by Garret Robinson
God has made man and woman to serve their singular purpose, to recreate. So why would we, in our right minds, try to differentiate between the two? Sure male ingenuity and strength can overwhelm female traits, but in our core, we are as similar as we can be.
Men have always been bred for one singular purpose. To war. However, Rosewood’s development and adoption of the Imperial Army system, has made it possible for women to take part in war. These new-age scholars believe that women have the requirements to compete with men on the battlefield. I will tell you that they do not. Women are weaker. It is by God’s own law. Dismissing even that, take this example:
A village has a population of 50 men and 50 women. Normally, in the case of a catastrophic defeat, 5-10 men would return to the village. In 20 years’ time the village might still be around. This is because a minority of men have no problem with reproduction. However, if they roles were reversed and there were 50 men and only 5 women, come 20 years, the village would be no more.
Rosewood’s unique position allows women to progress much further than anywhere else in the world. For better or for worse, women have been equalized by law when it comes to service in the Imperial Army. I don’t see that tradition going out of style any time soon. However, most noble levies are still made of men, since they understand that one woman is worth ten men.
It is no secret that the Sirius Empire had a huge role to play in helping spread the role of women within the clergy. Female priests, scribes, and even Bishops, while uncommon, were not a thing to be frightened of. Since Rosewood revels in being unique, it is of no surprise that women would be given the right to marry others, to hold funerals, and to hold sermons. Given enough time, I could see a woman Pope being elected. If such a funny thing were to happen, she would be born here. I’m sure.
Marriage and divorce
Despite Rosewood’s attitude towards how equal men and women are, husbands still hold near-absolute power over their wives. As a piece of meat would be sold over the counter, from butcher to farmer, so too are women sold by their fathers to their husbands. Their agreement to such an arrangement is secondary. What’s important is the prestige and coin involved in the transaction. Women sacrifice their freedoms in order to gain the protection of their husbands and brothers and fathers. Divorce is not really an option for the peasantry. If a husband beat his wife, there was a greater chance of her family beating him to death, than it was to organize a church-sponsored divorce. The citizenry had it better, but the only grounds for a divorce would be a monastic oath, apostasy, or finding out that the spouses were too closely related.
We have arrived at the darker themes. Prostitution is not uncommon, in fact, it is a growing industry. Slave owners, in some cases even female, would have up to 100 slave women specially kept for sex. Bathhouses and back alleys flourished. A good time with a common woman would cost about 100 buckles, while more experienced and renowned women could charge up to 500. Sex is usually of no pleasure to the woman. They do not feel things the same way we do. Their bodies are frail and therefore, intimacy comes at a cost. Women having sex is a thing reserved only for future mothers and victims of rape.
Women were forbidden from helping in the governing process, they could have Royal titles, even Empresses. However, they were denied the right of law writing, as they were seen as overly emotional. The Elders remain as the primary source of the Empire’s law, as they have the most knowledge and experience. This remains the case today. As a result of this most laws favor men over women. There is still justice if you are a highborn woman. Common folk do not have the commodity of justice. They receive it if the Monarch deems it fit and if he is in a good mood. If their husbands committed a crime, they would often be the ones to take the fall, therefore laws were passed which pardoned the woman of her husband’s wrongdoing unless she was directly responsible.
Summa Summarum, women are the other half to this coin we call life. Life is not possible without them. However, the intellectual circles around Rosewood have taken it as their right to question the status of women within society. As it tends to happen with fledgling kingdoms, we are prone to mistakes, therefore I advise caution and to look to the past and learn from it. So to answer the Woman Question, yes I do believe that women are equal to men. In some aspects they may be lacking, like intellect or strength, nonetheless they make up for it with other redeeming qualities. Rosewood serves as a beacon that being born a woman doesn’t necessarily determine your path. You do.