Friday, May 7, 2010

And God Created Woman

In wrestling with the task of how to organize my thoughts on Gail Collin’s excellent book America’s Women, I suddenly found myself possessed by a demon. She made me write the following.

If one wants to try to define a single theme for women to carry away from this book it should be "never again let your life be determined or defined by a man." The struggle for equality was basically a struggle to lift the heavy burden of prejudice and ignorance provided by a male-dominated society. Since the book starts with the pilgrims let us begin there also. Recall that the pilgrims came to this country not to create religious freedom but to eliminate it. Their preferred form of government was a theocracy based on Biblical teachings that told men that they were dominant and women were little better than indentured servants.

It should be noted that this "Christian" attitude toward women derives not from the teachings of Christ, but from the desires of early Christian men (actually, just about all Christian men) that that was the way they wanted it to be. These men were of course influenced by the misogynist traits of the Hebrews. Consider the story of God’s creation of man and woman. It was clearly written by a man.

There are those who look at nature and the complicated life that abounds and claim that its complexity is in itself proof that it could only have been created by God. God thus becomes the chief engineer proud of the cleverness with which he creates a world that will astound and mystify his creatures. We are then asked to believe that this God-engineer would design man as his ultimate creation and consider woman an afterthought. This is not very credible. If a woman had written that description it would most likely have gone something like this.

"And God created his creature and looked upon it with satisfaction. ‘The complexity, the functionality, every part has its purpose, and it is attractive in appearance. The exquisite chemical balance required for it to function properly will befuddle and astonish my creatures and leave them in awe at the cleverness of my design. With this creature I will propagate the earth with the multitudes that will honor me. I will call it woman.’ And then God paused and said ‘I have one more task to perform. I must create a vessel in which to carry seeds. I will call it man, a simple name nicely consistent with its humble and sole function’."Alas, this did not happen and men came to write the Bible and made a confusing mess of it. People have been killing each other over its interpretation for thousands of years.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming......

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