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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

The Burning Times: fascinating docu on women's power before Christianity

985 replies

sakura · 28/05/2011 01:15

[[

#at=380 youtube]]

ANd why women are feared to the extent that they are accused of witchcraft and killed for it
OP posts:
dittany · 02/06/2011 00:03

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dittany · 02/06/2011 00:04

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swallowedAfly · 02/06/2011 00:13

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dittany · 02/06/2011 00:16

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dittany · 02/06/2011 00:19

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Tyr · 02/06/2011 00:20

Er, I've been out all night so missed this, "I called Tyr an MRA which he could probably report me for."

"He" hasn't reported it, nor would "he", if it bothers you. Still think it revealing that the term would be used as an insult. The answer to that might shed some light on how prejudice arises. Similarly, the way some of you have turned on others. If the anger was allowed to fester in isolation, rather than open debate, what kind of group would have bonded around it? If that group was in a position to silence dissent and had a vested interest in doing so, what kind of behaviours might have emerged?
It seems to me that the answers to some of the questions posed can be seen in everyday situations, even an exchange of posts on an internet forum if you set aside any assumption that cruelty to women, or men, is the sole preserve of men in power.

dittany · 02/06/2011 00:29

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swallowedAfly · 02/06/2011 00:29

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MillyR · 02/06/2011 00:31

Tyr, yes, but ultimately in any situation, there is a line you do not cross in your treatment of others. I rarely feel that on MN that line is crossed - I've only seen it happen to one feminist poster, and she hasn't been on this thread.

dittany · 02/06/2011 00:38

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Tyr · 02/06/2011 00:41

MillyR,

I'm not saying it has been crossed, whatever that line is. I was basically asking what if.....
I'd still like to know why Dittany appears to believe that the rights of men and women are so mutually exclusive in her view that she uses that term as an insult.

swallowedAfly · 02/06/2011 00:50

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Himalaya · 02/06/2011 01:17

I think at the base of it what we are getting at here is the problem with the 'men's-violence-and-misogyny-explains-the-patriarchy-and-whathehell-explains-men's-violence-because-men-and-women-are-identical- (bar the obvious physical differences)' school of thought.

The witch craze is quite clearly an example of violence and misogyny at work, and yet when you get down to it  thats just a description, not an explanation of why it happened. To say that it was driven by men's hatred of  women is not a satisfactory answer to why it was and why it played out differently in Finland, Spain etc.. All these questions are just brushed away by the argument that it's misogyny and that all you need to know,  and that  understanding the institutions, politics and getting the dates right is mere quibbling over insignificant detail.

Playing fast and loose with history wasnt just a mistake by the video makers that could be corrected with a bit of editing and an errata. The video looked like a devotional piece rather than a documentary - written to promote  the mystical- religious view of a time before when women were revered and had power and special women-knowledge, before it got swept away and stolen from us and replaced by man-knowledge (the kind that quibbles over dates and statistics). Which seems to be part of the same Garden of Eden story.

The story just doesn't stack up.

What if society evolved through the differential behaviours of men and women to maximise each individual gene's chance of being passed on. In the tough environment we evolved in that meant trading off some equality for survival. Agriculture made that trade off stronger ( as SAf said) technologies have made it even stronger so power got more concentrated. And power without axcountability corrupts, sometimes in terrible ways (and power always outraces accountability)

LRDTheFeministDragon · 02/06/2011 08:51

'Can you really not see that a more balanced approach might have been - "this film has serious historical flaws, but as an account of the witchcraze itself it is a useful piece of work" - you know, separate parts out a little, rather than writing the whole thing off and traducing the makers as liars.'

No, Dittany, that wouldn't be 'a more balanced approach', that would agreeing with you.

I just don't, here, on this one. People disagree sometimes. What we can surely agree on is that it's important for us on this section to find ways to talk and think not only about the abuse that has been or is being done to women, but also about how to get past that and fight that, and find some kind of integrity in the face of that. I think it is really important to work that through.

dittany · 02/06/2011 08:55

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dittany · 02/06/2011 08:58

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LRDTheFeministDragon · 02/06/2011 09:10

Let's leave aside the issue of whether this film is merely 'mistaken' or not - we're not going to agree, are we?

However, I object to poor documentaries on other topics too - and Sakura and I agreed very early in this thread that there are some appalling 'documentaries' out there that seem to go unchallenged because they support the status quo. You are right that this is important too, absolutely.

When you say, though, 'this isn't regarded as poor scholarship' I'm confused - by whom is it not recognized? I'm not doubting you here, I just want to know an example so we can all attack it and maybe find better alternatives - that way we can all pool what we do know and get better educated. I think that's a great thing to do in this section actually - it'd be good to have a feminist review of documentaries and so on (like the book club) so with luck, when we see something we think sounds misogynistic, someone will be able to tell us what the truth is. I'd really appreciate that actually - so often it annoys me that I will see or hear something (eg., about 'brain differences between men and women') that sounds plausible, and I don't have the training to take issue with it. Then recently someone told me to read the Cordelia Fine book, and I though 'Oh, great - so it is wrong!' It'd be lovely to have more of that.

LRDTheFeministDragon · 02/06/2011 09:13

Actually, something else I hope you'll feel is important too, re. so-called 'serious historians' - remember the comments about the way Mary Beard looked by, I think it was, A.A. Gill? There were loads of comments in support of her on that issue! And I think that's important too - not just objecting to bad scholarship or misogynistic presenters but also pointing out people who do the job well.

Tyr · 02/06/2011 12:29

"You know there are uncritical documentaries about christianity and the christian church on TV all the time, which never mention its basis in and on-going hatred of women. That isn't regarded as poor scholarship even though it is, but becuase it's made by men or people propping up male institutions so they are seen as serious historians."

Dittany,

Which documentaries are those? Unless I?ve missed something, most documentaries on the RC church have focussed (quite correctly, in my view) on the child abuse scandal.
Considerable coverage has been given to the issue of the ordination of women as priests in the C of E.
Then there was the docu-film on the Magdalene Laundries, which did address the systematic abuse of women within the RC church- by other women- nuns.
It's been a long time since the Church got an easy time over anything.

MooncupGoddess · 02/06/2011 12:42

There are a lot of more general documentaries about the Christian church too, Tyr - e.g. Diarmuid MacCulloch's recent series The History of Christianity. I haven't watched it (would be very interesting to see how he addressed the woman issue) so this isn't a specific comment about that series, I'm just backing up dittany's general point.

I'm sure a quick Google/look through BBC archives will find many other Christianity-related programmes that don't really discuss the role of women, and many that are generally supportive of Christianity/the church.

MooncupGoddess · 02/06/2011 12:45

In fact here is a nice link to make my point.

www.bbc.co.uk/religion/

dittany · 02/06/2011 17:58

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Tyr · 02/06/2011 18:10

It's not quite correct to say that they erased it; in fact it's completely incorrect. It was subsumed and accomodated for in the RC church.
Neither is it correct to say that the basis of christianity is misogyny, although that has played a part in its history.

dittany · 02/06/2011 18:14

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swallowedAfly · 02/06/2011 18:38

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