Writter: Evangelos D. Kepenes (December 10, 2021, 8:13)
"My husband doesn't love me, because he didn't hit me with a pole" (Greek local folk proverb)
Taliban are the students of the Islamic knowledge movement who came to power in Afghanistan in 1996, after the civil war. The "Christian" West, even though it is in cultural decline, rightly accuses the Taliban's theocratic regime of being brutal, condemning their barbaric practices on the rights of women whom they consider inferior to men and useful only for reproduction. But these notions of inequality, subordination and social degradation of women in relation to men are old, as we shall see below, and highlight the timeless inequality between the two sexes, which was cultivated by erroneous philosophical and religious beliefs that prevailed over reason and equality. The result of these notions was the creation of hierarchical, unequal, social regimes, regarding men and women, which affected the institutions of justice, family and other areas.
a) Aristotle believed that "the male is the ruler and the female is the subject" (Politics 1.13, 1260). He thought that woman was an inferior being to man, "an imperfect male," and should be dominated by him. According to Aristotle, the consequence of biological inequality was social inequality. For Aristotle, woman differed not only in appearance but also in spirit, and therefore her position in society had to be limited, to receive less food, not to participate in education and in society, but to deal with the affairs of her home. But he advised husbands to keep their bed pure, love their wives and care for their happiness. Woman's purpose was childbearing, in which Aristotle believed that she participated passively as a vessel of reproduction, not having the knowledge of the function of the "egg" in the process of reproduction, which was discovered only in the 17th century. The biological differences that Aristotle saw between males and females influenced medical science for centuries.
Aristotle's beliefs about the education of women and their participation in society were reproduced for centuries, hindering social progress and creating many prejudices against them.
b) Plato also believed that "men are obviously superior to women and children" (Laws 917). As an advocate of incarnation and reincarnation, he believed that "humans have a dual nature and the higher of them is called man." He believed that women differed from men in strength and virtue but that they were equal to them in reason and ability. Unlike Aristotle, he argued that women should be educated and work with men without discrimination.
a) Christian bishop Augustine believed that woman has no soul and that sexual intercourse is satanic. (Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, by Uta Ranke-Heinemann)
b) Clement of Alexandria, Origen's teacher, taught: "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman." (Paedagogus 2:33)
c) The Apocryphal "Acts of Thomas" states that Christ came "to abolish the works of woman." (Acts and Martyrdom of Thomas, 11-12)
d) Athanasius the Great claims that "it is not safe to even decide together with women." ("About Idolatry " from his work "Against the Heathen”)
e) "Woman, the evil pack animal, the sliding worm, Adam's occupant, the daughter of falsehood, the prison of paradise, the one who expelled Adam, the opposing destruction, the enemy of peace." (John of Damascus. Sacra Parallela, PG 95.1329B)
f) In the introduction to "Works of John Chrysostom, volume 8" we read: "In this volume ... the first two of the treatises refer to unmarried individuals, clergymen, monks, nuns and devoted virgins, who abstained from marriage and dedicated themselves to God. But the fact that many of them lived with nuns or brought dedicated virgins into their homes, or vice versa (many virgins brought into their homes an unmarried clergyman or monk under the pretext of spiritual cohabitation), defamed the institution of celibacy. There is no excuse to justify this unacceptable behavior. The weakness, the inexperience, the inability of self-reliance that they invoke in this case, are all pretexts to save what has been condemned from the beginning. They would have been served in a much better and more efficient way, if they had hired assistants of the same sex," says Chrysostom. (Introduction by Ι.Μ. Sakalis, Philologist-Inspector)
And in his work "Against those men living with virgins," ["Subintroductae"] John Chrysostom continues by saying:
"Tell me, why do you live with the virgin?" For no other reason has this cohabitation been regulated than merely because of love and desire. Remove it and the need for it will disappear. What man who does not feel this need would prefer to suffer the limpness and the frauds and all the other defects of the female sex? That is why God endowed woman with this power from the beginning, because he knew that if she did not have this power, she would be completely contemptible, and that without desires no one would want to live with her. If, in the face of so much need and many other utilities, -because of course they give birth to children, take care of the house, offer many other services- if, after such and so many offers to men, they often faced their easy contempt and were expelled from the houses, how could they be lustful to us without desire, especially after so many humiliations they bring upon us?"
