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Get Off The Fence - Canterbury Tales

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by

Laura Kirshner

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Get Off The Fence - Canterbury Tales

Get Off The Fence

Canterbury Tales

Wife of Bath
Through the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, Chaucer presents women as the
object of satire
, portraying them as lustful, dishonest, unreasonable, & shallow gold-diggers.
OR
Chaucer presents women as an
instrument of satire
, using them to challenge these stereotypes and question the oppression and double standards that women faced during this time (the ideal woman should be virginal and submissive, while a man could have paramours or multiple wives without judgment).
Alison - "The Miller's Tale"
Alison in the “Miller’s Tale” goes unpunished because it is her husband and society's fault that she lives an unfulfilled life. Plus, if men can have affairs, why can’t women? It’s actually more Nicholas’s fault for pursuing a married woman in the first place. Alison is an instrument of satire and Chaucer sympathizes with her.
Agree or Disagree.
Blurred Lines
More than 20 British universities have banned "Blurred Lines", forbidding the playing of the song at school functions, arguing that the song and the video are utterly degrading to women and appear to glorify rape and violent sex.
However, Thicke has defended the song saying that the lyrics such as, "That man is not your maker" are a feminist movement and that the song is a playful one about his high school sweetheart wife of 20 years.

Miley -Slut / Robin - Stud
Dear Society,
If you think a woman in a tan vinyl bra and underwear, grabbing her crotch and grinding up on a dance partner is raunchy, trashy, and offensive but you don’t think her dance partner is raunchy, trashy, or offensive as he sings a song about “blurred” lines of consent and propagating rape culture, then you may want to reevaluate your acceptance of double standards and your belief in stereotypes about how men vs. women “should” and are “allowed” to behave.

Sincerely,
Dr. Jill

How'd You Do?
Please complete the self-assessment questions and respond to the question that the author poses at the end of her article.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!
You know that movie starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt called
What Women Want
? Before it was written, the screenwriters probably thought it was a new concept: "Hey, let's make a movie in which a guy is able to read women's minds so he can figure out exactly what women want! Wouldn't that be funny? Wouldn't it be revealing?" The thing is, a guy named Chaucer already wrote a poem about six hundred years ago that does exactly that: the Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale gets inside the head of a woman who's totally sure about what she wants, and how to get it.

The questions is, though, what is Chaucer's view on women's desires and behavior?
In the show
Homeland
, Saul was so focused on his job that he never spent time with or paid attention to his wife. After he returns home early from a business trip, he finds his wife having dinner with another man. Though he's upset, he comes to realize that he has neglected her and ends up saying, "Forgive me. I'd forgotten how beautiful you are."

Do you sympathize with and forgive the woman in this instance like Saul chooses to? Is he to blame for her infidelity?
It's more than 600 years after Chaucer wrote the
Canterbury Tales
, and it seems that we haven't made any progress as far as double standards go.
Why is Miley a slut (as many women & men have contended) and Robin a stud?
And unperceived he caught her by the puss,
Saying: "Indeed, unless I have my will,
For secret love of you, sweetheart, I'll spill."
And held her hard about the hips, and how!
And said: "O darling, love me, love me now,
Or I shall die, and pray you God may save!"
And she leaped as a colt does in the trave,
And with her head she twisted fast away,
And said: "I will not kiss you, by my fay!
Why, let go," cried she, "let go, Nicholas!
Or I will call for help and cry 'alas!'
Do take your hands away, for courtesy!"
What do you think? Does Robin Thicke's song celebrate or objectify women?
Full transcript