10TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WOMEN'S STUDIES // X JORNADAS INTERNACIONALES DE ESTUDIOS DE LA MUJER
TOPOGRAFÍAS DOMÉSTICAS Y GÉNERO // NEGOTIATING GENDERED SPACES
or the eneolithic morality of the sacred feminine
by D. Mendez
Needles to say, one of the gendered spaces to negotiate is that of spiritual guidance. Accused of encarnating evil since the Genesis of history, expelled from early Christianity by the Synod of Nicaea and condemned again during the Catar heressy, women have just recently recovered part of their spiritual leadership in the inter-religious, multicultural Riverside Church of Manhattan, Protestant temples and tribal rituals, but she is still ostraziced of most others.
Nevertheless, modern scanning techniques of brain activity (Carter, 1999; Rubia, 2003) have depleted ecstasy and priesthood of their past male-dominated legitimacy and have turned religion into only a tradition as old as the written word. But prior to this, there seems to be quite some evidence of gender parity in the sacred matters of the paleolithic (Adovasio, 2008).
Moreover, according to historical research (Eisler, 1987) and linguistic evidence, early neolithic settlements with more egalitarian social structures were swept away by tribes of cattle breeders, dispossessed and mercenaries with a martial and patriarcal ideology -the expansion of Indo-European languages and the Hebrew exode described in the Bible being two obvious paradigms.
Therefore, more than sharing the altar of our churches, our most urgent challenge consists precisely of bringing back those more egalitarian moral values: the philosophy by which a simple couple of a man and a woman represent all pairs of opposites -day and night, life and death...- and our embrace stands for the union of opposites, the fertility of our fields, the prosperity of our lives (Mendez, 2010).
This approach points out a new alternative to Dutch and Swedish policies to deal with prostitution, that is, a more resposible attitude than simply ignoring this sordid reality (Ayen, 2010): sacralizing sexuality and legalizing the oldest profession as the religious cult to Ishtar it was once and is still practiced in modern India.
This train of thought reminds me of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood (Paint your Wagon, 1968) as forty-niners during the Gold Rush in the town meeting in which the only remedy for Marvin's jealousy -married to the only woman in town- consisted of assalting a coach, kidnapping six French bawds and taking them to No Name City:
“Soon there'd be another saloon... And another gambling hall... And hotels!
Property would shoot straight up. They'd make more money selling old claims than gold.
These men didn't come out here to forge a nation!
That's for men with a big dream, with visions of America's greatness. l'm warning you, if you want to turn us into a dreary boom town metropolis filled with nothing but millionaires, all you gotta do is put up one little, tiny two-storey cathouse!
l say let's put it to a vote, and any man opposed is a traitor!”
If Eve's original sin meant women's submission to men, the acknowledgement of the sacred character of human sexuality could bring about the redemption of humanity as well as the overcoming of our crisis of ideologies and markets.