June 22, 2018
The so-called weaker sex
by John Butch Preston
It seems almost a requirement that any discussion about the differences between the sexes must first touch base with the story of Adam and Eve. In a close reading of this story what immediately becomes apparent is that Adam needed corrective surgery, that he required an operation; the result of which, of course, was Eve. So as the old-time farmer’s admonition goes, God had to go back and lick his calf. In other words, He had to go back and complete His task or do it over; and in this case, create a companion for Adam, one who would become as one flesh with him, his equal. Here it is important to note that it wasn’t until after the apple incident that God arbitrarily had Adam rule over Eve and become subservient to him.
The great American poet Collister Huchison seems to come to Eve’s defense in her poem, “ Red Earth and Apples”: Oh, never was a serpent or a serpent spell could make a woman leave an eden for hell. But a hushed and dragging fruited tree is a wonderful, terrible thing to see, for a woman to see. Finally, a kind of vindication for Eve. We are taught that God works in mysterious ways, but one must wonder why God made motherhood Eve’s punishment when we now consider motherhood something vital and sacred? Of course we care little about what happened to the serpent. But poor innocent Adam, who blamed everything on Eve, got the lightest punishment of all. All God required him to do is work hard all his life, which is the essential reason for living anyway, according to Ernest Hemingway.
Then there is this philosophical joke: God was bored, so he created Adam. Then Adam became bored, so God created the animals. But this did not alleviated Adam’s boredom because he could not identify with the animals. So God created Eve. And as a result no one has been bored since. “Many a true word has been said in jest,” states the poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. So perhaps Eve’s contribution to life is not such a bad thing, for after all boredom is the primary cause of drug and alcohol problems, and perhaps excess pregnancies as well.
There is also the saying that behind every great man there is a woman. There is no other way to interpret this than to think that it is the woman who made him great—even to the extent of making a great bad-man like Napoleon. But none of us is without sin as the preacher tells us, so in showing her power to create a great man she can sometimes create someone undesirable. Logic tells us, sinful or not, that it is safe to assume that the woman behind the man is basically superior to him. On the other hand, think about the women who solely make themselves great! What man can really stand shoulder with a Helen Keller, a Lou Andres Solome, or a Saint Teresa?
But back to the main story: After the apple incident and knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve had to cover their naked bodies. And naked means only one thing in that context—sex! With their new knowledge of good and evil they obviously decided that sex was evil, otherwise why cover only the human parts that have to do with sex. Of course this brings up the subject of desire. Now whether desire was initially instilled in human nature by God or the serpent is debatable; but nevertheless, desire is our most overwhelming human drive, equal only to our need for some kind of spirituality. An entertaining analysis of these two human forces is brilliantly depicted by Tennessee Williams in his play, A Streetcar Named Desire.
But remember what Al Pacino says in the movie Scarface: First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman. Truer words were never spoken according to the “Me Too” movement that is now sweeping the country. God must have calculated that in making woman inferior and weaker that she would have to compensate for the loss of her former status in some way; it is apparent that she did this by obviously using her brain more than men do. The powerful are falling like tenpins, and if woman uses her strong will to score a major triumph in the realm of politics, she may save us yet.
What seems to be now happening is biblical indeed—perhaps a recreation of God’s original creation—that women are now beginning to take back their rightful place in God’s first arrangement—equal along side of man, if not slightly superior to him.
John Butch Preston is a retired college English teacher living on a farm in Lawrence County. He has been published in national journals and has three books on Amazon and local book stores: a novel titled Where Everything Important Happens on a Hillside, a short story collection, Ten Miles from Clay City and Other Stories, and The History and Tales of the Paintsville Stockyard. His play, Kentucky’s Richest Man, the story of John C. C. Mayo recently premiered at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. John is currently working on a new play and a new novel. His main source of pleasure is gardening.