Beyond God the Father

by Mary Daly

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 429

In her book, Mary Daly argues that women are a second-class gender who aren't able to have the same rights as men. She says,

The bonding is born out of shared recognition that there exists a worldwide phenomenon of sexual caste, basically the same whether one lives in Saudi Arabia or in Sweden. This planetary sexual caste system involves birth-ascribed hierarchically ordered groups whose members have unequal access to goods, services, and prestige, and to physical and mental well-being.

She proves that they lack those things throughout her essays as she traces the roots of female guilt and shows how women are removed from things like success and opportunity.

A large part of Daly's point rests on how the Christian religion has used women in its religious texts and as symbols. She writes,

As I have indicated, the myth takes on cosmic proportions since the male's viewpoint is metamorphosed into God's viewpoint. It amounts to a cosmic false naming. It misnames the mystery of evil, casting it into the distorted mold of the myth of feminine evil.

She says that Eve—as the person who committed the original sin—set up all women to bear a universal guilt. This concept, along with the image of the savior as male, is something that allows men to mistreat women and deny them equality.

Even the introduction of Mary as an important figure in Christianity wasn't only from the history of Jesus. Daly says that

Davis claims that it was the discovery, attributed to Saint Patrick, that the pagans would accept Christ only if they could have Mary that changed the official policy toward Mary in the church.

The Church took its only major female religious figure because it would help them convert people. Even so, Mary doesn't herself have agency; Eve, on the other hand, did.

Daly also argues that women have been suppressed by the Church through the image of Mary, saying,

The church has harnessed (but not succeeded in destroying) this power of diversity, irregularity, and exceptionality by standardizing it into its bland and monolithic image of Mary. It has captured this power of diversity and imprisoned it in a symbol. The real diversity and insight into diversity is in existing rebellious women, whose awareness of power of being is emerging in refusal to be cast into a mold.

She says that Mary is inoffensive and doesn't create action with her choices. She was a vessel for the male savior. As one of the few female figures for Christian women to identify with, she doesn't demand action or agency.

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