We broached the subject of religion today in women’s studies and I was immediately transported back to my Human Spirituality class junior year with Juliana Rasnic(I love her). We were learning about the Divine and the idea of the Goddess in 20,000 BCE. Venus of Willendorf statues are these small hand-carved statuettes of female figurines found all over Europe and Asia. The figures are fat, and voluptuous, which implies they’re nourished and healthy as well as fertile. We can’t really know for sure what their purpose was, but critically analyzing these figures I think there’s a strong sense of purpose that comes into view. The figures are fat meaning she’s healthy, has access to food, and is nourished which means she can nourish you leading the the idea of women as caretakers. The figures might be pregnant>women as life givers. They don’t have feet or legs so they could be wedged between two rocks to guard the mouth of caves and sometimes people are buried with them>which means they served a religious function. The genitals(and mouths of caves) were sometimes painted red, symbolizing the menstrual cycle. Professor Rasnic made a really interesting point at this point in the lecture. She told us, “women can bleed for a week without dying, and that’s amazing.” Women at this time period, living in close quarters would have their cycles synced up with each other, as well as with the cycles of the moon. The moon is one symbol of the goddess tradition- it has 4 stages: growing/waxing, full, waning, and new moon(rebirth). We talked about other symbols of the goddess tradition like fruit(grows and give new life, also nourishes us), snakes(shed their skin, rebirth), water(symbol of birth), spiral(dynamic growth spiral, fibanachi sequence which is also found everywhere in nature). Then Professor Rasnic blew my mind again when she pointed out that Genesis 3 turns these positive symbols into negative symbols. How do you change the image of the divine-by using its own images against it. This was the beginning of a monumental shift from feminine to masculine images. So why did the shift occur? A few things:
1. The development of agriculture and domestication of animals means humanity has increased its power over nature, a symbol associated with the goddess.
2. Increase of war. Women were not the warriors in society, originally due to their value as creaters of new life. Over time this began to translate into a weakness.
3. Natural disasters wipe out goddess cultures
Is this the beginning of women becoming secondary figures in religion and society? Today we discussed how crazy it is that some things from the past seem to stick while others are completely forgotten. I think there have to be specific reasons for aspects to have changed over time, but it’s not always easy to look back and figure out why.
I think hiding behind the visage of a compliment is a farce. A compliment shouldn’t make someone feel uncomfortable or sometimes unsafe. But let’s step back and look at this from the other side. Imagine a street scene of a young male walking down the sidewalk receiving cat calls from a group of females-what’s your initial reaction? Personally, I think that’s kind of creepy right and maybe a little desperate? Let me tell you a story.
My friend, we’ll call her Mary, told me a story the other day about why she hates walking through Monroe Park. Apparently, there’s a man(or more than one, I’m not sure) who has on multiple occasions followed beside her on his bicycle asking her questions. The questions aren’t inherently offensive, mostly,”What’s your name? You look nice today, can I have your number? Where are you going?” She’s tried different techniques to fend off the man, ignoring him, mumbling answers, walking a different way-he just follows right along side her. I asked her why she didn’t just tell him she’s not interested or tell him what she’s really thinking,”fuck off.” That’s when Mary said something that made me really upset. She said she doesn’t want to do that because she’s afraid he might react badly or even aggressively. That’s absolutely unacceptable for a student at VCU or anywhere to feel uncomfortable walking through a public park in the middle of the day because they might attract unwanted attention. There’s the victim blaming excuse-Oh, she’s probably asking for it by the way she dresses or acts. Mary is a very quiet, a little self-conscious girl who doesn’t open up and certainly doesn’t dress in any way provocatively. I think street harassment makes women more self-conscious about themselves when we need women to be strong, self-assured, and independant. No one should feel uncomfortable walking to class in the middle of the day.
Oh my god, really!? Who wrote that question, this is awful!
It’s time we stop victim blaming. I’m sick of hearing how promising these two attacker’s football careers were. That’s irrelevant, these attackers made the conscious decision to rape another human being and for that they should be punished, end of story. Thank you Melissa Harris-Perry for stepping forward and showing us that there are people in the media that get it.