This is my Easter Message, for everybody, but especially for women, who are often encouraged to play Jesus Christ: to sacrifice themselves for others: for their men and their families; for their work-place or for any other reasons, could be a political, religious or community group.
They are expected to be martyrs, work until they drop for money or love, and do it with a smile so they comfort people at the same time. Ideally they should also look attractive and fresh too, despite being exhausted. In the ‘modern world’ the trendy mix of 1. working over-time for your greedy employer 2. going to the Gym after work – is just an ideal combination to push yourself beyond your limits when you are very young, then work full-time and fit in the limit-less child-care tasks, run around to take children to nursery, school, after school activities,a and later find the time to looking after your old and disabled parents, perhaps your parents-in-laws, or your ageing partner too. I live in privileged West Europe, I can’t even start to understand the pain women must be going through on the other continents, which have been forced to serve the interests of the West. I am aware many men’s life are also are sacrificed in various ways all over the world. Even in England, where I live, I do not envy men, i would not like to live their life at all. But still there is a huge difference not only about how much responsibility men (generally) take about childcare, looking after disabled relatives, housework etc – but in relation to the question of image, identity, self respect and respect from others. If a man looks after his children or his old parents or his ill partner regularly, than he is considered to be a hero.
(This lovely picture is from the internet. This young man helped the old woman to walk home as she asked him – a stranger – to help was afraid of falling on the ice. According to the story now he regularly walks her home).
If he does not, than he is just a ‘normal man’ (perhaps preferring politics/pub/football match/mates/lovers/tv/art, whatever). If a woman dies not prioritize ‘caring’-tasks, then she is considered to lack femininity, she may be called utterly selfish – and I have to admit, this is how I automatically respond too when I met women who, for example, chose not to have children. I question my own response, and an internal debate develops in me. A part of me thinks, perhaps this universal female ‘caring’ expectation is the very thing which saves humanity, despite its historical and current oppressive nature. ‘Being caring’ does not have to be the same as being a martyr. I think there is nothing wrong with ‘caring’, but there is something wrong with forcing only some people to do it, while others take advantage of it. If women were to give up their ‘caring roles’, who would do it?
In the UK we have recently seen the growth of a so called ‘Care Industry’ – this further exploits international female labour, pays them minimum wages, gives them impossible tasks, and leads to an invasion of privacy – but I will write about this another time as I know this disgusting industry inside out. Instead of asking women to change, I think it is men-role which needs to change fundamentally. I would like men (generally) to become less selfish and more human and more independent – which would lead to being less dependent on women, and sharing responsibilities in a more equal way.
Going back to the original question of sacrifice: why people believe that Jesus was a man? How many men have you met in your life, who were similar to Jesus? The few men I know who have any similarities to Jesus are considered to be ‘weird’. Men have always been expected to become similar to those ‘normal’ men of Jesus’ time who persecuted and killed him. Men are encouraged to fear and punish those little boys and adult men who are ‘feminine‘, who don’t pay soldier games as children and don’t wish to join the army as adults. They are encouraged to identify with the bullies in school, and not with the victims of the bullies. Jesus was the most famous victim of bullies. Boys are not encouraged to become thinkers, dreamers, and they often end up becoming loners, if they don’t follow the group pressure of hate (whatever the enemy supposed to be in any given time in any given country and social class). They are encouraged to become violent and fight physically, whether in the army for money, in a gang for imagined self-defence, or in an illegal political group – the same thing in my eyes.
Jesus of the Jesus-legend – was not that sort of men. He would surely be bullied in any school today, and he would be called a ‘girl’ or perhaps a ‘poofter’- with contempt. In contrast to this picture, how many women do you know who reject war and violence, and who live for peaceful purposes, and they take on ‘caring roles’ to the degree that they are, in fact, sacrificing their lives for others? I am not saying that ‘sacrificing’ is a good thing. What I am suggesting is, that it would have been much more realistic to create a female Jesus myth. Millions of women are put on this or that type of cross daily. But who want to worship women? In misogynist societies all objects of worship must be male, including their penis, which is copied in male architecture, while women tend to create round breast-shape buildings. In Christianity the female characters of the story (such as ‘Virgin’ Mary) are only important in relevance to the male superhero. And don’t forget, women are expected to be not only sacrificing themselves, but to suffer, and to SUFFER IN SILENCE, BE PASSIVE and TO FEEL POWERLESS. NO THANK YOU! (Finished now, cleared my mind, now I can get on with cleaning my flat…)
Piroska Markus 28.03.2016