In my own upbringing, there has been a definite distortion in the history of women. I always believed that men were more important than women because they accomplished more in their lives. And since I grew up in an extremely religious family, it was ground into me at an early age that women are "the weaker vessels" and are basically to be seen and not heard. The Apostle Paul made that abundantly clear when he said, "Let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak, but let them be in subjection, even as the Law says. If, then, they want to learn something, let them question their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in a congregation" (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35).
Nonetheless, I noticed there were some important female figures in the Bible. For some strange reason, these women were either very good or were very bad. There was no median. Take Dinah, for example. She was one of the "bad" ones. She had the audacity to flirt with Canaanites and get herself raped. Her brothers avenged this by circumcising and killing all the men in the Canaanite tribe, and she was never mentioned again. None of her sisters' names are in the Bible, so I assumed they must have been average women to whom nothing of importance happened. Eve was another one of the bad ones. Everyone knows it was all her fault that we have original sin. And as for Jezebel, she wore too much makeup, worshipped the wrong gods, and was a murderess to boot, so she deserved being fed to dogs, right?
But what about the "good" women of the Bible? Well, there's Jael, for one. She hammered a tent pin through Sisera's head, and then she "broke apart and cut up his temples" (Judges 5:26). To me, this seemed a dubious achievement, yet for killing this malcontent she became "the most blessed among women" (Judges 5:24). The Virgin Mary is another one of the "good girls." She was good because she got knocked up by God, yet another dubious achievement in my estimation. It didn't seem to me that she had much choice in the matter.
Apparently, the only ways a woman could be mentioned in the Bible would be if:
None of these options appealed to me very much, so I never saw myself as much of a Biblical-type figure. I began to look through other sources for important women.
My history classes throughout my public-school-life revealed little. It seemed that most important women were born that way, like Queen Victoria, Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots. Also, a lot of the other historically important women were crazy, like Joan of Arc. That poor girl probably should have been committed. Helen of Troy was just another woman who got raped and started a war, Marie Antoinette seemed little more than a vapid ignoramus, Hecate was an evil goddess of witches, and Hatshepsut grew a beard. Needless to say, I was disillusioned.
But then I started university and began studying literature, classics, and history in much more depth. Although important men still out-weighed important women, the women I was discovering had tangible accomplishments. Literature was a veritable treasure trove. Sappho, Christina Rosetti, and Emily Dickinson were extremely gifted and prolific poets. Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, and Jane Austen were very important novelists. Strong female characters existed in drama as well: Medea, Antigone, and Lady Macbeth (well, one out of three literally ain't bad!). History classes showed me some more important historical personages. Hildegaard von Bingen, steatopygous earth mothers, and Marie Curie, for example.
Nonetheless, I was getting a diametric message from history. Women were evil. Women could not be trusted. Where men were "white" and "good," women were "black" and "evil." That's what Thomas of Aquinas had to say, and he's a saint now. I found it ironic that the feminists at St. Thomas University never mentioned Thomas's misogynistic dualism theories in their newspaper articles.
Kramer and Sprenger's Malleus Malificarum harboured the most anti-female views I had ever seen. This book fed the fires of the witchcraze, both in Europe and in North America. Among other imaginative supposed crimes, women were killed for stealing penises, hiding them in birds' nests, and feeding them barley. It disturbed me to think this book was a bestseller for about three hundred years. There seemed to be a greater quantity of historically-accepted important women before the publication of this book and after the fall in its popularity.
Is it really any wonder that today everyone receives a garbled view of women in history? It is vital that we recognize the important women in history, rediscover the women who are "missing in action," and understand and act on the reasons why their accomplishments have been distorted and made light of.
Lest I sound anti-man, let me tell you why this is so important. The demonstration of women's historical importance is vital because ironically, the more feminism advances, the more women have been reclaiming their right to be vapid, inconsequential idiots.
Sigmund Freud asked the question, "What do women want? My God, what do they want?" Well, if good old Siggy had had a time machine, he could have zipped ahead a few decades and nabbed a Good Housekeeping or Elle. You see, the editors of these fine journals know exactly what women want. Women want colourfast lipstick, floor wax that shines, and mega-orgasms.
From reading women's fashion magazines, I have learned women are shallow, tittering fools. Their most pressing concerns are moisturizing cream, whether this year's knee-length skirts flatter their legs, and how to get the cute guy in the office across the hall to notice them. They fret about the ill effects of chlorine on their hair, obtaining flattering passport photos, and if Ghost should be considered one of the ten most romantic movies of all time.
Perhaps the Apostle Paul was right, after all. Ditzes ought not to have a hand in important matters.
But women are not only a little fluffy-headed; they are petty, too--especially when it comes to workplace ethics. Check out this article from the February 1998 issue of Cosmopolitan. It's called "Five Sneaky Ways to Make Your Boss Notice You," and yes, they really did color "Notice" green....
Slaving away at your desk only gets you so far. "Merely efficient drones get left behind," says Russell Wild, author of Games Bosses Play (Contemporary Books, 1997. "Unless you regularly remind your boss who you are, chances are you'll be forgotten." Here, Wild's advice for upping your visibility:
What better way is there to get a nice tan on your face then by completely jamming your head up the boss's ass, making kissy-faces the whole way? Are all women were as sycophantic and petty as this? If so, unless I'm too busy painting my nails with the boss's favourite colour, I will be the first in line for a sex-change.
To learn more about the author, ShanMonster, please visit The ShanMonster Page of Delights & Verticle Imagery.