So I was reading one of Anne Bishop's fantasy novels last night and in it she mentioned the use on women of something called a Scold's Bridle. I seemed to recall this being a real historical object(too many visits to Musuems of Torture while in Europe). So I googled and found this description - A scold's bridle (also the brank or branks) was a torture device for women, resembling an iron muzzle or cage for the head with an iron curb projecting into the mouth and resting precariously atop the tongue. The curb was frequently studded with spikes so as to cruelly torture the tongue if it dared stir: lying calmly in place, it inflicted a minimum of pain.
It was designed as a mirror punishment for "scolds"—women whose speech was "riotous" or "troublesome"—by preventing them from speaking. However it was also used a corporal punishment for other offences, notably by female workhouse inmates. There are no records of it being used on men.
for a picture.
Women whose speech was troublesome were silenced through torture. If men didn't like what a women said they could torture her to stop. How different are we today? Do you feel like women are allowed to use their voice freely without fear? What are our bridles if they exist?
Labels: Culture, Gender Issues