Living as an “empowered weak”: 17th century women in the Chesapeake and gender norms
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work75 pages
SubjectsThe Chesapeake region, 17th century - History
The Chesapeake region, 17th century - Gender norms
The Chesapeake region, 17th century - Women’s family roles
The Chesapeake region, 17th century - Women - Indentured servitude
The Chesapeake region, 17th century - Widows
The Chesapeake region, 17th century - Free African women
The 17th century Chesapeake region allows for a complex study of women’s roles within a broader demographic, economic, and political shift in the region. For most women living as feme covert, their power rested in making household decisions with their husband. If they became widowed, Chesapeake women with means became feme sole and dictated, at least for their lifetime, what happened to their inheritance. Even with this limited power, wealthy widows did not upset the gendered hierarchy of inheritance. As an “empowered weak”, wealthy widows continued the tradition of granting land to their sons and personal property to their daughters. Indentured women living “on the fringe” of society tried to increase their social standing by forming relationships with men who would be able to pull them out of indentured servitude. Even in these illicit relationships, women were more often and more harshly punished than their male counterparts in fornication and bastardy cases. For free African women, their role in relationships was further reduced based on the free status or race of their partner. For free women marrying a slave, they had to be indentured for a time and their children became slaves. As more women migrated to the Chesapeake from England, women’s power within the family continued to shrink in the 18th century; the small window of opportunity that the 17th century gave women in the unorganized colony disintegrated with the change in population and increased racial and gendered legislation of the 1700s.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
A MULTIPLE CRITERIA DECISION MAKING STATISTICAL METHOD FOR RANKING THE 2007-2011 CHESAPEAKE BAY REPORT CARD REGIONS Sushon, Navneet Chana (2012-01-01)An ecosystem health index combines vast quantities of environmental data across multiple components into a single value representing overall estuary health. Accurate assessment of estuary health is vital to informing ...
Donahue, Alice Davis (2008-08-21)Living History sites often fail to provide interpreters with accurate costuming or training about how clothing tells the history they portray, largely because practitioners undervalue the importance of accurate clothing ...
Moren, Lisa (2013-09-23)I made watercolor pigments out of various urban waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world. I created dozens of paintings, including postcard watercolors and displayed them on a spinning ...