Deny it or not, we as a human race have seen far too many changes since our world was started or discovered. Some changes are good, some are not. If we look to the ages of the Mother vs the Father, we witness patriarchal power that surpressed women and took control of every aspect of life. When the Father age gave way to the Son age, the Mother returned to a supporting, nurturing role that the Father age kept stifled. The Son did not totally suppress women, but he was still under the influence, guidance, control and manipulation of the Father. The Ages do overlap...there is no 'defined' beginning or end to each 'Age'.
The Mother age was primal, trusting, innocent, believing. The Father age was based in duality: right or wrong, black or white, male or female, wild or tame. Control was the premise in which they operated. The Son age was/is still based in masculine power. The Age of the Daughter, in my opinion, will be based on balance and responsibility of a whole new generation.
AGE OF THE MOTHER
The ideas of a God or Goddess have always corresponded with the current opinions regarding the importance of either sex in human society. Plainly stated: as long as female power and influence were in dominance, the creative force was regarded as embodying the principles of the female nature; later, however, when woman's power waned, and the supremacy of man was gained, the creative force began gradually to assume the male characters and attributes. In ancient times, a woman's functions were considered of more importance than those of man. In the beginning, man was in awe of woman. The woman could bring forth new life; she could bleed once a month (menstruation) and not die; and she knew how to use herbs and simples to help or cure illnesses.
The worship of female energy prevailed under the Matriarchal system, and was practised at a time when women were the recognized heads of families, and the lineage of these families was determined by the mother NOT the father.
I believe that the earliest religion was pure Nature-worship, that whatever the object adored (earth, trees, water, or the sun), it was revered simply as an emblem of Nature.
AGE OF THE FATHER
This is the beginning of Christianity. According to the Catholic Church, 'God is a spiritual, substantial, personal being, infinite in intelligence, in will, and in all perfection, absolutely simple or lacking composition, immutable, happy in Himself and by Himself, and infinitely superior to all that is or can be conceived apart from Himself.'
By the end of the second century, you begin to see hierarchies of bishops, priests and deacons emerge in various communities and claim to speak for the majority.
When men changed the tide to masculine power. Women were treated like chatel (personal property). They were expected to be submissive to men; to have children (preferably male children); to stay home; to cook; to clean; and to do man's bidding. Women were also prominent as martyrs and suffered violently from torture and painful execution by wild animals and paid gladiators. Children and women were the spoils of war.
AGE OF THE SON
This is the age of the coming of Christ. Jesus of Nazareth (c. 4 B.C.-29 A.D.), a Jewish mystic was believed to be the Messiah and the son of God. Jesus' actions and teachings, as recorded decades after his death by subsequent writers, are reported in the four Gospels of the Bible. The only gospel writer who may have been an actual witness to Jesus' life was John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke were chroniclers of the time (50-80 A.D.). Jesus Christ wrote no account of himself, of his birth, parentage, or any thing else; not a line of what is called the New Testament is of his own writing. The history of him is altogether the work of other people. Christianity is a religion of obedience to a single Father figure, and thus women and children had to obey males (husbands and priests).
In Acts 4-5, Jesus preached tolerance, forgiveness, and prompt payment of taxes. But he never said a word about sacraments, bishops, the supression of literature and scientific knowledge, the persecution of heresy, birth control, or homosexuality. His peaceful teachings have been twisted and misinterpreted to justify such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. Ideas of male supremacy were derived from the Biblical narrative.
The Novationists, a sect led by Novatinius of Rome, who held that those whose faith or obedience had lapsed might not be received again into communion with the church, and therefore, second marriages were unlawful. He was the one who created what is known as 'excommunication.' It was really tragic for women, because it forced them to stay in marriages with violent and unfaithful husbands. Unfortunatley, in my opinion, this is still recognized today by far too many women and churches.
In the early part of the 4th century A.D., the Catholic Church was transformed into royalty; they were enobled by Emporer Constantine, who was converted to Christianity as he lay dying. In a very real sense, the Catholic Church invented Western royalty, creating a system of regional kings and vassals subject to Rome. The 'world prince' is called the Pope (Latin for 'father'). His pronouncements are supposedly infallible.
Many religious communities have been slow to re-evaluate their traditions and to actively challenge the those parts of their belief structures that support violence against women. Religion is often sited as a reason to limit women's rights across cultures and at the international level.
