When the times of Shakespeare are considered as a point of reference from which one can use to infer about what society was like then, and to try to understand which values were prevalent at the time, and how morals and tradition played an important role, as well as the family, in the life of the woman of those times, one can understand better which traits are acceptable and expected in a lady, and how the apparently misogynistic aspects of “The Taming of the Shrew” were mere and common for that time.
Not too long ago, women were not allowed to vote in the US, however, Power Relationships between men and women are not new. Not to go into detail about other times in history, when women were on top, in different societies and times.
Women today only seem to be considered a very important group during the elections, since women make up about 50% of the US population, and are capable of influencing the entire family, thus important enough for the candidacies of all. But still, inequalities are evident in all places, except for fashion models and porn stars, as a rule.
Not too long ago, the woman who pursued an education, a career, was not considered suitable for marriage. And this issue is also present in “The Taming of the Shrew”. Not only did the woman in Shakespeare’s time was submissive to her husband, she also abdicated of her needs and wants for the service of those she loved the most. And the shrew, who was rough, and sharp-tongued, hateful, well, she opposed largely from that time’s model of the ideal wife.
That is precisely the myth that Stephanie Coontz says is fading away. In her opinion column in the NY Times, she wrote this article called “The MRS and the Ph.D.” to talk about, among other things, how this old notion that women would have to choose between an education and a husband is hardly vanishing, given;
“TODAY women earn almost 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees and more than half of master’s and Ph.D.’s. Many people believe that, while this may be good for women as income earners, it bodes ill for their marital prospects.”
The other side of the coin, in the marriage front that is, seems to be “what men want”. The shift in men’s preferences may be due to the fact that post-war industrialism, when women joined the workforce to maintain production during the times of war, caused a shift in the behavior and what we have today are the consequences of the re-allocation of limited resources – economics explains sociology well! Of course there are centuries of repression suddenly the opening we were all waiting for all of us to break free, from ancient thought, from the oppression of those who must not have had mothers.
According to Stephanie Coontz, nowadays men want intelligent, good looking ladies to socialize with, as opposed to Shakespeare’s version of the 3D women of today (Dinners, Diamonds, Divorce), compared to the antique, muted and black and white “re-run” that grandpa used to love, or so they said. Maybe that old notion is tiring, boring, and perhaps there lies the link that many miss, between obedience and monogamy.
Most importantly, is the common sense, which supposedly allowed freedom to happen, really true? Or is “our time” a very subtle form of control, where choices are but a dream.