It is noteworthy that authoritative, reference sources, relative to the developmental history of the species, Homo sapiens, uniformly, reveal a singular, eternal, conundrum. The subject dilemma is one that has eternally, existed between society’s traditional practice of granting lesser status and commensurate treatment to the female gender, and, in contrast, the latter’s eternal and ultimate, facility to bring about determinative social change.
The Old Testament recites that the first female, “Eve,” was created from a rib of the first Man, “Adam.” This atavistic representation, we perceive, was intended as an enduring declaration that Woman was born as an appendage to Man. Traditional societies, from the Paleolithic to the present era, have traditionally, granted an ancillary, or secondary, status, to women, compared to Men; conceivably, due to such prescribed, traditional folkways, or, alternatively, based on their protective size and strength. The differences in anatomical structure mandated that Women had the responsibility of giving birth and nurturing the babies, while the more physically, capable Men went off to the hunt, in addition to providing protection.
Such universally, eternal allocation of lesser status, however, seems, to us, markedly at odds and inconsistent with our readings of history, from the prehistoric era to the present. The universally misread (in our view) apocryphal, initial tale in Genesis, concerns the cast of Adam, Eve, “The Forbidden Tree of Knowledge,” one apple and a serpent (snake),” all situated in the Old Testament, venue of the “Garden of Eden.” The snake, coiled up in the “Forbidden Tree of Knowledge,” induces Eve to wrongfully, induce Adam to partake of a forbidden apple, for which grave offense, Adam and Eve (Mankind) were, forever, evicted, from the Garden of Eden. The protagonist, Adam, who succumbed to Eve’s temptation, was the miscreant, culprit causing sinful Mankind to be forever banned from Eden.
In previous writings, we have stated that, even as a revered myth, its symbolic representation, on close reading, is, inarguable, poppycock. A great many ancient cultures saw the snake as a symbol of fertility; if a modicum of analysis is applied to the holy scenario, the symbol of fertility in the “Tree of Knowledge,” would, logically and symbolically, represent “mental fertility.” The reductive and religiously, useful, portrayal of “Original Sin,” can more charitably, and perhaps, more rationally, perhaps, be seen in a more perceptive and consistent (with ancient mythology) symbolic interpretation. Eve (Woman) offered the existential ingredient for elevated, life, viz., “knowledge,” to Mankind, which Adam (Mankind) accepted, and thereupon, discovered his “nakedness,” (self-awareness). Humankind was banished from Eden (i.e., animalistic, ignorance) forever. It is markedly, unjust, that, instead of Womankind being celebrated, and awarded the highest of praise, for bringing to Man, existential knowledge (reason), the female protagonist is charged as an accessory to “Sin,” for being a “temptress,” and as an accessory offender to (Adam), Mankind. Any review of human history reveals, by contrast, the existential indispensability of women to the civilized existence of Mankind, and not as an accessory to Man. Still, Genesis, indisputably, is not history. Far from the narcissistic, male perception of the female, as adjunct to male existence, empirical truth may demonstrate, just the obverse.
The early, Classical Greek playwright, Aristophanes, was fully aware of such reality when he wrote the Greek Comedy, “Lysistrata.” (411 B.C.). In the Classic Greek play, the continuous, bloody warfare between Athens and Sparta, seemed, endless, until the admirable, female protagonist, Lysistrata, successfully, organized a women’s strike, in both warring States, denying sexual privileges to their men, unless and until they make peace. The historically, chronic tragedy of the Peloponnesian Wars, as portrayed in the theme of the play, abruptly, abated, the warlike, males being induced to peaceful, submission, by their women. The playwright, inarguably, was not extolling the importance of sex, but, effectively, the eternal moderating influence on the male, of the female gender.
Historic revelations of the innate impactful, power of women, are manifold, and belie the traditional perception and treatment, as inferior, or secondary, to men. Gender bigotry, throughout history, proscribed women from owning real property, signing contracts (legally, they were under the “coverture” of the husband), denied any but a primary education, limited in social life to family and to the friends of their husband, proscribed from carrying on trade, denied the right to vote, and, generally, were discriminated under law, especially, in cases of divorce. Victorian literature, traditionally and stereotypically, pictured the woman, sitting in the parlor, sewing her husband’s linens, while he, manfully, rode off to the hunt.
Today, many of the atavistic restrictions, imposed by society (men) against women, have been eliminated, or at least, ameliorated, often, due, in large part, to the action of strong, dedicated and courageous women. Today’s women vote (since, 8/18/20), enter into contracts, own real property, as well as personal property, obtain licenses and engage freely, in commerce and the professions, including the ministry, legally sue, inclusive of divorce, serve in the military, engage in professional sports, and deservedly, claim constitutional equality. Names of admirably, heroic and dedicated women, deserving of kudos for these, and other beneficial reforms are numerous, and include, Florence Nightingale, Margaret Sanger, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betty Friedan. Each generation has produced its nuanced, roster of talented and dedicated women, as reformers and leaders, who memorably, have been at the helm of movements, seeking, and obtaining, appropriate, equality.
The legality of the (natural) right of American women to request an abortion was justly and necessarily, settled and recognized, approximately, fifty years ago, by an impartial, Supreme Court of the United States, in the precedential case of Roe v. Wade. Said landmark decision, in addition to its recognition of women’s privacy rights and bodily autonomy, saved those women of modest financial circumstances ( who could not afford foreign hospital procedures), from possible death and severe bodily injury, often brought about, by their desperate relegation, to incompetent, possibly unsanitary, “back alley” abortion providers.
In the recent SCOTUS case of Dobbs v, Jackson, the High Court, disappointingly, turned partisan, and in an unconstitutional award to religious interests, heartlessly, overturned, its half century, precedential recognition of the natural right of women to procure an abortion, and granted the States, the authority to set their own abortion policies. This decision approved anti-abortion, religious-oriented States, contrary to the specific provisions of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause and its 14th Amendment, to proscribe abortion; showing no empathy for underage, unwanted, and dangerous pregnancies, or those due to incest or rape.
Our confidence in ultimate justice, and notably, our respect, for the empirically, demonstrated, moral power of America’s resolute body of female (and mainstream male) citizens, enables our prediction, that this perniciously, shameful and injurious, denial of women’s natural, personal bodily rights will not long endure.