Political And Social Impact Of Joan Of Arc

The life of Joan of Arc is one of many conflicts, but throughout her impactful life, she showed a tremendous amount of courage and bravery. Nationally recognized as a heroine of France and a Catholic Saint, Joan of Arc has been a symbol of female empowerment in modern culture. Her storied life has become the figurehead for modern-day feminism and gender equality groups. The political and social impact of her life has carried on throughout the years and her significance is important to many people, such as Catholics, feminists, and even politicians.

Her story is rooted in her faith and belief in God. Joan was a peasant girl and the daughter of a tenant farmer who believed that she was acting under divine guidance after being visited by St. Michael the Archangel. She heard three voices (those of St. Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret of Antioch) that guided her along her mission to save France from the English. The voices of these great Saints were her connection to God and her guides to navigate herself in the middle ages where men ruled and oversaw military operations (Britannica Academic). However, an amazing fact of Joan’s life was that she was merely a simple, ordinary peasant girl that was filled with the wisdom and foresight bestowed upon her by God. The use of such blessings allowed her to surpass the rank of the men who surrounded her. One of Joan’s defining characteristics that attribute to her being so appealing in today’s culture is how she was able to maintain such an admirable faith in God through the difficulties she faced during battle and her trials that led to her death. Through it all, she called upon an incredible sense of confidence and bravery that enabled her to break away from the traditional female image of the Middle Ages and make a difference for her people.

Joan of Arc’s effect on not just France, but the world as a whole is felt through the many pieces of art and literature that have been published about her. This led her to be canonized as a Saint by the Catholic Church because of her devotion to God, and her commitment was so strong that she retracted her denial of her faith even after being threatened with death by fire at the stake. She was executed at age 19 at the hands of the English after being put on trial for the charges of witchcraft, heresy, and dressing like a man. Her trial was overseen by judges and assessors that mainly were identified as having origins in France which raised questions of how these men viewed her actions during battle. These judges and company ultimately voted in favor of her execution, and with questionable reasoning. It is acknowledged that Joan of Arc’s death was the result of the struggle within France, and, even after her heroic service in battle, she was wrongfully executed for being different and believing that God was using the Saints to guide her. There was a petition sent from her family sometime after her death cleared her of the charges placed upon her in 1455–56 and cemented her memory as a heroine and role model for us to learn from (Britannica Academic). Her belief in God throughout her life, and especially while enduring her trials, is an example of incredible faith and can be used as a reminder of the awesome inspirational power of spirituality.

Being a feminist in modern society is difficult and there are few better role models in this regard than Joan of Arc. For modern feminists in France, they are not only looking to eliminate inequality but are changing how traditional roles are being forced upon women. Women of France have attacked Feminism differently than the Feminists of America. There is a concept that the French are using to start breaking down the obstacles of gender equality, and that is acknowledging the biological differences between men and women and focusing on bringing change to the social structures that are in place. When the Feminism movement focuses on achieving gender equality rather than gender neutrality, it starts to make sense that the enemy is the established ideas of gender roles, and not that all men are the problem. I believe that Joan is a perfect example of what France feminists want to do within their social movement. Joan’s story details how to break through and have your voice heard. You need to be confident and know that what you’re doing is right. Joan of Arc was able to accomplish her feats at a time when it was unheard of. So, for women to break the mold and change society, the system must change and there should not be a mass accusal of men like there is in America. From the memory of Joan, we can learn that it is very important to come together and that is how to win. As the historical embodiment of courage and bravery, Joan of Arc was also the leader of men into battle and to victory. As she led these men and fought alongside men who were her elders, she still got them to listen and be inspired to fight, and, most importantly, filled them with honor courage and bravery not only for France but for God. For men and women to obtain gender equality, we all must work in unity with each other and push the envelope of change the same way that Joan got herself in position to lead the victory over the English. Change is possible with the unifying of both genders fighting together against the institutional patriarchy to see the traditional roles be forgotten. In the memory of the beloved Joan of Arc, there is no better message to send then the equality for men and women to live freely among the same roles and responsibilities.

