Sunday, December 19, 2010

Word and thought for the day

disparaging; derogatory; insulting
 The English language is rather discriminative and pejorative towards women, reflecting a long held world view of the dominant group (i.e. men), and accepted and believed by many of the muted group (i.e., women) Phrases such as husband and wife, brother and sister and men and women sound rather familiar and though many would deny it today, the fact that the male came first reflected the supposedly objective world view held by the patriarchs - that man was the normative and came first in the natural order (does the Bible's creation story ring a bell?), and that woman was deviant, unnatural, non-normative.

The creation story of the Bible calls that Adam was created first, and that Eve was created from the rib of Adam (reducing worth of women already -to that of a rib! Furthermore, this is a gross inversion of Eve born of Adam, female born from male, rather than female giving birth to male). The snake tempts/tricks Eve into eating The Apple (side note: the snake has been the sign of fertility of many supposedly 'pagan' religions before the advancement of Christianity - portraying the snake as the sign of evil also equated to saying that all other religions were evil). When Eve convinces Adam to eat the Apple, who cops the blame?
Well, the woman, of course! Eve obviously seduced and tricked Adam into eating it! Of course, Adam, being male, can't be stupid! It's not his fault he consented to eating it! It was entirely against his will - he was coerced, absolutely! /SARCASM
As Gail Shulman (1974) says it more succintly;
'Rather than blaming the man for his weakness in yielding to temptation, the woman is branded as dangerous, irresistible temptress'
Shulman, Gail, 1974, 'View from the back of the synagogue: women in Judaism', in Alce Hageman (ed.) Sexist Religion and Women in the Church, in Dale Spender, Man Made Language, p168
Of course, there are other Christain Creation stories, just that the one above is the most well known and favoured one.

Then there's Yin and Yang. They are suppossedly equal, but think about it; Yin represents dark, low, cold, female while yang represents light, high, hot, male. Again, man comes on top, as reflected in the society where this 'duality' originates from.

Indeed, the English language is pejorative to the muted, female group.

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