The Unfortunate Fall of Woman
*Photo by Allison Hutto
What if the tables of time were turned and women were the dominate gender? How would women make the world of today different?I feel that if women had the upper hand in our society, our world as we know it would be a completely different place. It is hard to say what exactly women would have altered about our world and how our social norms would differ if they were in charge. As a woman it is all too easy to assume that we would have made our world a more ameliorate and harmonious society, however we could have also made the world a more vicious and deleterious place. Although we may never know how the dynamic of a woman's world might have been like, it is still entertaining to wonder what if... Alas, two even more misapprehending questions continually burn in the back of my mind when I am thinking on this subject: How did the woman become the submissive gender in the first place, and what was the initial downfall of woman? In this rant, I will attempt to slightly manifest an answer to this age old ulterior question, as well as talk about other current issues on the subject of women's rights that may, in a round about way, contribute to answering my many questions throughout this rant. Even if the answers I find only scratch the surface of these two questions', as well as other questions that may inevitable rise out of my research, intangible truths, I will prevail...
When pondering this subject, I seem to always come to various forms of the same conclusion: The downfall of the woman from attaining the dominate gender role is caused by our inability to separate our overly emotional inputs from all decisions we make, as well as the actions we take after making these decisions. Men seem to have this almost compulsory skill of detaching all their emotions from the issue at hand, and in the end making a decisive and unbiased choice; however women do not have possess this craft. Although there are some women in this world that do have the aptitude to make a decision like a man, most women fail at even attempting this act. Therefore, I believe that at one point women did have this ability, and that somewhere along the way of evolution this personality trait was taken away from women. We no longer needed this trait because we no longer assumed the role of the dominate decision maker, a role that is often found in a man's dynamic of a heterosexual relationship. I wish I could go back in time to observe the first society so I could see what life was really like in those times, and so I could also see what exactly happened to the women of that time. I want to understand what caused our gender to become the meeker, as well as the smaller in terms of physic. I often wonder if women of that time were of the same stature as the males. I believe because of men's assertion of the more substantial role, that over time women no longer needed their strength to do heavy lifting or to defend themselves. This once again caused evolution to remove this trait, and in turn caused most women to become a weaker version of their former selves. The reason I believe that women use to be of the same physic as men is because there are still women in our time that possess this long lost trait, meaning that evolution must have not completely wiped this trait out. What can we as women do to regain some of our strength and dominance in our society?
Women have fought for centuries to reclaim their equality with men, and yet we still have so far to go. Our fore mothers dedicated their entire lives for gaining simplest of civil rights, such as the ability to have their voices heard in their government by means of voting. However, to this day women still make 70 cents to a man's dollar, and even our health care is limited. For example, one night I was watching late night television when one of those all too frequent and all too disgusting male enhancement commercials came on. This commercial was selling penis pumps to assist men with their erectile disfunction issues. After what seemed like an hour of customer testimonials of how this product saved their lives, and a long winded, repetitive attempt by a rambling paid spokesmen to convince men and their wives that the product he was selling was the only way to solve all their "problems in the sack", the spokesman baffled me with his last piece of good news for his audience. He stated that this penis pump was covered by most major insurance companies, including Medicare and Blue-cross Blue-shield. Even though he said this statement at least fifteen more times before the commercial was finally over, I still could not believe what I was hearing and had to turn to my girlfriend, who was also astonished, to confirm that what I was hearing was the same thing that she was hearing. I could not believe something that most consider a sex toy, was being covered by very real and very major insurance companies. A few months before discovering this mind-blowing fact, I went to my gynecologist for my annual check-up. My doctor prescribed me a vaccination that help prevent cervical cancer. When I checked with my insurance to see how much of the cost of the vaccination they would cover, they told me that they did not cover the vaccination at all. The insurance that I had was military level insurance. So you mean to tell me that insurance companies will cover a penis pump for a man's insignificant sex life problems, and they will not cover a vaccination that prevents a type of cancer that kills hundreds, maybe even thousands of women every year!?!?!? Seriously?!?!? Here's another little known fact about women's health care: pharmacists, nurses, and other health care professionals can reserve the right to deny their patiences distributions of medications that conflicts with their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs. How, you may ask, does the medical industry get away with this? There are laws that have been enacted in thirteen states called "conscience clause laws" that essentially give medical professionals the right to refuse you medication, simply because she or he doesn't agree with premarital sex. Cases like I have described above are popping up all over the country, yet you never hear any cases of a pharmacy denying a man condoms do you? How are things like this allowed and going on mostly unnoticed in the land of the free??
