“Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us.”

― Andrea Dworkin – 1987

During medieval times, married women were considered the property of their husbands. An example of this subordination was the ritualised custom of selling a wife by public auction which first began toward the end of the 17th century. In most reports, the sale was announced in advance, perhaps by advertisement in a local newspaper.It usually took the form of an auction, often at a local market, to which the wife would be led by a halter looped around her neck, arm or waist. The woman was then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Wife selling was regular during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it acted as a way for a man to end an unsatisfactory marriage or for poorer men to make money. It should be noted that some 19th century wives objected to their sale, but records of 18th century women resisting are non-existent.Wife selling persisted in some form until the early 20th century.