because of the unacknowledged male patriarchy that still exists.
We’ve answered 287,978 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question