The Gender of Money’
PPl and Thomas Chestre’s Launfal, albeit in very different ways, serve as examples of how in the Middle Ages a work can simultaneously transmit ideology about money and about women. Medieval discussions of money or women simultaneously warn about the dangers inherent in both and the need to contain them within socially sanctioned institutions and practices. This strategy is most clearly exemplified by L’s depiction of Lady Meed, whom Cady reads as an embodiment of the profit economy. L uses the stereotype of the sexually open body and mouth as convenient shorthand for depicting all the excesses of the profit economy. Thus, Meed’s gender, her status as one of the impressionable, debased sex, plays a crucial role in L’s economic theories. She serves as a warning to all ‘wanton’ women, who might, like the Wife of Bath, choose to ‘wander by the weye’, as well as a reminder to the reader that women, like money, are likely to wander if they are not controlled by society.
Genders, 44 (2006), http://www.genders.org/g44/g44_cady.html