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

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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!

Bible Glasses

This last Sunday I was at church and my pastor was speaking on John. My Pastor was speaking about how we need look at the bible through different lenses.  Specifically he was talking about three different lenses.

1. Historical- Looking at the culture in which the specific scripture was being written to.

2. Authorial- Looking at what the author is trying to convey to his audience.

3. Devotional- Trying to figure out how the scripture applies to our daily life.

It can be easy to get stuck in any one of these lens. Such as focusing more on the devotional lens, (which is not bad mind you) but then discarding what the author is trying to tell us or focusing on the historical context and forgetting that it is has meaning for us today.

This unbalanced view of the bible leads to unbalanced theologies which in turn hurts people. When scripture is taken out of context, whether it be its historical context, authorial, or devotional, it is misunderstood and then carried out in a way that puts people at risk.

For example let’s take an easy one. The issue of slavery. If you ask any American Christian if slavery is okay, chances are that they will give you a disgusted look and and say “no”. But as the argument as been made, the bible “appears” to approve of slavery. Now before you close this tab, stick with me and finish reading. 

In the Historical context what do we find? When the Israelites are given the law, they had just came out of slavery. All they knew was how to be slaves and the Egyptians were not kind to them. God gives rules on how to treat the slaves, in fact they are treated better than most slaves in the world at the time. For example:

And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money. – Exodus 21

Let’s put aside the issue of selling your daughter, because there’s something else I want to point your attention to. The Master is not allowed to sell her to a foreign people and if he takes another wife, he still has to provide for her.

The Authorial Context of this would be, is God is speaking to the Israelites and teaching them how to be kinder people and to treat even slaves like human beings. It still may seem icky and confusing but also think about it like this, when a baby is moving from breastfeeding to solid foods the baby is weaned. Slowly drinking less breast milk and transitioning to solids. If you switch a baby instantly to solid foods he won’t be able to handle it.

And finally the Devotional Context would be, is to be kind to our neighbors and treat everyone as humans. Don’t treat them like dirt.

My point is that if you take the words at face value and don’t look deeper, you misunderstand
and form beliefs on those misunderstandings. And those misunderstandings hurt people a lot. We need to be careful on how we read the bible, form beliefs and share these beliefs with others. If our beliefs are hurting someone, we should look at it and ask if we are understanding it correctly. Because Christians shouldn’t be hurting people, we are to bring life and light to the world, not darkness and strife.

Sleeping cats and Indecisive Tuesdays

So I’ve been sitting here in my chair trying to figure out what to write about for the past 45 minutes to an hour. I started writing something, but I wasn’t sure it would work. The other ideas just seemed to dangerous to put out there right out.

Gee, why does it have to be so damn hard? (pardon me french (I apologize to any French readers)) Well, here’s what I think, perhaps I was trying too hard. Right now when I was at the end I am now finding words to spill out onto the internet, or as I like to say “from the digital pen to the digital paper.”

I’m trying to resurect my promise to write once per week. I was recently talking to my dad and he suggested to pick a day and dedicate that evening to writing my blog post. So I picked one. I picked Tuesday.

Why Tuesday? Because he used that as an example and I thought. “Meh, why not?”

What were you expecting a more meaningful reason for why Tuesday? Okay fine, I’ll give a flowery version.

*clears throat*

I decided that Tuesdays would be most perfect day in the week to write my bloggings on the web of Internets, simply because there is only one Tuesday. And before you then say “Hey! But there is also only one Sunday and one Friday!” Yes my readers, however Tuesday is in the middle space of not at the beginning of the week and also not the middle of the week. So therefore Tuesday is the most logical choice.

There is that flowery enough for you? 🙂 Anyway, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to post. I didn’t want to post a story or a poem, but the real life things I thought about posting would mostly start a fire. (I might save that for another week, bwahaha! Bring out the matches and gasoline!)

