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What were you doing at 13 years of age? Today women may not have been thinking about how to solve the bitter conflict between their torn apart country. As they were taught to read write and compute, were they really taught independent thinking and the pursuit of conflict conclusion. Joan of Arc was born around 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer in Northeast France (Keller, p.255). Joan was not taught to read or write. She did have a strong desire to learn about the Catholic Church and its teachings. Joan was growing up at a time of long duration of discourse. France had long been torn from what is known as the “Hundred Years War” and England had gained an upper hand. King Henry the V was named as ruler of both England and France.
Most of today’s young ladies at the age of 13 were not thinking about fleeing their homes under a threat of invasion like Joan of Arc had dealt with daily. Joan, a determined young lady, began to hear voices calling her to the pursuit of what she felt was her divine mission to expel enemies and to reinstate a rightful king, Charles of Valois. While many of the American women were learning about history flanked by male dominance, it is a wonder, were they really allowed in depth impowering studies about women who were influencing and changing the course of history in the European Renaissance Age?
Inspirations to women particularly notable in the history of Joan of Arc are a determining influence on women in leadership pursuing libertarian efforts and foresights. Joan attracted, at first, a small gathering of followers who believed her claims to be the virgin destined to save France, this was according to prophecy. Joan endured 11-day journeys across enemy territory to Chinon, the crown prince’s palace she asked the King Charles for the support of her (Harris, p.6). She needed an army. She wanted to see Charles crowned at Reims. Shockingly, Charles granted her request. She set off for Orleans in March of 1429. Joan dressed in armor riding a white horse was a sight of inspiration for all. Joan would inspire women by taking charge and being a leader in her own beliefs.
The “Entrance of Joan of Arc into Orleans” made by Jean-Jacques Scherrer shows Joan of Arc with the troops and supplies to help free Orleans from English control. In this painting, Joan of Arc is portrayed as France’s only hope to regain their territory. While the people of Orleans are in celebration of her arrival.
Another way Joan was an inspiration to women, you would have to consider Joan’s gender and most noticeable her age, as a great defining factor. Joan can be considered a role model to modern day young women. Joan was only 13 years of age when she began her pursuit of improving her countries position in the world. She was a courageous forward thinker when most people are not even thinking about anything but themselves. At 16, Joan’s dad tried to arrange her destiny by promising her hand in marriage. Joan believed so strongly in her destiny as a libertarian she was successful in court of getting the judge to agree with her (Harris, p.6). The judge ruled she should not be forced into a marital match. This would inspire women to take action into what they wanted to do with their lives. By age 17 she was leading an army with the permission from King Charles VII. Joan of Arc lead several French assaults. Joan forced a retreat by the Anglo-Burgundians, across the Loire River. I find it interesting that to gain the confidence and respect of her army, she rejects the adornment of her sex and her rank of being a peasant. Joan of Arc would end up wearing a short tunic, a doublet, a hood, and trousers (Keller, p.255). She would reject the social norms of women attire because her outfit resembled fancy male attire. I understand that if she is caught replicating a man when she is actually a woman, she will be tried. This was a bold and calculated move. This move was much needed to further her journey. I hope in the modern age women do not feel they need to change their looks in order to be respected in our society.
By age 19, Joan of Arc was tried as a witch over 70 charges were made against her. Charges such as witchcraft, heresy, and dressing like a man. Joan was a voice to women because she was a force, fighting for natural rights not being given to women. Some of these rights are being enjoyed today by modern women. These rights were things such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Women today dress as they feel with no class distinction and hair styles can be worn as they wish. Any way you look at it, Joan of Arc was not only an inspiration to modern women she was an inspiration to youth. Joan has a prevailing legacy and made a significant impact on the world. Even though her life was short, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake at the very young age of 19, Joan accomplished more than most do in a lifetime (Harris, p.7). Joan died firm in her beliefs. Joan’s own words come through loud and clear. In the official trial transcripts, she was asked whether she believes in God, she replied: “Yes, better than you.” Facing her accusers, she said, “I am not afraid… I was born to do this”.
Paul Delaroche painted this picture with the cardinal of Winchester and Joan of Arc. The cardinal appears to be interrogating Joan of Arc before she is placed on trial for heresy. This will result in Joan of Arc to be burned by the stake.
It is clear that Joan of Arc is an inspiration to modern women. Unfortunately, heroines remerge in history only after in-depth details of male importance and misogynistic dominance was emphasized. Joan of Arc, as well as other females in history such as: Mary Wollstonecraft, Boudicca, and Artemisia Gentileschi who were influencers and mastermind who deserved a larger and prevailing study for our modern-day women. I think women should be given the utmost respect and admiration. I believe our women will thrive and gain the confidence and respect they deserve in our world Joan of Arc paves the way for strength and brain power of our future world. Go forth women… you too “were born to do this.”
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