Google defines sexism as ‘prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex’. Both men and women can be victims of sexism, yet even Google is quick to point out that women are typically the victims. Sexism and feminism – the radical notion that women are people too – have quite recently been formed.Yet the origins of sexism can be traced to the parents of humankind.
Almost 4.6 billion people (adherents to Abrahamic religions) out of a population of 7.4 billion believe in Adam and Eve, and the events that surround them. We’ve been bombarded with their story, but fail to understand the effect of it. As told millions of times before, the serpent deceived Eve into eating fruit from the Tree Of Knowledge, which God had forbidden them to do. She then gave some of the fruit to Adam and God discovered their disobedience. This became known as the Original Sin. As it was Eve who was deceived, not Adam, she is seen as the reason for the Fall Of Man. Not only did she eat the fruit, but she proceeded to give some to Adam. Without analysis, one can quickly conclude that Eve is to blame for the Fall Of Man. She was weak, she was deceived and then tempted Adam into disobeying God.
Religion plays a dominant role in our lives. For those of us who consider ourselves to be ‘religious’, religion is pretty much the rule book by which we live our lives. Now consider those people who lived 2000 years ago. The Bible tells them that Eve was the reason that humans have a ‘sin nature’. These testosterone fueled men would have believed that women are weak and are the downfall of men. It’s very obvious to realise that religion led people to believe that women are inferior to men.
To add fuel to the fuel, Paul the Apostle and Saint Timothy had very strong opinions on how a woman should behave. In the first Epistle to Timothy, Paul writes; 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;she must be quiet.His opinions are then justified by reasons that he and many Christians believed to be accurate. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
It is quite clear that Eve is blamed for the Fall of Man and is seen as the reason why mankind is on Earth, and not in Eden where we wouldn’t have to work and pay taxes. As humans multiplied, Eve did not remain an individual, but became a symbol of women: weak, inferior and simply troublesome. Therefore the origin of sexism is the story of Adam and Eve, and how religions have narrated it. For centuries, women have been blamed for the sins of man. They have been treated as hosts for the sons of men. Yet women are equal to men. Whether it be from a Christian point of view, in which Eve was created from Adam’s rib to be protected and loved by him, not belittled. Or from an Islamic point of view in which God created one soul, and from that soul he created it’s mate so that men and women can live in equal harmony.
Today is not for altering yesterday’s history, but for writing tomorrow’s.