What strikes me most in the book of Genesis is the emphasis on the distinction between man and woman. To a large extent, a woman is portrayed as being inferior to man, perhaps due to the fact that she was ‘created’ from the body of a man.
‘This one at last, bone of my bones,
and flesh of my flesh,
This one shall be called Woman,
for from man was this one taken’
Although there is no distinct division between the characteristics of a man and a woman, we see a difference in treatment of the two human forms. For instance, Lord God punishes Adam and Eve in two different ways.
To the woman He said,
‘I will terribly sharpen your birth pangs,
in pain shall you bear a children.
And for your man shall be your longing,
and he shall rule over you’
To re-emphasise Cephas’ point as to whether the bible does propagate the ill treatment of women, I feel that to an extent it does. It insists on a hierarchy in society. It almost appears as if we women are still being punished for Eve’s sins. Another instance, where the woman is seen as less authoritative is in her decision to choose who she will marry. Look at this description mentioned in the book of Genesis.
‘the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were comely, and they took themselves wives howsoever they chose’
This idea is still prominent in society where a large number of women are left choiceless. Furthermore, this statement also led me to remember Medea’s monologue as she addresses the chorus and mentioned that women were given husbands and asked to merely adjust to them. To not marry at all, would have been an even larger crime. The connection of ideas on the treatment of women in these two texts shows that this is an idea that is still alive over different generations.
This almost leads me to wonder whether literary texts help create awareness of crucial issues in society or do they initiate these ideas?