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Christine's wish for a world that honors women is reflected by the City of Ladies. In reality, gender equality exists in the world and women are still second-class. Christine thus has a vision for a visionary culture that has done amazing things in the past. Christine wishes for a better opportunity for the women in the modern world. The author insists that women are now delegated to homework as they are not considered good enough for jobs. When the women work, they are paid less for doing the same job as their husbands. Women still have fewer powers to make decisions in the community and they also struggle raising their voice on issues that are affecting them.
In her study, Christine takes a slim volume that a friend had given her. She is shocked by the harsh portrayal of inconsistent nature of women. The author of the book has portrayed women as very immoral. She is devastated by this state of affairs. Suddenly, a flash of light surprises her, and she is able to see three women who represent Justice, Rectitude, and Reason. One of the three women advises her not be afraid and that they have come to assist her. She is not supposed to believe all that the male philosophers’ say since it is their nature to disagree on almost everything. One of the lady argues that Christine has not been able to see who she truly is because she has been listening to men all through her life. One of the women advises Christine that she needs to build a city where all the best ladies in the world can live as a family without having to listen to men. One of the women tells her that the city will be called the City of Ladies. She is even advised on where to find the materials for construction. The first lady also narrates much about the world of the Amazons, a community that is made up of women warriors who existed based on the Greek mythology. This kind of society is a replica of what Christine is trying to construct. Lady Reason has the great powers of reason and logic just like in men. Lady Rectitude represents good behavior, she emphasizes on understanding the right thing and putting it in practice. She advises Christine to measure and cut the wood and stone appropriately when building the city. Lady Justice represents fairness and she argues that justice must always be objective and people should be judged based on facts. The golden container in her hand represents what everyone in the world deserves. Lady Justice vows to assist Christine in the building of the roofs and populating the city with a mighty Queen and worthy women. After having an opportunity to listen to the three ladies, she feels relaxed. She understands that constructing the city will be a hard task, however with God on her side, she believes that everything is possible. After holding her prayers, she is then taken to the site where the city will be built. When Christine gets up, she goes to a nearby field where she digs holes for the foundation of the city. Christine tries to find out why men have written terrible stories about women. Lady reason informs her that men’s hatred towards women is against the law of nature since God intention was for the two to love each other and stay in peace.
Lady Reason tries to explain to her why men hate women. Most men may have good intentions while demonizing women because they do not like sin and may feel that all women are the same. Lady Reason insinuates that men are making a great mistake in generalizing all women. She argues that it is not appropriate for men to argue that all women are bad based on personal experience. Lady Reason however, admits that a terrible woman is worse and cannot be tolerated in the society. From this chapter, we are able to realize that women have never been given the opportunity to argue their point since this kind of society is dominated by men. It is also evident that the society is marred by discrimination against women. Most men may attack women based on their early immoral life since they do not know how to express their guilt. Some men criticize women because no woman is willing to go out with them. Some men hate women because they are impotent or basically, because women are smarter than them. Christine is interested in knowing why Ovid wrote very negative things about women. According to Lady Reason, Ovid may have known much about poetry, however his knowledge on human nature is very limited. Ovid was a promiscuous man who was castrated by the Romans because of his ill behavior (Pizan 1999). According to Lady Reason, Ovid source is quite unreliable. Lady Reason argues that the criticism on women by various authors begins with men’s’ problems. Christine is able to quote Cato, who insinuates that women are like roses, however beneath them are terrible thorns. However, Lady Reason responds by saying that the thorn symbolizes the desire of women to live good lives. Some authors have argued that women are generally lusty, however, Lady Reason refutes this by saying that if this was the case then most women would be walking to men to have sex. According to Lady Reason, women have self-control and that is why they always drink less. According to Reason, it is fair for women to cry because even Jesus cried at certain points in his life.
While digging the foundation she keeps asking various questions. She inquires why women are not allowed to become lawyers and judges. Lady Reason tells her that God has made people differently for different jobs and this should not mean that one should control or dominate the other. It is in fact good for women to become lawyers and doctors. Lady Reason tells Christine that women are good leaders and she narrates to her the story of Empress Nicaula who ruled Ethiopia and made the country prosperous. Lady Reason has provided other examples of women who ruled other countries successfully. One of the woman is Fredegund who ruled France after her husband’s death. According to Lady Reason, if all men understood the value of the women, the household may be perfect. The question of weak body is pointless since someone is measured based on their mind. Lady Reason points out that women have demonstrated courage just as much as men. While putting the foundation stones, Lady Reason narrates the story of Queen Semiramis who advised her husband on war tactics and ruled her kingdom wisely. Lady Reason narrates about the Amazons, which was made up of only women warriors. The Amazon was ruled by women and they conquered so many territories. Hercules and Theseus attempted to capture Amazon after being attacked by Hippolyta and Menalipe, but later on they were able to take the women prisoners. Other examples that have been cited regarding the ability of women is Penthesilea who stayed a virgin for the rest of her life. Amazonia lasted for a duration of 800 years. Christine along with the three magical ladies has demonstrated the power and ability of women. The stories of great women such as Minerva, Queen Ceres are aimed at motivating Christine and showing that women are equal and able compared to men. In the entire narration of the chapters, we are convinced that what a man can do, a women can do better.
Pizan, C. (1999). The book of the city of ladies. London: Penguin UK.
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