Eve, Magdalene and the Misunderstood in a Patriarchal Society
Upon reading the title, do not get me wrong. This article is not about biblical passages, nor an attempt to give light on a biblical history. This is about how women are treated in our society today. Their rights and roles have changed in the last decade, but there still exists inequality on how we deal with women vulnerabilities, characteristics and their potentialities. My personal experience with women from my mother, sister, female relatives, friends and some special friends have given me interesting insights on how women are portrayed in the society. This article therefore seeks to provide guidance on answering the question whether women are at fault or the society itself.
Women are portrayed differently and are quiet misunderstood. This has caused confusion and even distortion on how we see women in general, specifically on how they should behave and think. It is expected the females must be the source of care, warmth and nurturance in the community. They must exhibit a role model stance for children to follow; obedient, subservient, meek and complimentary to the social role of men. However, this should not be necessarily be the case all the time. Women, like men are entitled to their own decision-making, regardless of what influence and consequence women's self-determination could do to their manly counterparts. This must not be just a declaration, but a vow everyone must uphold as a sign of respect to everyone, men or women, independent of any gender popular associations.
The mother of the human race, who was created second and from Adam. Fiction, inspired-fiction or fact, the story of creation of man and woman has given an important depiction of women in the society. More than the better half of Adam and the first mother, Eve's character included a dark background, the seduction and the cause of original sin of mankind. Although this should not be regarded as absolutely true, this association though not logically founded has diminished of women in the society. Should the story have been told differently such that Adam was chased first by the snake before Eve, the role of women would have been much different. Moreover, should Eve have been created first than Adam, then it could have made significant implications in the society today. However, it has not been like that. Making an argument based on a hypothetical alteration to a biblical story would not be fruitful, but this somehow would serve as a springboard for discussions on gender equality.
The most confusing figure perhaps in the New Testament of the Bible is the character of Mary Magdalene. By strictly depending on the textual biblical narration according to the first four gospels, Magdalene was the first witness of the resurrection of Christ, a devoted disciple of Jesus who was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified and eventually died. Magdalene, and was one of the many healed by Jesus. Interestingly, she was mentioned in an instance involving Jesus' feet, her hair and tears. This interesting account has been interpreted wrongly and some ignored its significance. Nonetheless, such act establishes at least Jesus and Magdalene's proximity, but never on their relationship nor on who Magdalene really was.
Removing bias of interpretation, there was no mention that Magdalene was a prostitute. She was perhaps a repentant sinner, but the evidences supporting this maybe weak to establish it as absolute truth. It is never incorrect to believe Magdalene repented from her sins. In fact, that itself is inspirational, but putting Magdalene on a black-and-white spectrum of woman's morality is unfair. She may have done wrong before, like what we all do for we are imperfect, but that does not give us the right to put Magdalene in a box of unfair judgment of doing more abominable in the human perspective. No one would ever wanted to be branded as more than one actually is. This has caused repurcussions, not just on Magdalene, but women in general. After such premature tag has been made, women are seen vulnerable, worthy of repenting more than their manly compliments.
I have been hurt taken cared by women, learned and nurtured by them, as well as being manipulated and hurt. However, I see women independently from each other and away from their gender association. They are capable of mistakes like men. Men are even worse at times, but this does not guarantee women as more caring and understandable. Women are not weak, they just behave uniquely as a group compared to men. Everyone are different from each other, worthy of respect and comprehension. No one deserves to be understood. Man must go beyond usual biases as a rational being. It is just embarassing to know humans resort to readily-made gender associations at convenience, in spite of man's rationality and free will. Let man see the core of the person based on who they are, not because of which gender they have.
The world is about coexistence, not judgments. People change and are not subject to be evaluated as good or bad. Only individuals with narrow perspectives connote men with strength and women with subjectivity and weakness. People must not be assessed according to their gender, but according to their rationality, and their ability to adapt and live harmoniously with others with varying beliefs, behaviours and actions., may it be man or woman, or something in between.