Tutorial Paper - Gendered Worlds

Essay by georgia024College, UndergraduateC, September 2014

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Question 4: Discuss the problems involved in reading historical meaning into archaeological evidence such as 'goddess' figurines.

Matriarchy in popular culture refered to alleged ancient woman - centred, goddess - worshipping culture that preceded most historical written records. (Stearns 2006, p.22) In ancient societies the women were recognized for playing important roles. Prehistoric matriarchy supposedly never existed, causing disputes regarding whether goddess figurines were fact or fiction.

Matriarchy, the society where women not only had equality with men, but also dominance, authority and power, had taken its toll. (Christ 1991, p.221) Goddesses were worshipped, and women were seen as exemplifying the Goddess' miraculous powers of fertility, regeneration and birth. (Ehrenberg 1989, p. 63-64) Women would be worked alongside by men who would sometimes form hunting parties, but left major public decisions up to their better half. Sometime around 5000 BCE this pastrol life came to a shattering halt, when patriarchal, war-like invaders rushed in from the Russian steppes and conquered the pacific, women - centered earlier cultures, who lacked the means to defend themselves.

(Gimbutas 1991, p. 45-47) The conquerors appointed social forms on the matriarchs and their partriarchal male gods, and the rest is history. Archaelogical evidence verified that there wasnt much information supporting the idea that women were power-holders in pacifist paleolithic societies, much less that they were overthrown by the nasty, patriarchal Russians. (Gimbutas 1991, p. 48)

The goddess figurines are pure specultion following myth evidence. Archaelogical evidence justifies that there are many examples of what was formally described as female figures that turned out to be an undetermined gender. (Ehrenberg 1989, p. 67) The figurines that were positioned upright and contrued as a 'Venus' or 'neck and breasts', they looked remarkably like male genitalia when held horizontally. (Ehrenberg 1989, p. 68) Godessess were worshipped in...