Monday, January 25, 2010

Mary Daly, Redux

After my recent post on the late feminist theologian Mary Daly, I decided to do a little perusing around the blogosphere to see what others were writing about her passing. Undoubtedly, the woman invokes strong reactions among many.

Among the feminist blogosphere, her accomplishments were often mentioned alongside her errors as a human being.

On various Catholic blogs, I saw various men (and some women, but really, mostly men) wishing mercy, how sincerely I cannot say, on Daly's supposedly hateful, sexist, shriveled soul before going along to discuss, amongst like-minded "brothers," More Important Matters like god the fatherly father dudeman. Daly was a
"crackpot," these holy men flippantly declared. "No one" learned "anything" from her writings, they claimed. She was "irrational" and "vile." A "God-hater," they shrieked.

Upon doing a Google blog search, these sentiments can be easily found after virtually any non-feminist article about Daly's death. Many religious dudes are very classy like that. And, if such folks find their way here, that is fine. But I am not going to link. I have gotten into arguments with "holy men" before and it has been quite Not Fun to argue with those who metaphorically cannibalize their lookalike god yet who also assume it's an objective statement of fact that feminism is some sort of mental "pathology."

Some people choose to maintain their male privilege by convincing themselves that there is something inherently crazy about being Not Okay with the mass gendering of god as a man. Sadly, that's the infantile mindset where much anti-feminist thought remains stuck.

Anyway, such comments are interesting, aren't they? The reaction that Serious And Learned Holy Men have of Daly.

Men who have not read more than a few Wikipedia paragraphs of Daly's writings believe that they nonetheless possess the competence to dismiss her entire body of work by categorizing her as a raging, sinful feminazi type who was definitely wrong on all counts, and entirely crazy. Just one of the benefits of being Men Who Know Things, I suppose, is possessing the incompetent overconfidence to dismiss a body of work of which one is almost entirely illiterate.

What's most telling is that while castigating her, these Holy Men accept as fact that their own perpetuation of male supremacy- via their religion that genders god male, that misappropriates the female birthing process, that excludes women from the clergy, and maintains that it was Eve who came from Adam's body- is holy, divine, true, and Not At All Sexist.

For, unlike Daly's sexist flaws, their own must go unexamined because it is mandated from above. Their brand of sexism is righteous. It's not sexist at all, they say. And if you insist that it is, well, you just don't understand God's Will and the Great Mysssssstery Of Things.

Or so they would have us all believe.

During the witch hunts in Europe, it was women who were most independent from patriarchal norms who were most likely to be called "witches" and subsequently murdered. I see a similar hysterical reaction among many, when confronted with the reality of Mary Daly. Whereas Daly's sexism was the Worst Thing Imaginable, Catholic and other forms of religious sexism are the Most Awesome And Holy Things Ever and not even real sexism at all.

And so, for some reason, Daly strikes a chord within many of these oh-so-holy men.

For some reason, as they chuckle amongst themselves about the obvious ridiculousness of Daly's writings, perhaps they tremble a little at seeing kernels of truth peeking out of her wacky writings. Perhaps most scary of all, they perhaps fear that others will see those kernels as well.

On some level, they surely must understand that Daly's writing reveals to many the arrogant subjectivity of their own dudely place in the universe for what it is.

A self-indulgent myth.

An egotistical creation of god in their own image.

A de-centering of themselves and their "brothers" from the divine.

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