Medievalist Eleanor Janega turns to the Middle Ages, the era that bridged the ancient world and modern society, to unfurl its suppositions about women and reveal what's shifted over time—and what hasn't.
Those inclined to see our era as a feminist golden age will find a timely corrective in The Once and Future Sex, medieval historian Eleanor Janega’s accessible and entertaining study of how women were viewed in medieval society ... In passing, Ms. Janega demolishes modern 'scientific' studies telling us that the human male is programmed by evolution to prefer a certain 'waist-to-hip ratio' as a clue to a woman’s reproductive potential ... Ms. Janega’s witty but merciless dissection of medieval misogyny is a welcome challenge to us to stop recycling the same old prejudices.
The text takes on the humorous, slightly irreverent tone of a popular humanities professor; misconceptions are skewered, and Janega’s points go down nice and easy, including her view that not a whole lot has changed. This book offers fresh, insightful takes on the medieval period from a feminine standpoint.
Janega... pays close attention to the ancient and medieval standards of beauty, many of which persist to this day ... A breezy, pertinent study that demonstrates how learning about social constructs is crucial to changing them.