Dangerous Women

Last month, I wrote an article for the Dangerous Women Project. The project asked what it means to be a “dangerous woman” (partly in response to such an accusation aimed at Scotland’s First Minister in 2016). Some of the most dangerous women I could think of were the prostitutes of Renaissance Florence, and so I wrote a piece about them.

The article comes out of my academic work and written for a general audience. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

You can read it here, along with a whole host of other fascinating posts about dangerous women. There are posts about all sorts of women, from past to present. Of particular interest are posts on Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, and her mother Marie de Guise.

Lucas Cranach, The Peasant and the Prostitute

Lucas Cranach, The Peasant and the Prostitute

You can no doubt imagine my interest in this project: Dangerous Women is pretty close to Infamous Women! As the lack of posting here shows, I’ve found it very difficult to juggle this blog with academic research. It’s great to see others working on similar themes. I was especially happy to see how many people wrote about historical women for the Dangerous Women Project. I think this indicates how interested people are in women’s history, and how relevant it is even hundreds of years after the events we study.

2 thoughts on “Dangerous Women

  1. Tom Storm

    Really like your page and your writings. In the interests of gender equality I was looking for female characters in history who could well be described as harridans. Being obnoxious is not the sole domain of males – although we do outnumber females in that regard by, I suspect, a multiple. My research and interest is not academic – my interest is in creating a female character who defies convention and who could basically care less about what people thought of her. I have a soft spot for hardened female characters – who may (or may not) confront a contradiction between their intellect and their biology. Interesting is that Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert was billed as Dangerous Woman Tour…and even though I fall far outside her demographic appeal I consider myself a huge fan of this lovely, talented and courageous young woman.

    1. Gillian Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Tom!

      Defying convention was pretty difficult for women in the past, particularly for those who were poor. Still, some indeed managed this. At opposite ends of the spectrum, you have Joan of Arc and Anne Bonny (both ‘hardened’ in their own way). It was also unlikely that many women were in a position to ‘not care less’ about people’s opinion because public opinion had a powerful influence. For example, people could be convicted of crimes on the basis that (in Italian) publica fama held them to be guilty. This meant that if two or three witnesses gave evidence in court that it was common knowledge that someone was guilty, that could be enough to secure a conviction!

      Good luck with your research. If I can help with anything specific, please let me know!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.