Am I a feminist?I started life as a son to a mother, a nephew to nine aunties and a grandson to a grandma. Soon I became a brother to a sister, an uncle to eight nieces and a friend to many female friends. In adult life I line-managed professional women and looked up myself to a great number of female bosses. Before long I became a husband to a wife and a father to daughters. You betcha I’m a feminist.
MasculinistHow could I not be? I’m a “masculinist” too, or whatever the word might be, and I’ll write about that in future. But equal opportunities starts with the greatest divide on the planet – the gender divide. In my retired dotage I can’t help but reflect that religion bears a massively significant responsibility for fostering unhealthy attitudes to women.
The Two Mary SyndromeI grew up with the saintly image of a blue-clad Virgin Mary (the apotheosis of other scriptural heroines like Esther, Ruth, Abigail and Hannah) and a second image of a biblical not-so-virginal temptress (Jezebel, Delilah, Potiphar’s Wife, Bathsheba and Herodias – “bad girls” all – that reached their culmination in the New Testament’s Mary Magdalene.)
|Abigail, Hannah, Mary, Mary M, Esther, Ruth, Jezebel, Potiphar's Wife and Delilah|
- the ideal woman who was soft-focus, virginal, motherly and nurturing (Virgin Mary, Perfect “Mother”)
- the temptress woman who was alluring, sexy, mysterious and dangerous (Mary Magdalene, Forbidden Fruit)
Even as a child I knew it wasn’t so straightforward. After all, bad-ass Virgin Mary squished snakes with her pretty feet on those otherwise demure statues – not an action I imagined I could do even now. And Mary Magdalene got a starring role in the key event of the Resurrection – so she must have been exceptional for God to pick her to be the first witness to the Risen Christ.