By Martine Jansen
That female sovereignty is still a bit of a thing, is proven every day in the media. Though broadly established in many countries, a woman’s prerogative to make her own decisions is, as of yet, not a universally accepted good. Apparently, female sovereignty is a subject for the long haul.
Over 500 years ago, a poem was written that would become one of the most popular stories of late medieval England: The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle (WSG). Despite the comical aspects of the story, I would like to argue that WSG is a tale about the importance of female sovereignty and the role men play in the instalment of it.
Some critics suggest, that in a world where patriarchy ruled, such a reading is highly unlikely. However, the Arts do not follow the status quo. And it is the Arts that typically instigate the subtle yet most profound changes in society. The romance of WSG can be read as a contemporary call for a long longed-after change in the world of back then – a quality that makes it still a very relevant read in the world of right now.
You can read the entire essay on Sovereignty in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle here.