Class Gender, Gender, Medieval Criticism, and Piers Plowman.
To read PPl with blindness to class and class conflicts breeds misunderstanding of the poem’s intervention in a complex web of interlocutions and social conflicts. In particular, B.6-7 can only be understood as a politically committed piece of writing, as Piers abandons a disciplinary role in the service of particular vested interests. Gender analysis of Meed is necessary, for the figure’s gender in relation to a male dreamer and poet is basic to Meed’s production and significance, her identification with carnality, perversity and prostitution. Yet WL’s decision to feminize the exchange economy “encouraged simplifications and evasions of the very problems he addressed with such intensity.”
Harwood and Overing, Class and Gender in Early English Literature. 59-75.