Most of my reactions to this week’s readings are directed at Mary Daly’s article. I definitely agree with Camille in that I would totally back up Daly’s words. This has pretty much been one of my first opportunity to consider women in ancient history when reading biblical passages. The only passage that really sticks in my mind referring to the relationship between men and women is found in Ephesians:
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.
This is a passage that I hear a lot when I go to church, and I often think of these lines before I think about Adam and Eve, despite the Genesis story being much more famous. Mary Daly presents numerous arguments about Genesis, in reference to the position of women in relation to men. There are those who believe that women are equal to men in the eyes of God because of the language of certain translations of Genesis, referring to “man” as “them” rather than separating the duties of the first men and women. The responsibilities of reproduction and labor were not separated. Others argue that women are inferior because they came from man (or more specifically, his rib). Men come from God, and therefore serve God; women come from men and therefore serve men.
One of the passages in Mary Daly’s article was particularly incendiary. On page 85, it is argued that women become more like men when they are pious and faithful. If they are not, they are bound by the “name of her sex,” inferring that women are different in every way from men, and only men can perfectly achieve Christ-like qualities. Women who don’t believe in Christ are just women, while women who love Christ “progress to perfect manhood.” The article goes on to suggest that womanhood embodies “fickleness” or seductiveness or “garrulousness,” all qualities that distract women from serving God. Men, on the other hand, are logical, smart, and not “slow to understanding” as women were (and often still are) considered.
While reading the article, I wondered what history would have been like if Eve hadn’t been the one to bite the apple, but if Adam had instead succumbed first. I read a book a couple years ago called Egalia’s Daughters, which describes what the world would be like if women were on top. In this book, men wear skirts, are introduced to society like debutantes, and, when married, become “housebounds” (a play on the word “husband”). There is even a gang rape scene in which a manwom (aka a boy in our world and the equivalent of our stereotypical female in the book) is attacked by women.
A quick guide to the book’s language:
All masculine objects become feminine and vice versa (a ship in our world is “she” but in the book a ship is a “he”)
Wom: our equivalent to a biological woman; the plural is “wim”
Manwom: our equivalent to a biological man; the plural is “menwim”
The book goes on the further satirize the duties of men and women by making “menwim” the begetter of children. A “wom” gives birth into the arms of her housebound, who is tasked with raising the children. Here, the male takes on the duty of reproduction, even though it is the female who carries the child. Until you get used to the language, the book can be a little difficult to get through, but I like that it makes you think about the stereotypes of both sexes. It makes you question what the world would be like if historically, women hadn’t been considered inferior to men.
**The title “Un-biting the Apple” is a reference to an essay in Theorizing Twilight**