This blog entry by Mary Hunt at Religion Dispatches gives a 2013 voice to what Mary Daly wrote about in your readings for this week. I encourage you to take a look at it.
Posts Tagged ‘don’t miss class or you miss the fun’
What more could you want? Enjoy this new viral video with a great take on what happens after the end of 4 Disney Princess movies.
Let me start off with a personal plug: there is a lot of really rich and fruitful discussion going on in previous posts about The Zuni Man-Woman. Please keep up this creative and scholarly energy for class today when Brittany and I talk to y’all about the book! =] I am really curious to see where our discussion will take us today!
All right, moving on…
Something that struck me as heartening about this book (and about Zuni society as a whole) was the fact that it is matrilineal. Though the concept of matrilineal societies isn’t exactly new to me, I guess I had never thought about all of their different implications. I was astonished and gladdened by Roscoe’s description of how women function both in and out of their families: how it is considered both normal (and expected) for women to choose their sexual partners as they wish, how children are considered legitimate no matter what because the parentage of the father is not “necessary” to know, and about how women are always grounded within their families and are not dependent on their husband’s family line. Roscoe puts it best when he says that “Married, divorced, or single, women always had a home,” (20) a concept that is both alien to Anglo-Saxon history and is comforting to our 21st-century feminist minds.
Additionally—and on a less serious note—did anyone else get a kick out of the Zuni method of divorcing a husband? It’s pretty funny:
“To divorce a husband, a woman simply set his possessions out on the doorstep. ‘When he comes home in the evening,’ Ruth Benedict explained, ‘he sees the little bundle, picks it up and cries, and returns with it to his mother’s house. He and his family weep and are regarded as unfortunate’” (20).
This definitely brought me right back to Beyonce:
Anyway, I’ll leave this post at that, but there is a lot more to be talked about and I hope our in-class dialogue proves as interesting as these posts have been!
So, now for a total change of topic from my last pre-break post…
I was especially intrigued by the section of this reading that ranged from pp. 198-203. First, there is Montaigne’s idea that women are “incomparably more apt and ardent in love than men are” because “it [sexual impulse] is a discipline that runs in their veins” (198). This is in direct contrast to the mode of thinking where women are considered sexually frigid. Even the greatest rock n’ rollers were familiar with this school of thought, as is evidenced by the following classics:
But seriously, there seems to be a great divide when considering women’s sexuality, and I hate that it comes down to this, but if one tried to wrap it up neatly, women’s sexuality seems to fall into the paradigm of the virgin and the whore. Either women are considered “salacious, ”“lascivious,” and “seductive,” or they are regarded as the opposite: unable to be sexually excited at all, and averse to the advances of the opposite sex. It should also be said that the discussion of women becoming “hysterical” as a result of coitus, though ridiculous and old-fashioned to our 21st-century ears, gained a lot of popularity back in the day, and seems to go hand-in-hand with both the virgin who is “deflowered/awakened” by a man’s sexual advances, or the promiscuous woman who is prone to be put into hysterics often and without shame, which in itself would be considered shameful. Altogether, the idea of women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure seems coated in shame…
[Side note: I was frustrated by the fact that the author did not go into same-sex relations, but I can understand why it would confound his/her train of thought. I also have some issues with the final paragraph on page 200 about Baltic women and their seductive patterns, but I feel those would best be raised in class, where the discussion can be more fully fleshed out than simply on the blog.]
But enough complaining! Page 202 brings about an idea that is less offensive and (probably) much more palatable to modern-day women than the view that we are “frigid” or, on the other end of the spectrum, “slutty” or “easy.” I will end with this paragraph, which seems to attempt to make peace with both women and men harboring sexual impulses:
“…in most cases the sexual coldness of women is only apparent, either due to the concealment of glowing sexuality beneath the veil of outward reticence prescribed by conventional morality, or else the husband who has not succeeded in arousing erotic sensations which are complicated and with difficulty awakened… The sexual sensibility of women is certainly different from that of men, but in strength it is at least as great.” (Bloch, 202).
This postulation is not without its own set of assumptions/problems, but it at least seems to award women with their due “natural” feelings and persuasions instead of knocking them for having them in the first place.
…and BOY, is she an awful liar!
Okay, I am basically going to repeat the sentiments everyone else’s posts have already expressed:
- Sex sells. Whether it be rape (*cringing, can’t believe I wrote that*), incest, or any other negative/questionable sexual content, it grabs the reader’s attention.
- Babies. Gotta have infant death if it’s a worthwhile story. (For the record, I HATE “dead baby” jokes. Can’t stand them.)
- Priests make good scapegoats. They’re the guys people love to hate. Who would come to the door of a convent, make hissing noises, and expect to be let in around midnight for some wayward sexual pleasure? A priest, of course!
But seriously. I know that in 19th-century America– and indeed, since then– there has been a strong anti-Catholic rhetoric going around. Sometimes, the faith itself was used as a basis of racial oppression, as well. Indeed, two of the most discriminated-against European immigrant groups– the Irish and the Italians– were primarily Catholic, and in the early 1900s, they were “hated on” quite a bit for this reason.
HOWEVER, I would like to believe that if I were alive when the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk came out that I would have been at least a little bit skeptical. No matter how terrible you may think a particular religious sect is, would you really ascribe to them infanticide, rape, murder, and whatever else, all in the name of God? This seems to be a stretch, even for your average illiterate American Protestant who “didn’t know any better.”
Therefore, I must say that Maria (a.k.a., the shady Protestant males with a knack for tall tales…hey, that rhymed) may have put forth an interesting horror story through this volume, but no wonder it was disproved within months of its publication. It was simply “too bad to be true,” and the writing style itself left a lot to be desired– I think I yawned twice for each page.
Just a quick reminder that for next week, you need to read chapters 6-12 and 14-19 of The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk.
If you missed class on Thursday, you missed the best video interpretation ever of Anne Hutchinson. Watch it, and enjoy!