Feminist writer Domitila Barrios De La Chungara wrote an article in 1980 called "The Woman's Problem." In this article she talks about how women are almost immediately rejected in the world, even at birth. "We are looked down upon right from birth. When a boy is born, what does the father do? He goes off and celebrates because the child is male. But what do they say when it's a girl? "Ah this is good for nothing, what use is she, let her die!" Even the women sometimes say, "What a shame it's a little girl, what use is she? It would be better if she died." They have taught us to look down on ourselves, isn't that true? Women are conditioned by society to think of themselves as of little to no use for the advancement of our world. We are taught to despise every fiber of our being and every flaw we can find on ourselves and other women. This way of thinking is instilled into our everyday lives and I think it is the reasoning behind why women tend to not get along with each other more often then they bond. Anything that is of a feminine nature is considered weak or less important than anything of a masculine nature. We are brainwashed into the mindset that women are what is wrong with society and that we should hate anything feminine, and in return we are conditioned to hate ourselves and anyone who is like us. This could be an explanation for why women almost immediately hate each other instead of banning together like we should. If we don't immediately hate any women we come in contact with, then we try to find any flaw, even insignificant ones, that bother us about the woman in question. I believe that the immediate judgement women place on other women is a contributing factor to the downfall and regression of women. This type of behavior is encouraged by our patriarchal society as a means for men to control us by discouraging women to make a sisterly bond with other women. If men abjure women from affiliating with other women in order to create alliances and deny us the sisterhood that cause women to have power, then they have control over our roles in humanity. If they allow us to make such bonds with other women, then it would be a strong possibility that we could topple over their power structure. This is a possibility that men do not want to risk, so because they control the social dynamic and the social norms, over the centuries men have installed ways of thought that are intended to controls women and their relationships with other women to prevent women from gaining any form of dominance in their firmly place patriarchal society.
I have recently become intrigued with creation and society myths and how our creator’s gender became widely accepted as male. Some feminist writers have attempted to re-write some of the generally conventional ideas on creation myths, and our creator. They attempt to break down the customary ideals surrounding these commonly know myths from major religions that are often treated as fact by persevering believers of these religions. To most, these alternative theories are frequently viewed as far-fetched, and with that, these writers respond to their critics with a question like: how are they anymore far-fetched than the stories that are created from a patriarchal point of view? Followed by the question of, why not? Some of these writers follow a theory that the first society was made up entirely of women. These women did not require a male to reproduce or to take on the heavy work that men of today’s world assist women with. In some of these stories, women reproduce by “a fertilizing wind or a wave that carried fertility in it’s substance.” In the book Sapphistries: a Global History of Love between Women by Leila J. Rupp, the feminist author and Nobel Prize winner, Doris Lessing, provides a tale of an imagined first society as a matriarchal community. In part of her story she talks about what the women, called Clefts, would do with their male offspring: “They mutilate, kill or abandon the occasional malformed offspring, know A Monster, born with a clutch of protruding flesh there in front where they had smooth flesh, a newt slit, fringed with soft hair.” She goes on in her tale with what happens to the abandoned males: “the abandoned Squirts, as they came to be called, do not die, but are rescued by eagles and raised elsewhere. The Clefts and the Squirts find one another, as they seemingly are destined to do. The Squirts, who lack the knack of giving life are tormented by the demand of their maleness, and driven by powerful instincts, until they find Clefts who, seeing their hunger, have sex with them ( and clean their huts to boot). In Lessing’s telling, heterosexuality is inevitable. Eventually the Clefts can no longer reproduce without encountering the Squirts 'tubes', and the old ways die out.” This re-writing of the first society myths is similar to others written by feminists. Other society myths exists in other cultures and religions, helping to make these theories seem not so far-fetched; however, these