The all-female leads in the latest “Ghostbusters” movie reboot have upset many misogynistic male fans. The film’s trailer is the most “disliked” in the history of YouTube.
No surprise here.
There are always men who are angered by women demanding their reproductive rights or running for president. From the dawn of human awareness, men have used their greater physical size and strength to control, oppress, subvert and generally abuse women, betraying a deep fear of losing male power.
Men have always come first in human societies. This is reflected in the standard version of the Adam and Eve myth that is enshrined in Judea-Christian culture and which, it goes without saying, was invented by men.
But there is a very different version of the myth, which draws on the Talmudic tradition of Midrash. According to this version, as God was nearly done populating the planet earth, he realized that he had not yet developed a really effective serial killer among land animals. He had created the shark, the barracuda, and the piranha, but these were sea animals. He needed a creature at least as formidably murderous to roam the earth’s land.
So God marshaled his creative powers and after much research and development, he finally came up with the greatest serial killer of all – the cat.
God immediately realized that this was his masterpiece among the earth’s creatures, so he developed more versions of cats than of any other species, ranging in size from 900-pound Siberian tigers to tiny felines of a little more than a few pounds each. All of them endowed with the physical and instinctive characteristics needed to be world champion serial killers.
God was so pleased with that he had done that he decided to award himself a prize. The prize was Eve, a remarkable creature who seemed to epitomize the grace and mystery inherent in the feline species. After admiring Eve for a while, God placed her in the Garden of Eden for safekeeping while he went off to clean up some loose ends on Jupiter.
But Eve, like all women, had her own ideas. One involved having a bigger, stronger, more-or-less mirror image of herself to take out the garbage, mow Eden’s lawns, bring her armloads of fresh fruit and fill her nights with ecstasy. So by herself, while God’s back was turned, she conceived Adam and brought him into the world to be her companion, even though Adam turned out to be something of a mixed blessing because of his domineering ways and general contrariness.
Thus began the great saga of human dominion over the earth. In metaphorical terms, this story is generally consistent with what many anthropologists believe actually happened when humans first appeared. But this Eve-first reality was too disturbing for the men who wrote the Old Testament men who, like all men, were instinctively terrified of women.
So they came up with a story that made Adam the first human being and reduced Eve to something of an afterthought created from, of all things, one of Adam’s ribs. They also invented numerous fairy tales to blame women for all the world’s troubles. “The woman made me do it,” Adam insisted when God asked him why he had eaten the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
This atavistic fear of women drove men to use their superior physical size and strength to develop male chauvinist societies in a fruitless attempt to make women seem less intimidating. Men denied them basic human rights, restricting their freedom, imposing on them the state of chattels (“Who giveth this woman in marriage?”) and all the other examples of male tyranny.
In one form or another, these irrational and fear-based attempts to suppress recognition of women as equals are universal in human religions, myths, cultural traditions, knee-jerk social norms and even legal codes. Now we can add the reaction to Hollywood casting decisions to that list.
Originally Published: Aug 6, 2016