Welcome to my blog! This is my first blog post ever, in the history of the universe, and boy is it intimidating! Lets get started with an overview of some basic mythology, and then hopefully you’ll bear with me as we make our way towards the actual point of this blog…
In Jewish mythology, Eve was not the first woman made for Adam. Before Eve, (who was apparently pretty horrible for mankind in her own right), there was Lilith. While there are different origin stories, it is generally believed that Lilith and Adam were made at the same time. Adam was made from dust, and Lilith was made from mud and filth. Lilith believed that because they were both made from ‘dust,’ or earth, they were equals. She left Adam because she refused to lie under him while ‘procreating’. She believed that since they were equals, she should not have to be beneath him (oh symbolism!). She spoke the unspeakable name of God, and vanished over to the Red Sea. Adam complained to God, and God sent three angels after Lilith to bring her back to Adam and make her obey. Lilith commanded the angels away by speaking the name of God, and went along her merry way. From then on, everything gets a little hazy. Suffice to say, Lilith went on to do a lot of bad things that included seducing men, killing babies, making childbirth more difficult, and even giving young men wet dreams by seducing them in their sleep. You know, basic women-are-the-cause-of-everything-evil-in-the-world stuff.
In contrast to all this Lilith/evil stuff, lilies are a sign of purity. Beginning in Greek mythology, lilies were associated with the mother goddess, Hera, to symbolize purity and innocence. Later in Christianity, Mary, mother of God, and virgins are often depicted with lilies around them to symbolize their purity and innocence.Lilies are also sometimes associated with death, because many religions believed that the only way to reclaim lost purity and innocence is to die.
Now, what the hell does that all have to do with this blog?
Well, I think that conservative religious views of women (which are the ones I hate the most, and seem to be the most prevalent in America), believe in both of these images for all women. At our core, they believe that we are evil seductresses who bring down men with our lustful sexuality without even trying. We are inherently bad – but wait ladies, there’s good news! If we try our very hardest, it is possible to be like the Lily. Being like the lily is to resist tempting others by covering our bodies and being ‘modest,’ protecting our virginity, and always, always being second to men.
I will always fight against this way of thinking.
Growing up in a Catholic school from elementary to high school, I faced this rhetoric for most of my life. And I believed it. It was hard not too, when it was drilled into my brain from birth. But it is an incredibly harmful way of thinking. It leads to domestic abuse, rape, depression, self-loathing, unwanted pregnancy, eating disorders . . . the list goes on and on. Some of these manifest less often than others, but they are all based on the belief that we, because we are women, are somehow bad, and that the bad things that happen to us are our fault. And I think it is a truly terrible tragedy that the religion that I grew up with, that I believed in, has that impact on its women.
As you can probably tell, I don’t identify as a Catholic anymore. But it’s also hard to identify as a modern, independent, feminist woman either. There are images and messages everywhere, from new to old media, that are hellbent on keeping women down. Keeping us as stereotypes.
When I was younger, I truly felt like I was a Lilith among Lilies. I thought all the other girls must be good – I saw they behaved well, dressed well, and seemed like lilies, whereas I knew my thoughts. I felt like a Lilith. I felt dirty, and that no matter how hard I tried, it would never be enough. I would never be good, no one would ever listen to me or respect me and my opinions. If I could have said the true name of God and made everyone who would tie me down go away, I would. In a heartbeat. But that’s not possible. Instead, you have to open your mind to new thoughts, opinions, moralities, and find those that rejoice women. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. I try to absorb as much information about women, sex, gender, and culture that I can, in trying to make this world a better place for girls like the one I was years ago. What I’ve discovered is that Lilith isn’t bad, she was right. We are sexual beings, we deserve to be equals, we can be independent of man without being evil. We can be sexy and loving, good and innocent. We can be a Lilith in Lilies, and make our own definition of what being a woman means to us.
So, instead of posting long-winded Facebook statuses anymore trying to not only express, but form my own opinions and ideologies on what being a woman, and being a feminist, means to me, I decided to start this blog. I welcome comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms! I will respect all views in the comments as well, even if they contradict mine; discourse is always encouraged, and I am always open to learning new perspectives! However, please be respectful of everyone’s views, and be aware that bullying will not be tolerated.
Welcome, and thanks for stopping by!