g) "When women subjugate someone to their power, they make him easily possessed by the devil, more careless, more boisterous, shameless, foolish, irritable, brazen, annoying, discreditable, abrupt, unfree, servile, rude, talkative, and in a word, all female flaws that they have are imprinted on his soul. It is therefore impossible for someone who is constantly with women with so much sympathy and grows up with their intercourse not to become a swindler, and lazy, and insignificant. And if he says anything, it will all be words of looms and hair, because his tongue has been infected by the female speech. And if he does something, he does it with a lot of servility, because he is far from the freedom that befits Christians, and he is not useful for any great achievement." (John Chrysostom, 4th Speech "on fasting and prudence")
h) Bishop Porphyry of Gaza, in execution of the edict "tear them down" issued by Arcadius in 401 AD, destroyed all the statues and works of art, public and private libraries, and tore down all the Greek temples of the city. According to his hagiographer Mark the Deacon, when Porphyry set fire to and destroyed the Marneion (a famous temple of Zeus in Gaza) he used its marbles to pave the road. As he proudly said: "To tread on them not only people, but also women and pigs and other animals"! (Life of Porphyry).
i) "It is better to eat poison than to eat with a woman, even if she is your mother or sister." (Isaac the Syrian)
j) "If you meet the devil and a woman at a crossroad, go to where the devil is and not where the woman is..." (Cosmas the Aetolian, p. 25)
It must be said that "patristic Christianity" did not hate women as natural beings; after all, it had great support from "fanatical" women. But he demonized the female sensual and erotic model, as well as the male one, thus denouncing the good Creator as an abuser. Violating the harmony of natural creation and driven by Gnostic perceptions, "patristic Christianity" formed a monastic, religious, anti-sensual and anti-erotic, sterile type of woman, contradicting the apostolic teaching that says:
“I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, give none occasion to the adversary for reviling” (1Tim. 5:14, see also Titus 2:3-4)
k) "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great." (Quran 4:34, Translation by M.H. Shakir)
l) It was only in 1545 AD (476 years ago at the Council of Trent) that the Catholic Church accepted that women also have a soul, with a majority of three (3) votes.
The above views are not in agreement with:
I) The right thinking
"A brave and sensible man loves and cares for his own woman" (Homer's Iliad Ι, 341-342)
"Your wife should respect you and not be afraid of you, because you did not take her as a maid but as a partner in life." (Epicurus)
ΙΙ) The Apostolic teaching
Jesus does not mention the superiority of Jewish men over women, but their "hardheartedness":
“He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so.” (Mat. 19:8)
“Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.” (Eph. 5:28-33)
“Howbeit neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.” (1Cor. 11:11-12)
“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1Cor. 7:3-4)
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)
Women's struggles for equal rights are historic, with victims, pain and persecution, and still continue. In 1972, in Paris, the feminist Olympe de Gouges, who was beheaded on November 3, 1793, because of her fiery feminist speech, proclaimed: "Women, wake up! The message of logic is heard all over the world! Discover your rights! " She was executed as an example and, as the Paris Prosecutor stated a few weeks later: "She died in the guillotine, because she had forgotten the virtues that suit her gender." (Greek Newspaper "The Dawn," Saturday, October 2, 2021)
In 1881, in the Isle of Man, and in 1893, in the then British colony of New Zealand, women who owned property gained the right to vote. They were followed by Canada in 1917, Britain and Germany in 1918, Austria and the Netherlands in 1919, the USA in 1920, France in 1944, Greece in 1952 and Switzerland in 1971.
The elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1979, signed in New York on March 17, 1980, and entered into force on September 3, 1981. In Greece, it was ratified on April 1, 1983.
Although in the "Papers" it seems that the absurdity of inequality has been settled, the implementation of the legislation is incomplete, especially in male-dominated societies that retain remnants of the old culture that challenges the equal rights of women.