The 'Age of Reason' was a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent and instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. The powers and uses of reason had first been explored by the philosophers of ancient Greece, who discerned in the ordered regularity of nature the workings of an intelligent mind. Rome adopted and preserved much of Greek culture. Amid the turmoil of empire, however, a new concern arose for personal salvation, and the way was paved for the triumph of the Christian religion. The product of a search for a natural--rational--religion was Deism, which, although never an organized cult or movement, conflicted with Christianity for two centuries, especially in England and France. It should be noted that 'Deism' refers to what can be called natural religion, the acceptance of a certain body of religious knowledge that is inborn in every person or that can be acquired by the use of reason, as opposed to knowledge acquired through either revelation or the teaching of any church. Plainly stated, Diests believe in God but not in Christ; nor do they believe in orthodox Christianity. The high point of Deist thought occurred in England from about 1689 through 1742, during a period when, despite widespread counterattacks from the established Church of England, there was relative freedom of religious expression
Even in the Bible I find there are insults to women. Lev.21: 3-7 tells you that men are monitarily worth more than women. Lev.15 19-30 says that when a women is menstruating she is unclean and instructs that the woman must be put away for seven days, and anything or anyone who touches her or her belongings is also unclean. Deut. 22:5 tells women not to wear mens clothes. 1 Cor.14: 34-35 intructs men to keep their women (meaning mother, sister, wife, daughter) silent in the church for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. Eph.5: 22-24 tells women to 'submit' to their husbands.
From those days to this, women have struggled to assert their right to live free, to be respected as living sensual beings, and to enjoy the protection of civil (nonreligious) law as equals of men, equally worthy of dignity and due process.
AGE OF THE DAUGHTER
I think the Age of the Daughter was begun in the late 1700's.
In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John (The Feminist Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir, New York: Columbia University Press, 1973): "In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."
In 1848, at the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a two-day meeting of 300 women and men to call for justice for women in a society where they were systematically barred from the rights and privileges of citizens. Women had been discussing and organizing to demand equal rights...at first their cries fell on deaf ears...but as time has gone on, more male children were being raised and taught to be more conscientious about the female role in our world.
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
As supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment between 1972 and 1982 lobbied, marched, rallied, petitioned, picketed, went on hunger strikes, and committed acts of civil disobedience, it is probable that many of them were not aware of their place in the long historical continuum of women's struggle for constitutional equality in the United States. From the very beginning, the inequality of men and women under the Constitution has been an issue.
The United Nations adopted in 1979 the 'Convention the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women' Article 11 1 d) reads as follows: 'States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular: (...) (d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work.'
The Equal Rights Amendment , first proposed in 1923, is still not part of the U.S. Constitution. It has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. When three more states vote yes, it is possible that the ERA could become the 28th Amendment.
Equal Rights is not just about women, it is about men too. Men have been given rights to care for their children, to assist in the upbringing of their children, to monitarily care for their children after a divorce, and to have 'family medical leave'. Men are also moving to new career areas. And its not just here in the US either. In the 'Proclamation of Teheran', made at the International Conference on Human Rights at Teheran on 13 May 1968, article 15 states: 'The discrimination of which women are still victims in various regions of the world must be eliminated. An inferior status for women is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations as well as the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The full implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is a necessity for the progress of mankind.'
No woman living in the 20th century can leave unexamined the spiritual assault on the nature and rights of women, perpetrated by 2000 years of Religions of the Book. It is time to look elsewhere for a philosophy which celebrates the living human being, gives honor and respect, and embraces the divine in all things.
In the last twenty years, the history of women in ancient Christianity has been almost completely revised. As women historians entered the field in record numbers, they brought with them new questions, developed new methods, and sought for evidence of women's presence.
We are gaining back our equality here in the US and in some foreign countries!!!! Women work and provide for their families; equal pay for equal work is happening (albeit too slow for my liking); and women are involved in government. Women are balancing work outside the home; going back to college; some are entering the work-force for the first time in many years. To me the next 200 years will be exiting times for women.
Sources and Reading:
Equal Rights Ammendment
An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World, by Harry Elmer Barnes, 1965
© 1997 - 2010 Fabrisia, reprints not allowed without permission
This page was last modified:
Email Me Your Questions Or Comments