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Women And The Church: The Madonna/Whore Complex

2122 words - 9 pages

Since the beginning of recorded history, our world has put certain expectations and rules on female and males alike. Whether it be in the workplace, at home, or in society. There is a list of unwritten rules that every person should abide by if they want to fit in to their culture. For women in America, filling this quota is a lot harder than it seems. The Western woman is under the influence of unrealistic expectations regarding the media, this is true, but it is more complicated than that. Scholars have noticed a trend in the guidelines for women, from the stories in the bible to today’s modern media. The woman is to be a sexual being, a vixen, a wild child; while at the same time remaining reserved, submissive and pure. This phenomenon is called the Madonna/Whore complex. Madonna refers to the Virgin Mary, the epitome of chaste and respectable lady, and the whore refers to the side of the woman that is most like Eve, a temptress and dangerous seductress.
The most read and worshipped texts in the world are religious text, especially in the beginning of Western empires, where the bible was the rule book to etiquette in everyday life. Guidelines and laws were often based off of this sacred text. For much of civilization, churches and places of worship have had the most impact on society, contrary to today’s emphasis which focuses more on the entertainment industry. The scholarly article, “Women and The Church: Go Created Women in Her Own Image,” article agrees with this assumption and said, “Of all of the institutions which throughout the centuries have sanctioned and fostered the subjugation of women, the Roman Catholic Church can be charged with being the most influential and therefore the most damaging” ("Women And The Church: God Created Woman In Her Own Image"). The damage the article refers to is the negative light in which women are portrayed. Eve is not the only woman who is shown to be an adversary. There were many other treacherous women featured, including but not limited to: Jezebel, a devil worshipping murderer who killed prophets, Bathsheba, who also is known for murder, and Delilah, who uses her sexuality to deceive men for her own insidious benefit. On the other hand, well-known figures like Jesus’ mother Mary, Anna the elderly follower of Jesus, and Deborah the prophetess. The same can be said for men, there are evil and pure men in the Bible. However, men are never held to be less than women or held to the same standard as women. The evil women are highlighted as the women’s race is evil, and the pure women are the exceptions. In the middle of those two areas are the obedient women. Women are expected to fill all of these quotas. The previously mentioned article takes a quote from the Bible to illustrate in one phrase the role of women in the Christian bible:
“Eve's moral weakness is exploited by Satan, who seduces her into eating from the tree of knowledge, from which she learns about carnal pleasures. She then passes this...

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