In the realm of French politics, Joan of Arc has been a point of discussion and unfortunate disputes are made regarding the use of her image as a symbol. Right-wing political parties have made the claims to use her legacy to inspire the nation, but with sharing an iconic national heroine comes slight controversy. The far-right party, named the National Front party, adopted her years back and believe that her legacy of driving out the British and bringing an awakening to France’s national concusses aligns with their parties’ ideologies and policies. One of the policies was anti-immigration, and this is an angle that they use to claim Joan’s actions in military battle can be viewed as an early form of the anti-immigration policy. The debate over Joan of Arc’s image and use by political parties stems from when the conservative party now called 'Les Républicains' began showing an interest in her memory and meaning to the nation. They wanted to use Joan as a symbol of French unity and bring the nation together. This is not the first time that her use as a symbol has been shared or promoted by different political parties. Socialist party politicians in the past had taken an interest in the story of the heroine’s humble and simple upbringing as an opportunity to claim her as a political symbol. This brings up the claim made by conservative politicians that the Les Républicains were stealing Joan’s image to gain support and voters before the election years. The counterclaim made by the Les Républicains is that no one political party can stake claim to a symbol like Joan of Arc and that she, as one of the most patriotic symbols that France has, should be the unifying force for all to be inspired by. The National Fronts Leader Marine La Pen questioned the opposing parties’ political actions and beliefs in pointing out how it doesn’t appear fair and, in her words, “the enslavement of the French citizens to the economic markets and Brussels dominated Europe”. In the view of Joan of Arc’s impact on France and disregarding the core politics that can be confusing, we see that the National Front believes the other party is forcing the citizens to suffer under an unjust economic system and asking how could that be attributed to Joan’s memory of unity and patriotism if the countries. In the political battle for Joan of Arc, it is noticeable that both parties have their flaws, but both make far arguments to their liking of Joan. The Saint is a symbol that will outlast the existence of either party, but the significance of her as a political symbol is here to stay.

The Catholic Church is amid a disastrous sexual abuse scandal that has hurt many people throughout the world and in the efforts to give healing and encouragement to those people either directly or indirectly affected, I believe that Joan of Arc’s legacy can be a source of strength. The inspiring story of an ordinary girl from a humble and simple background that accepted the divine call to be great and lead her country to victory and bring a national awakening to France can be a defining symbol to draw from. Her accomplishments came while defying the great odds of being held back by her traditional female roles, and this proves that the things of the material world do not have to define us. A message all should hear and get behind is that of standing up for what’s right and what you believe in, so those that struggle with tragic situations will have a place to look for answers through the life of Joan. She was not known as a patron saint of abuse victims, but she is the patron Saint for those who are ridiculed for their piety, which means those mocked for their faith. To someone who is struggling amongst all the pain of abuse, it may help to read of Joan’s story and understands that Joan herself was mistreated by those of the religious life. I think that her role as a Saint is to inspire those hurt by the flawed members of the church and to be a reminder that you are there to worship God. Learn to call upon her memory to strengthen your faith in what you believe, and let no man or woman take that away from you. Her memory can reunite the Church, just as she did with France in the One-Hundred-Year war.

The effect that Joan of Arc has on many people of today’s society can be felt from within her home country and throughout the world. If those who need her inspiration call upon it with a whole heart and stay true to the ideas of courage and bravery, they will fell unstoppable. To bring together groups of people such as those fighting for gender equality, the citizens of France, and the people of the Church will bring honor to Joan’s memory and be consistent to the lasting message of her legacy.


  • Beckwith, B. (n.d.). Saint Joan of Arc’s Message for Today - Franciscan Media. Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-joan-of-arcs-message-for-today/
  • Eric Jennings. (1994). “Reinventing Jeanne”: The Iconology of Joan of Arc in Vichy Schoolbooks. Journal of Contemporary History, 29(4), 711734. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/260683.pdf
  • Gordan, M. (n.d.). ☆ Joan of Arc ✓ PDF Read by ☆ Mary Gordon eBook or Kindle ePUB free. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from http://5.pdfmedia.co/32858/joan-of-arc.html
  • Grever, M. (1997). The Pantheon of Feminist Culture: Women’s Movements and the Organization of Memory. Gender History, 9(2), 364–374. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.00062
  • Jardine, N. (2012). French Politicians Are In A Desperate Scramble To “Own” Joan Of Arc’s Political Legacy - Business Insider. Retrieved March 13, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/joan-of-arc-le-pen-sarkozy-2012-1
  • Joan of Arc - A Military Appreciation. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2019, from http://www.stjoan-center.com/military/stephenr.html
  • King, L. (2017). What French Feminists Know that American Feminists Don’t - Frenchly. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from https://frenchly.us/what-french-feminists-know-that-american-feminists-dont/
  • Lynn Roseman, J. (2016). Can Joan of Arc Serve as an Enduring Model of Empowerment for Women With a Cancer Diagnosis? (Vol. 30). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7924/3fd2dcd10d197ab4f315b27efa984cd49764.pdf
  • Saint Joan of Arc -- Britannica Academic. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2019, from https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Saint-Joan-of-Arc/106457
16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now