woman's compromised the day's she's born."
- Miriam "Vanities" Aarons, in Clare Booth Luce's The Women
Magdalene was not a prostitute, but early Christian men seldom failed to
realize it when trying to put women "in their place." It was St. Paul
who nailed it in his letter to the Corinthians when he basically told women to
shut up in church and to wear head coverings. And even though the early church
had women deacons (and brave women who sometimes saved male Christian ass), the
ensuing orthodox Christians knew a good thing when they saw it in making women
like Mary Magdalene prostitutes and other women child-bearing chattel as meek
(and virginal) as Mary the mother of Jesus.
putting women up on a pedestal or down on a bed in a brothel was the best way
to keep them out of the middle - and equal with men.
course, there have been matriarchal societies throughout history* and different
attitudes towards women: e.g. in ancient Greece, the concept of a wife was
quite different since a woman was taken in as the man's "sister" and
subsequently became a more integral part of his family. But let's face it, the
Western Civilization built upon Judeo-Christian standards has always
compromised women.Women as equals to men is a very recent construct.
construct most people, especially the Christian Right, still cannot
countenance. The latest denunciation of Catholic nuns' endeavors in social
justice have been denounced by Benedict XVI not only because he is
trying to placate America's Christian Right, but also because as the mainstay
of patriarchal Roman Catholicism, the pope must keep nuns (women) in their
place. They, after all, have not been against certain issues which women should be
WASHINGTON (RNS) -- The Vatican has launched a crackdown on the umbrella group that represents most of America's 55,000 Catholic nuns, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women's ordination.
Magdalene was compromised. Lucretia Borgia was compromised.** Eleanor of
Aquitaine was compromised. Even Eleanor Roosevelt was compromised.*** With the
exception of a celebratory few in entertainment and politics, American women
have always been compromised. Religious organizations like the SBC have always
seen to that.
sometimes it takes a strong dose of the truth to tell America's women that they
are still compromised.
time I see The Women (screenplay by Anita Loos), I marvel
at the innate intelligence of women: sure, women aren't REALLY that catty,
vicious or vain, but the sophistication of the movie is remarkable - simply
because women really have had to survive under the cloak of self-made machismo
men have imagined. In a sense, The Women is a wake up call to women everywhere:
you're compromised, all right, but you've been able to deal with being
compromised for two millenium through an intelligence that belies men.
Underneath the facade of "Park Avenue Playgirls" lies a will to survive
no man can match.
is today. Steven and I are equals. We gave ourselfves to each other of our own
free will for life. And to compromise that is wrong. Shockingly wrong!
That's what Mary Haynes thought. Although God is never mentioned in The Women, the presence of religion and imposed mores is pervasive and substantial: it allowed Mary to think that "morality" included a kind equality. But she comes to a rude awakening later when, in Reno, Miriam tells her the truth. Then the very end of The Women shakes us to the core with the ultimate truth: women are still compromised. When the question of self-respect (in going back to her wayward husband) is brought to the fore, Mary responds:
"Pride is something a woman in love can't afford." ****
there's always been, in a sense, a war on women by a society formulated by
religion, and maybe when women counterattack the the primal causes of doctrine
and the clergy, they can finally receive the one thing that has eluded them for
the last two thousand years: respect.
** Her father, Pope Alexander VI used both her and her brother Cesare as political pawns. The portrait of Lucretia as a poisoning fem fatale was both fictitious and unjustified.