Hildegard- A sort of Feminist

Men are most naturally seen as the higher sex, based on the social differences between male attributes and female ones. Males are seen as strong and stoic, while females are seen as soft and kind. Hildegard is famous for challenging the idea of females as inferior by presenting both biological sexes with a purpose: Women are made for men, and men are equally made for women.

Today, Hildegard would still be arguing her point as the sexist issues remain. Maybe people aren’t standing up and stating that females are made for men, but these ideas are embedded in social systems. If advertising in the middle ages had existed, it would look about the same as it does now: products reiterating sexuality to make women more appealing to men. The ideas behind advertising fall under the concept that women exist to make men happy. Basically, nothing has changed from the middle ages when people believed women are made for men.

When a woman does something amazing, her femininity is praised with it, for a man, he is simply congratulated. Quite often one will hear, “Hillary Clinton, the first female president”, we will know sexism is gone when Hillary is considered president, not a ‘female’ president. It was a huge deal for Hildegard to be presenting visions from God, and the only way this was possible was through the power of a male. Hildegard would not have been taken seriously if she had not sought the support of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, just as Hillary cannot be taken seriously without public support by male figures.

Although Hildegard’s ideas were progressive for that time, they would not be seen as entirely feminist today. She was seeking acknowledgment for what women bring to the world, but through this she was reiterating stereotypes, being that women are maternal. I can conclude that her ideas are strictly biological, arguing that women have just as much importance in the world based on what they physically provide. The difference between middle-aged feminism and 21st-century feminism is biological vs. social. If Hildegard was alive today, I believe she would agree with feminism because of how strongly she argued for basic acknowledgment of females.

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