As stated in First Generations: Women in Colonial America, women weren’t often allowed many rights that were given to men freely at the time. Women in colonial times in the Chesapeake, for example, were treated as second-class citizens, but mainly they were married. The only time when these men seemed to accept a woman with freedom was if she was a widow. Men such as John Winthrop were outraged by ideas such as a woman educating a man on or coming to her own conclusions about scripture. This was presumably because It threatened the way of life In which men were in all but omelet religious, political, and monetary control.
Men In this period were known to listen to their wives’ advice on certain matters, but even their opinions then were little more than Just that In the ears of colonial men. This Is a slightly less subjugated example, however, than that of the New England woman: who, as Berlin states on page 27, “No position she held within the family was ever characterized by autonomy. ” This particular line got my attention because of how blatant the statement is. In the middle colonies, however, women may have been considered to have more freedoms, at least when it came to the work force.
It is made clear that the women in Indian tribes were held in a better societal place, less one of being understated and quiet, more liberal. Women often did not Involve themselves In politics, but they talked about them. Their positions, as captive Mary Jimson (mentioned on page 61 recounted, were not “any more repetitious than the chores that filled a colonial housewife’s days. … And Seneca women, unlike English wives and daughters, were not slaves to the spinning wheel or the needle. … In summer, the women went out each morning to the fields, accompanied by their children… Page 61) On page 62, Berlin states Iroquois women had primacy over the tribes in their control over the food supply. They could also hold positions of power in the tribes, if their claim was thought to be enough to override gender separation. This was made more difficult in the colonies, shown clearly by the general absence of even widowed women from courts, ministry, and office. These differences clearly identify several examples of why, in my opinion, a colonial woman might choose their captors’ way of life over their own.
Colonial women were under spoken and had little o no familial, religious, or legal power, and In my opinion Is It easy to see why this way of life could become tedious, miserable, or even scary for these women. The women In some Indian tribes, at least, led less tedious and subjugated lives. If a woman was captured, and was then later able to lead a normal female role in Indian society, It Is apparent Tanat tenure were reasons tens cool a De appealing too woman from the colonies. These reasons include a higher degree of freedom from a much more boring, servant-like way of life.
On page 102, the Quakers seemed to have seen he double-standards that were imposed against women, and how it contradicted their beliefs, prompting them to leave and live separately. It is also my understanding that Quaker women even became ministers at times. Also on page 102 it is noted that the Dutch had to leave behind a tradition of gender equality; and, at least in their colony, religious toleration; because of the British takeover of the Dutch colony. The colonial woman’s way of life can be considered by people today as second-class.
Whereas the women in some Indian societies had roles which were less restricted ND more productive, which, in my opinion can serve to make people feel better about themselves. They also had more control in society with the Native Americans, apart from having slightly more over their own lives. Their capture, for women in the colonies, made possible the comparison between the way of life they had already lived, and the one that they might have with the Native Americans. It is my opinion that the differences that captured colonial women saw and/or experienced caused many to go back, or stay with, their Native American captors.
The African women who ere slaves in the British colonies still had the most difficult of lives, because not only were they lifelong slaves, but their children were born into it as well. To summarize, it is my belief that if some women chose to live with the Indians who once held them captive, they made this decision based on the comparisons of the two very different ways of life. They chose to go back because they saw freedoms with the Native American tribes that weren’t allowed to women in the colonies. Examples of these freedoms include more political leverage, control over the food supply (in some tribes), and freedom to speak of religion.