The Fairer Sex: Ancient Women

Hello, welcome to week two of my nine weeks series about the history of women. If you remember from last week I wanted to address some of the mistreatment of women that has happened in the past and currently. I also stated that the goal is that I hope to challenge the way you think about women and I hope that some day in all areas of the world women will be respected and seen more as people and less as objects.

We will begin as all stories do, at the beginning. Before the plants, the creatures, the sea, sky, there was nothing. Except for God. Then one day God decided to create light, and as the story goes on he creates the sun, the planets, the plants, the animals, but most importantly he created us.

Of all God made, humankind has been the pinnacle of creation. The reason being, because we have been endowed with Imago Dei, Latin for The Image Of God. Genesis 1:25-28 says this:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Notice how it says that he created them in his image? Notice how it says that both the men and the women are supposed to work together and rule the earth?

In the beginning everyone was happy, no one was controlling the other. Everyone lived together in perfect harmony. Adam and Eve were the perfect couple.

But then when the fall came everything changed. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, that was when the battle of the sexes began.

The Ancient Israelite Culture was one of the most male-dominated cultures of its time. I believe that the rules set in place were put there to protect women. But as time went on the purpose was forgotten and the grace of the rules were not being carried out.

For example the ancient law states that a woman’s husband were to die and she didn’t have a son, she should marry his brother. Now the reason initially for this was so then the land land could stay in the family, but also so the woman could be cared for. In that time and age women could not get jobs.

Women were very limited to what they could do. In order to leave the house they had to have the permission of either their father or husband and be doubly veiled. Then even when they were out they could not speak to any men that were not their brothers, husbands, or father.

A woman could not be a witness in court. According to the Talmud the reason is because: “Women are temperamental and light-headed.” Also because in Genesis 18:9-16 Sara lies to the man that she laughed when he tells her that she will have a son in a year.

However despite all this, when Jesus came he was extremely radical when it came to the issue of women. He spoke to them in public, he taught them, he even touched a woman who was suffering a bleeding disorder, which in that day in age would have been scandalous. But we shall save all this for another post.

 Another culture that did not treat women quite as well were the Greeks, specifically the Athenians. Despite everything I stated about the Israelite Law, I think I would rather be a Jewish woman than an Athenian woman. The view of women in the Athenian culture was poor.

Aristotle once said this about women: “Man is by nature superior to the female and so the man should rule and the woman should be ruled.”

Hipponax also wrote: “There are two days on which a woman is most pleasing—when someone marries her and when he carries out her dead body.”

Euripides, a famous Greek Playwright had female characters in his plays say disparaging things about their sex. For example:
a) I am only a woman, a thing which the world hates.
b) No cure has been found for a woman’s venom, worse than that of reptiles. We are a curse to man.
c) Men of sense should never let gossiping women visit their wives, for they work mischief.

And finally it was said “A man who teaches a woman to write should know that he is providing poison to an asp.”

If that doesn’t give you an idea of what Athenian men thought of their women I’m not sure what will.

The Spartan women however were different. While they were still seen as vessels to bear children and to run the house while the man was gone, they enjoyed more freedoms then their Athenian sisters. For example, Spartan women had would be given an education, they would learn poetry, dance, art, and basic fighting skills. They also would leave the house and compete in competitions such as races, javelin throwing, and wrestling, something that would have been unheard of in Athenian Culture. Spartan women could also inherit, however it was only half of what a son would receive.

Lastly we have the Egyptian Culture. Of all the ancient cultures the Egyptians were the most sophisticated in its treatment of women.

The Egyptian culture actually mirrored much of our own American Society today. Women could own land, have jobs, they could borrow money and sign contracts, they could appear in court as witnesses. Egyptian women could even initiate divorce, something that only men could do in other cultures.

In conclusion, as we see most ancient societies looked down on women and it was a common thing to do. Some were crueler to women than others and some had good intentions that got lost somewhere along the way.

Thank you for reading this long post. Next week we will move on ahead to the Medieval Ages and see what life was like for women then.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Fairer Sex: Introduction

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Today I’m tired of remaining silent. So I am starting a nine week series about the oppression and inequality of women throughout history and in the US. This is an introductory post and will outline what I am trying to accomplish and the topics in the subsequent weeks ahead.

For the longest time, women have been considered lower than men. Generally considered less intelligent, even to the point of being considered stupid, weak, to be eye candy for men, and just in general to be quiet, stay at home, clean, have babies, and cook. (A quick note, I am not saying that women should not be housewives, I am saying however that this is a generalization that is then used to abuse women.)

This is an issue.

Everyone is to be treated equally, not just in the workplace. But in the world. Sadly this is not the case. Women are being raped by their supervisors at work. The sex trade is the biggest is ever been in the whole history of the world (According to USA Today’s Story in 2012, 2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking and 2 out of every 3 victims are women.) and makes its money through porn. Women are stuck in dark cults that suppress them.

I hope that my series will help and make people think about the treatment of not only women in the world, but the women they work with, are friends with, or just the women you see on the street.

Now before I give you my outline for my series, I want to make a couple things clear.

1. By writing this series I am not in any case suggesting that all men are suppressing women. There are good men out there in the world who are supporting this cause.

2. I am not a feminist, I am Egalitarian. I believe that men and women were created equal in the eyes of God and although we have differences, both in tendencies toward certain personality traits and biological differences, we are built to work together.

3.If you have nothing helpful to say, then keep your mouth shut. I will not tolerate trolls in my comment threads.

If you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask.

Here’s the outline for my series:

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Ancient Women

Week 3: Medieval Women

Week 4: Victorian Women

Week 5: Women’s Right To Vote: Susan B Anthony

Week 6: World War Women

Week 7: Modern Women

Week 8: Religion and Women

Week 9: Conclusion

I hope you will take the time out of your day to read each post as they come out. I will do my best to research each topic diligently and give an accurate and historical account.

Thank you and God Bless.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! (Or Writer’s Block Tuesday)

Well, it’s Tuesday again and I’ll start with: Feliz Cinco de Mayo! (Happy Cinco De Mayo!) Gosh, I’ve tried to think about what to write about but I’ve been busy all day. Actually this is the first time today I’ve been able to stop working and relax. Well, I did have a break at work but does that count as slowing down?

I’ve been sitting at my computer for the past fifteen minutes sipping my non-alcoholic margarita (It’s Cindo De Mayo people!) trying to figure out what the heck to write. I find that sometimes the best thing to do is to be honest and write about how you can’t think about what to right about.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling stressed out these past two weeks. Especially the past two days. It’s been hot and rainy. Not a fun combination.

Ah, here’s something. Mother’s Day is coming up! What are all of you doing this Sunday? You know, it’s always been frustrating for me. Why Sunday? Why not a Saturday? Same thing for Daylight Savings time?

What I mean is, who wants to leap out of bed and rush a breakfast to Mom right before we leave for Church? Why can’t we have it on Saturdays so then moms can enjoy their breakfast. Now I’m baised since I go to Church on Sundays but still!

Same thing with Daylight Savings time! Have it on a Saturday where people can get used to it rather than juggle the new  time schedule and church.

Anyway enough of my babbling. I have written enough to constitute a blog post :P. Please write in the comments, either on Facebook or on my blog on any topic you’d like me to write about and next week I will have something. I will try to plan a couple of topics in advance so I know what to write about. But for now, see you next week!