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Womens lives during the sixteenth century colonial America - Essay Example

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The socio-historical studies on women’s lives during the sixteenth century colonial America were monumental in shaping the status that women of the modern world today enjoy. From the twentieth century-woman perspective, it must have been an extremely difficult and daunting to live in that period. …
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Womens lives during the sixteenth century colonial America
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Download file to see previous pages The socio-historical studies on women’s lives during the sixteenth century colonial America were monumental in shaping the status that women of the modern world today enjoy. From the twentieth century-woman perspective, it must have been an extremely difficult and daunting to live in that period. And we have our women ancestors to thank for what they have to endure and how it was able to shape the socio-cultural construction of womanhood. This essay will basically tackle the different experiences as survived by women during the historical colonization of Europe in the Americas. To begin with, the sixteenth century woman could be considered as someone who existed to uphold the domination of Europeans conquistador, even when they are unaware of it or even when they have exerted much effort to resist the colonizers mere presence in their lives. As women took the essential role of reproduction, whether slave or master, they were seen as a key factor to maintain the system of patriarchy as well as the continuation of its bloodline. In the case of Spanish borderlands, women slaves were almost always subjected to sexual abuse by their masters. These women slaves themselves were not any given any rights to retaliate or file a cause against their perpetrators, except for the few lucky ones1 who were given certain privileges to live freely after servitude. And the product of these sexual abuses paved way to a second generation of hybrid children. These children, though born from a slave, had actually acquired with them a benefit not enjoyed by their mothers. These children were accepted in the master’s family and treated as part of the kin where they are given equal rights, a privilege they will never have being a slave. Patriarchy then is underscored as this circumstance displays the following characteristics: (1) the male as being reproductively potent and is able to procreate, and (2) the man’s ability to sustain the needs of his nuclear and even these additional and extended families. This more often than not violent relationship of masters and their women slaves have actually mutually benefited both parties. Without their full consciousness, masters have ensured for their women slaves economic benefits for their children while simultaneously these women slaves have ensured for their masters the persistence of his bloodline. Another case where women have more than just a reproductive functional role was in Chesapeake Bay. Women (and men) were imported as indentured slaves due to the lack of manpower to sustain the area’s tobacco production. They are then to serve their European masters while at the same time given the responsibility to toil the fields during planting and harvest periods. In this case, women were forced to double-hat various functions so they could acquire what was deemed as their prize for being slaves – freedom. By securing themselves trans-Atlantic passages and little property after the period of enslavement, these slaves were given power to ultimately take control of their lives anew. This new kind of power was an advantageous mechanism for them as they have already adapted and adopted the lifestyle and even the culture of their masters. Their agency allows them to subject themselves to servitude with the end goal of acquiring power through independence. With freedom being prized, it is almost wrong to say that these women are not empowered. Power was within their capacity in fact, but it was not naturally obtained. Certain efforts had to be exerted and many sufferings had to be endured for the end goal of achieving freedom. New England women, on the other hand, because of the nature of Puritanism, were never allowed to inherit the properties of their departed husbands in contrast to Chesapeake women who have the full autonomy over their husband properties upon being widowed. The Church was made the new and automatic owners of properties of widowed women. Looking at the picture, it would seem to us that Chesapeake women had the upper hand over the New Englanders. But dissecting ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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