12 Ridiculous Anti-Woman Myths From the Dark Ages That Conservatives STILL Believe -
Ignorance is bliss… for the Church: The ancient world was actually doing a pretty good job of discovering how our bodies work. Eastern doctors practiced Ayurveda, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Two Alexandrian surgeons, using criminals as subjects, did the first vivisections. But all of that knowledge vanished with the advent of organized Christianity, as the campaign of keeping knowledge from the people got into full swing. Keeping the masses ignorant was how the Church controlled them. One particular subject of attack were midwives: they were seen as a challenge to the authority of the Church (they were female and educated, you see) so, as much as possible, they were marginalized, even killed. With them went the only real knowledge of how women’s bodies worked. If this fear and loathing of powerful women sounds familiar, you’ve probably watched Fox News recently.
One reason conservative men are okay with rape: As far back as the second century it was believed that a woman’s “seed” was necessary for reproduction, and that if a woman did not achieve an orgasm during sexual intercourse, there could be no “seed” produced and, hence, no pregnancy. While this had some clear advantages for women, it is demonstrably untrue and it has left a lingering belief that pregnancy cannot result from rape. This idea was put forward most recently by Todd Akin. You knew it was backward, but probably not that it was that backward!
From woman-centered to male-centered, just the way they like it: Most ancient societies were matrilineal, passing titles and properties down through the female line. Because the role of the male was not understood then, there was no other way to be certain of who you were related to save through one’s mother. In those days, women instigated relationships, married who they liked and divorced them at will. They decided when to have another child, holding it off by nursing one child for up to several years. Once men discovered that they had a hand (so to speak) in procreation, they began to flip how society worked. In patriarchal societies, women are treated as lesser beings, their female functions - what made them women - were demonized and vilified. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.