God as feminist

 Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

And since God is a feminist, it shouldn’t be that big a surprise to see all his devout followers being feminists of the same scale as the deity himself

Among all the talk of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and omnibenevolence of the Almighty, which seem to cover all the bases of veneration, some lesser known virtues of God quite often end up being shrouded. With the deity being at the receiving end of pretty much every single brand of eulogy and the subject of all kinds of tributes and testimonies, many have unfortunately overlooked his accomplishments for a cause that he has been particularly vocal about: women empowerment.

In fact, instead of acknowledging the work and endeavor of the earliest known feminist – whose struggle is said to have begun at least 13.798 billion years ago – a lot of the skeptics are hell bent on stamping the “misogynist” label on him. It’s about time we cleared the misconceptions regarding the one entity that can be dubbed the founding father of all waves of feminism known to the mankind.

As early as the 3rd century B.C.E, in the best selling Hebrew Bible, God made his feministic side pretty conspicuous when he discussed Hagar, Tamar, the Bethlehem concubine, and the daughter of Jephthah. Kicking on from there the deity in the Babylonian Talmud juxtaposes women with two of the archetypes of freedom and empowerment: slaves and cattle (Kidushin 2/A, 14/B, 25/B), and extols the four supreme characteristic that only women can acquire: gluttony, jealousy, obedience and laziness. He then goes on to spell out women’s status in Baba Batra: “Happy is he whose children are males, woe is him whose children are females.”

Through said woe, repeated in all kinds of divine scriptures, the deity laid the foundation of female liberation for the millennia to come.

To present every single pro-feminism quote in Judaism would be akin throwing half a library on our readers’ faces, and so instead we shall handpick some of the juiciest samples from the Talmud and the Midrashim:

“Anything a man wants to do with his wife, he shall do. It is like meat that has come from the slaughterhouse; wants to eat it salted, he eats it. Roasted–he eats it. Boiled–he eats it.”

God on the scrumptious delicacy that a woman is…

“A woman is a bag full of excrement and her mouth is full of blood–and everyone runs after her”

Here the deity explains the reasons behind the irresistible lure of women…

God’s feministic movement wasn’t obviously restricted to one particular people and so he expanded his struggle to include the Christians as well, manifestations of which can be seen in the Old Testament. Exodus, Genesis and Leviticus are probably three of the most vocal chapters in support of women rights in all of literature.

The towering value of women can be seen in Exodus 21: 7-10 which elaborates how there isn’t much wrong with selling your daughters and allowing them to be raped, while 22:16-17 orders men to marry virgins that they rape. Leviticus 19: 20-22 discusses the pardonable act of raping slave girls and 27:6 establishes the worth of girls as being 60 percent of boys. Again, we wouldn’t want to conjure another library of pro-feminism citations and so let’s just look at a few gems:

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

The deity expressing his admiration for women…

“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” (Timothy 2:12)

Here championing the cause for gender equality…

The deity’s next wave began in the Arabian Peninsula, where he orchestrated the Arabs’ feministic charge. The Quran told the Arabs how they should beat their wives (4:34) and how women are half in legal terms (2:282). This protected women from the strenuous task of becoming leaders and ensured that they had support every time they had to narrate a tiring account in the court. Furthermore by praising women as fields that can be ploughed (2:223), the main source of fruition of joy and prosperity was appositely established.

These were God’s feministic adventures in the Abrahamic realm, but his historic pivot towards east also showcased the quintessence of feminism. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana clamour for the cause, with the former cementing women atop their gaudy throne by declaring them the “root of all evil” with their most prominent desire being transgression of the “restraints assigned to them” (Anusasana Parva). Laws of Manu, V, 147-8 pretty much summarises the deity’s yearn for women empowerment:

“By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent”

While the Ramayana established a woman’s glory by elucidating that, “Women are impure by their very birth, they blight all virtues, their nature is to be vicious, fickle and sharp-tongued. A woman’s only duty is devotion of body, speech and mind to her husband”

Even Buddhism, wherein the deity’s involvement appears to be minimal, one can extricate a feministic essence. Exclusively feminine virtues like “irritability, jealousy, greed and unintelligence” are commended in the Anguttara Nikaya, which also goes onto rubber stamp the prognostication that women “can never be enlightened.” Similarly Jainism propagates the same assertion, highlighting how women can’t gain ultimate spiritual liberation but of course they can try and become men in the next life so as to fulfill the ambition of liberation.

We have showcased just a few examples from some of the biggest religious realms. Rest assured that all other religions depict the feministic side of God in all its glory. God is, and has always been, a staunch feminist, and the special tribute he reserves for the female reproductive system in all of his scriptures should be proof enough. And since God is a feminist, it shouldn’t be that big a surprise to see all his devout followers being feminists of the same scale as the deity himself.

Hence, for all budding feminists we would highly recommend reading up on God’s take on women and the concept of feminism. It’d help them clear their mind up with regards to the contradictions facing off inside their brains and in turn ensure that they don’t end up being (oxy) morons.

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