Well, I think that this a good start. At least I’m posting something, right? Well I will see you next week and hopefully I will have something figured out by then. 🙂

P.S

My cat, Doggy, says hi. She’s sleeping in my lap as I write this.

Act III Scene 3

So lately I’ve been busy. I’ve been in a play at Cornstock Theatre. This weekend is our performance weekend, in fact tomorrow is our last performance. I wanted to set aside a few minutes of my time and write to the world about how much being in this play has meant to me.

For several years I have been trying to get into theatre. I’ve always been drawn to the theatre. Whenever I saw a play I was always filled with this magical feeling. I wanted to be up there and give this magic out to everyone else. I wanted to know what it was like backstage, what were the actors doing? What was it like to act?

Then back in February, I went to an audition to a play called A Little Princess. I remember trekking through the ice covered park trying to not break my neck on the steep hill. I auditioned as best I could and that Monday I discovered I had made it. I was finally at last in a play.

Since I was minor character in the play, March was a slow month for me, I showed up only a couple days a week. But then when April came, I was in every single night. Honestly I don’t really remember the last time I sat down and had a family dinner with my family. 😛

As time went on I bonded with my fellow actors. We were so much alike and yet so different. Then somewhere in there I realized that I had found my people. These actors were my people and I felt that at last I had found a place of belonging, for so long I have found myself in places where I felt I was the oddball, the weird shaped puzzle piece that didn’t quite fit with the puzzle. But not with this crowd. We were all weird and dramatic characters.

I’m sad that tomorrow is my last performance, I hope to keep in touch with the friends I have made. Perhaps we will see each other again in another performance.

I want to say thank you to the cast and staff for A Little Princess. I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people my age before. Thank you for being you. This play changed my life in a way that I will never forget.

Thank you.

P.S

If you want to catch the last performance, click here to go the website.

Consider The Lilies Of The Field

Okay, so I said that I was going to post a blog post every week. As you can see, I have already failed in that. But I am going to renew that promise and attempt it again. This week I will give you all an update on the whole eye situation.

So as you remember, two of my siblings and my parents went up to Chicago to see a specialist. This was the day that had been dreaded all of March.

So the day came and they left to go to Chicago, in order to not go insane, I stuffed it down. I downgraded it. I thought that if I told myself it wasn’t a big deal and waved my hand at it, that I wouldn’t be torn apart by the waiting.

Because I am a cynic, I had the feeling that they were going to go up there and find out the worst. Find that we were all going to go blind in the next few years. So many things have happened to me and my family that I expected that of course we were going to get the worst, when had we ever been able to take the easier path?

Our aunt kindly came out and fed us pizza and that was good and really helpful. (Thanks Aunt Sommer) It was nice to be able to, for a little bit, somewhat not be in charge.

Then later that day we got a Skype call. Even though they told us they weren’t going to call us with good or bad news, I had feeling that it was bad news. After about ten minutes of technical difficulties the faces of my parents and two of my younger siblings showed up on the screen. I steeled myself for the news.

Their faces broke out into smiles, and they told us: We were not going to go blind. We were just going to have night blindness!

“Go and celebrate!” They said to us before we hung up.

The next day a voice in my head prodded me and said. “Consider the lilies.” Through out the day the voice repeated. “Consider the lilies, consider the lilies.”  I knew, it was The Holy Spirit speaking to me.

God knew my doubts and cynicalness. “Arianna,” he was saying, “if I can clothes the lilies of the field, can’t I take even more care of you? Arianna, why so little faith in me? Aren’t I the creator?”

That next day, when I woke up I looked at the date on my phone:

March 18th

It was strange, I felt that anything past the 17th didn’t exist. That it was the end of the world. It was beautiful to see those two numbers.

So in short, me nor either of my siblings are going blind and I learned a valuable lesson from God himself. If he can clothe the wildflowers, then he can take so much more care of me.

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! -Matthew 6:28-30