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Essay by   •  March 21, 2012  •  Essay  •  623 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,334 Views

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I believe that women during the Reformation had to weigh the pros and cons to both Protestantism and Catholicism. They both altered how they were supposed to act and how they were suppose to live their lives. If women were to choose Protestantism the benefits they would receive is education without having to go to a monastery to receive it. On the other hand, if women choose Catholicism they can live alone without persecution, as well as the option of going into a monastery to become a nun.

One of the reasons many women were lured away from Catholicism and to Protestantism is education. Under Protestantism women could get an education without having to go into the covenant. This was a major benefit compared to Catholicism, where the only way a woman could become educated is if they were a noble or a nun. This leads me to believe that Protestantism was much more appealing to the middle class and peasants rather then nobles. Due to this reason, I believe that Protestantism grew more popular in areas of the countries where there were fewer nobles.

Also in Protestantism is the encouragement to become a wife and a mother. Where this was a great thing, it was also a bad thing because women who were not married began to become persecuted for not being married and having children. Over time, some people claimed them to be witches or evil and some were even killed. In comparison, in Catholicism if a woman chose not to marry they had more options rather than in Protestantism. In Catholicism, as a woman, you could join the monastery and become a nun. While in the monastery, a woman could receive education and not be persecuted for being an unmarried woman. This was a added benefit for some women. The witch hunts affected women in this time in many different ways. It affected women who were Protestant more than women who were Catholic. This is due to the fact that women who were protestant and not married were over time called witches and persecuted. A catholic woman that was single, however, could always join the monastery and avoid persecution.

There is no substantial evidence that shows there was a change in gender relationships during this time. Regardless if you were a protestant or catholic woman, you were still thought to be inferior to me, a mindset that will not be changed until the early 20th Century.

Women's spiritual roles during this time were severely diminished if you were a Protestant. This is due to the shift in Protestantism where they started to rely on saints, especially the Virgin Mary. This caused women's roles in Protestantism to majorly declined during this time. In Catholicism, however, women's roles did see much change, there they had the female saints and they worshiped the Virgin Mary.

Luther's attitude towards women shifted when he said that they should not be thrown into the monastery, but that they should become wives and mothers. The main reason for his change of heart

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