I can’t help but picture some jealous, aggrieved men, wondering why the priestesses of the goddess had more power than they did. Why the Oracle should be revered as she spoke with the voice of the gods, while they were required to pay tribute to maintain Her favor.
Perhaps it was the demigod Yahweh, who spoke true when he said he was a jealous god, and he gathered jealous men to him and made them believe that the Creator could create with the masculine principle alone. Thereby did the “Creator” leave his wife and consort behind, to be reduced in stature as “evil,” as a harlot.
So attractive was this worldview to the men who longed for power themselves that it gave birth to a succession of world religions in the tradition of the man Abraham, who was humiliated with the order to slay his son, only to be told at the last minute, “Just kidding.” Yahweh was Lucy to Abraham’s Charlie Brown. “I just wanted to see if you’d really do it.”
And the men would humiliate themselves for the great Man-God, because the Man-God had no problem with encouraging the men to punch down, in a long chain, with women at the bottom. The humiliated would humiliate because it was their due.
The early Christian church would work hard to scrub the world of the true inheritors of the faith of their Lord Jesus, killing most and burning their books. The Church understood that they were like God, and they inflicted their wrath upon the men who did not agree. Many of those men would learn to take out their own impotent frustrations on women, the mere “rib.”
Men humiliated women by conflating them with property. They thought for women, decided for women, beat women, traded women, and fucked women, whether they liked it or not. Women, like slaves, had no rights. The Man-God’s church said that this was God’s Will.
Capitalism provided another grand means for men to humiliate other men. Wealthy men could provide or deny poorer men the means for their livelihood. They could maintain them on the very cusp of being able to eat. Desperation is another form of humiliation. An inability to feed your children and your subhuman wife is also a humiliation.
Humiliated white men discovered that there were others to humiliate. Their humiliation was nothing to them if there were black men to humiliate. If they could laugh and point to the black man whom they forced to step out of their way, then they, too, were like their Man-God, humiliating those who came before him. Humiliating their wives and daughters was fine, but being able to humiliate another man was priceless.
Civil Rights complicated the chain of humiliation. Women began to vote. They began to work. They could use birth control. They could control their own finances. This gave them independence, the possibility of leaving the man who would humiliate them, if they so chose. The black man, too, no longer moved deferentially off the sidewalk before them. He might even ignore the white man when he said, “Boy.” With no one left to punch down, the white man began to feel his humiliation.
The best way to not feel humiliated is to feel powerful. It’s so easy for little men-gods to feel power over women: catcalls embarrass the woman. Touching them. Following them. Cornering them. Bending them to their will. Fighting back only inflates their feeling of power, and of her humiliation. The humiliated, they know, find it hard to fight back.
Sometimes humiliated women find other women to punch down and humiliate. White women may try to humiliate women of color in this way. For some reason, it never quite rids them of their own humiliation, which many are told is “God’s Will.”
The Man-God is a toxic Daddy.
And the Man-God’s anointed are toxic Daddies. Stay with your man, who abuses you. It is God’s Will. Submit to him. Ask yourself why he does this to you, because it is your fault. You deserve humiliation.
And the men who listen to the Man-God’s anointed become toxic Daddies. Their job, they know, is to humiliate their family and bend it to God’s Will. Submit, woman. You are my property. Submit, child, to the rod and the conversion therapy and the endless sermons that let you know just how worthless you are.
And the women are victimized but cannot see it. They feel their humiliation, but dare not express it. The Man-God in the police uniform will not believe them. The prosecutor will likely not prosecute. The little gods in the little state houses and in Congress are not concerned with a woman’s humiliation. They are too concerned with their own, and with the amount of punching down it will require to make them feel better about it.