tales of a matriarchal society are few and far between and are mostly unknown by the general public. Rupp goes on to explain the reasoning behind so few matriarchal based myths about society and creation and the surprising role women play: “The problem is, of course, that creation myths and other stories that explain the way the world is mirror the societies of their creators, just as the tales I have just described are spun within particular political contexts. So it is not surprising that most of them take a heterosexual shape, as in the Adam and Eve version, with a god or some gods, and a man and a woman and eventually a child. Still, the fact that it is women who give birth to children, and that the role of men and sexual intercourse in paternity was not always understood, means that some stories give a starring role to a female figure.” In other words, despite the fact that most creation myths that are created are a reflection of a male dominate society, and because women are ultimately the creator of life, they therefore have an unspoken dominate role in humanity, even if it is not recognized. Some creation stories feature a female goddess or goddesses as the creator instead of the prevalent male god or gods. In the feminist scholar Merlin Stone’s 1976 book, When God was a Woman, she states that goddess based religions were extensive in the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world. She also talks about how the Bible “represents a conspiracy to rewrite history and slander the goddess, resulting as well in the increasing societal subordination of women.” She goes on to argue that, “all that talk of honoring no other gods referred to the goddess, whose primary symbol, the serpent, comes to play such a diabolical role in the biblical version of the fall of man and woman.” It is most likely not a coincidence that Satan is depicted in the creation myth as a serpent, and it is ironic that the goddess is often depicted as a serpent. This proves that anti-women themes were installed in the Bible, even in the beginning,in order to make slanderous claims about women and defer people from the thought of the possibility of a female goddess creating the world instead of a male god. Some scholars believe that the decline of the goddess over time was perhaps caused by man’s need to conquer more than rather stand in reverence of the forces of nature. Conclusively, defenders of the goddess see her as a casualty of the patriarchal upheaval, however her decline in this revolutions often points to her heterosexuality. The goddess had a tendency to pursue a young male god, sometimes her son, as a lover, and in turn the male figure eventually takes over as the paramount deity. Yet, not all creation myths angle at heterosexuality. In a Kamia (Native American) creation myth, White Woman conceives many children without the assistance of a male. The Hopi creation myth tells of nothing but water and two goddesses, both named Huruing Wunti, at the time of creation. They lived in the ocean, one in the east and one in the west, and they created land between the two seas. The sun called to their attention that there were no living things in this world they created, so they made a bird to fly over the land, and they created all sorts of animals, and finally a woman, who came first, then a man. Ancient texts from India also include tales of births that are vacant of heterosexuality. Rupp states that, “a common tale, according to scholars Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, involves a deity providing some kind of magic food or drink that result in birth.” Why are women commonly left out of current popular creation and society myths? Why are the myths that have predominately women in them often untold or unknown by most people?
So many questions have come to mind during my research for this rant. As I weeded through all the myths and facts, I have presented a few pressing questions I had that were left unanswered: What caused woman to become such a socially acceptable inferior being when compared to a man? Why did women of the past allow this downfall of their gender to occur? And on a different yet, relevant note, what really happened during the creation of our world? When I set out to write this rant, I had no idea how many of my theories would come together and fall into place. I had hoped that in the end I would at least have a better idea of how women became this creature that is expected to be chained to her home, serving a lifetime sentence as a drudge to her husband and children. However, the true answer to this question remains ever elusive, although my research has shed some light on the issue. I hope that this rant does not make me sound like a man hater ,because that is something I can assure you, I am not. I don’t think a lifetime of research could reveal the true downfall of woman and what caused it, and even though most would view answering that question as a lost cause, I will continue on or die trying…