Hey let’s destroy the pernicious myth that preteens were regularly marrying in medieval and early modern Europe and were having children as young teenagers. It’s just not true. Church records show the typical age people got married was around 18-23. Sure, around a third of brides were pregnant at the time of their marriage, but premarital sex was actually completely fine in medieval and early modern Europe if the couple intended to marry. (Oh look! Another historical fact the Victorian period completely mangled!)
Very young girls were not having babies in medieval times, people. The only people who ever bring this non-fact up are paedophiles looking to defend their dangerous paraphilia. So cut it out. Stop spreading this myth. It’s not historical, it’s not factual, it’s not true.
“Emerging evidence is eroding the stereotype of medieval child marriage. Goldberg and Smith’s work on low- and lower-middle-status women has refuted Hajnal’s argument for generally early marriage for medieval women. Even Razi’s ‘early’ age at marriage for girls in Halesowen hardly indicates child marriage, as a large portion of his sample married between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two… . Goldberg has offered evidence from fourteenth and fifteenth-century Yorkshire showing that urban girls tended to marry in their early to mid twenties and rural girls married in their late teens to early twenties, and both groups married men who were close to them in age.” (Kim M. Phillips, Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, c. 1270-1540, p. 37 (x).
Bolded for emphasis.
Reblogging this as a reminder since I just saw another long thread on a social media website about how “the stigma of marrying at age 13-15 is recent”. No it isn’t, you’re just a pedophilia apologist.
Thank you for saying it.
Pat of the problem stems from the fact that the mainstream of the study of history tends to suffer from a great deal of unexamined economic classism, and one of the effects of that classism is the spurious positioning of the mores and morals of the economic elite as normative.
We see that wealthy nobles were marrying fifteen-year-old girls off to fifty-year-old men, and assume that must have been acceptable - but we forget that the nobility was only ever a tiny fraction of society, and that such practices may have been seen very differently by the bulk of the populace. Indeed, a deeper examination will often reveal that the common folk regarded the sexual mores of the economic elite with disgust.
Basically, imagine that an historian five hundred years from now is trying to piece together the sexual mores of early 21st Century American society by looking at the sex lives of Woody Allen and Donald Trump.