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fascinating stuff [Jun. 1st, 2004|10:20 pm]
[mood |geeky]

Ok so this is my 4th try. . .

Would you believe this is my 3rd try to post this?!

Damn it!!!!!!!! I had this all typed out and the stinking blog just made it disappear! #@!%%#%%@!!

I am working on a term paper on medieval women and music and I came across these strong expressions of the ancient roots of patriarchy:

"The philosophy of gender polarity, articulated by Aristotle, is the source of the male/female binary opposition so familiar to medieval thinkers. According to Aristotle male/female could be juxtaposed with active/passive, form/matter, and perfection/imperfection. Furthermore, these oppositions are not perceived as equal and opposite but rather are in a hierarchical relationship. The female is understood to the the result of defective generation and is, as it were, a deformed male. Since she is imperfect, it is natural that man should rule over woman."

"The philosophy of gender unity attributed to Plato is somewhat more complex because it was not presented in a sustained and systematic discussion, and because his evaluation of gender tended to vary from work to work. In general, Plato believed that male and female are essentially the same and only accidentally different. The physical bodies of man and woman differ but they possess the same eternal souls. For Plato, bodily existence has the appearance of reality but it is in fact imperfect and transitory. Ultimately the body will pass away, leaving only the individual's true nature, the soul, which is neither male nor female. Consequently, Plato's body-soul dualism established that woman and man were of the same nature and that woman was just as capable as man of moral and intellectual perfection. Yet, this dualism also relegated the physical to a secondary status. Woman's body was believed weaker and she was more closely linked with the physical world through the process of giving birth. This, then, provided an explanation for woman's evident social inferiority. However, social and physical inferiority notwithstanding, according to Plato women and men were of essentially the same nature and equally capable of the highest wisdom, virtue, and moral perfection." (mind/body split; view of the soul/mind as pure and valuable, while body is corrupt and suspect)

Tertullian characterized women as "the devil's gateway."

"By the late thirteenth century, as a result of Thomas Aquinas's reconciliation of Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology, women's inferiority and subordination became grounded firmly on both the theoretical and practical levels."

(Quotes taken from: "Power of the Weak: Studies on Medieval Women." Edited by Jennifer Carpenter and Sally-Beth MacLean. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995. pgs. 3-5.)

From: lizhf
2004-06-02 10:36 pm (UTC)


Oh great.
I gotta say, the whole misogyny thing just takes this wind right outta my sails with religion. I'm always fascinated that giving birth is just so damn threatneing to men. (I realize I'ms aying this to two women who have. Do I feel inferior or what.) But seriously. Power power power, that's what?

Here--I am going to paste in my feminist retake on Adam and Eve for y'all, cause this is kinda what I do in response to this kind of info: (ooh scarry sharing the poems!)


... let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes)
Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak’st
As once thou slept’st while she to life was formed.
-Paradise Lost

The angel puts Eve into a sleep
as deep as he can then takes Adam uphill
to show him the coming years of death.
Ear to the earth, Eve dives into dreams.

In swirling unbirth she’s clay again, body
unraveled, mixed dust. In the ground,
voices are naming themselves:
Innana! Isis! As from wet fires, names

rise in walls of steam. Eve hears a call
strange as birdcry: be handmaiden.
She tries to answer but feels clay coursing
pushing her into body, breath. When she wakes

Eve listens close. Her lining hums.
She can see man and angel returning.
She opens the lips of her legs to the ground,
makes offering, her first blood.
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