This essay considers the question of how we define “power” in order to best include women and gender. Queenship/lordship studies have been at the forefront of women-and-power discussions, and have advanced that discussion by moving away from the “exceptional woman” biographies to focus on the patterns of power that these women embodied. But if we extend our definition of power beyond the realm of public authority to a more general category of acts that can shape the destinies of others, we are confronted with a much broader field of action that might be considered “women’s power” — a field that could easily encompass the experience not only of non-aristocratic women but even marginal or subaltern women such as Jews, Muslims, slaves, and concubines, allowing scholars to apply the analytical framework of power to new actors.
Copyright © 2016 Marie A. Kelleher
Kelleher, Marie A. "What Do We Mean by "Women and Power"?." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 51, No. 2 (2016) : 104-115.