Impatient Griseldas: Women and the Perpetration of Violence in Sixteenth-Century Glasgow

Elizabeth Ewan
2011 Florilegium  
Florilegium Popular stories and sermons suggest that one of the most obvious characteristics of the city woman was her ability to quarrel with those around her. Patient Griselda seems to have been as rare in the daily life of the Middle Ages as in that of other centuries, and feminine outspokenness can be found at all social levels. -Margaret Wade Labarge In her 1986 overview of medieval women's lives, Margaret Wade Labarge drew attention to women's verbal assertiveness. 1 Since then, there
more » ... been many innovative studies of medieval and early modern women's 'disorderly speech,' studies which have greatly advanced our understanding of premodern gender relations, dynamics of household and community, and gendered expectations of behaviour. 2 However, women made use of their fists as well as their tongues: insults could all too easily lead to blows. Until recently, less attention has been paid to women's physical assaults on their opponents, perhaps because the ratio of women to men involved in physical violence has historically been lower than that involved in verbal violence. As Garthine Walker has pointed out, the quantification common in historical studies of crime can result in a tendency to ignore women's experience: "What tends to happen is that
doi:10.3138/flor.28.6 fatcat:opqnzqgfirhnnl6saaesavmn7a