The Value of a Female
Women’s bodies are not a commodity as many patriarchal societies believe, and no man has a right to violate the integrity of her body in any way. Throughout history the value of a woman has been placed upon her sexual purity and it is when men violate her integrity that she becomes devalued. There is no such devaluation for a man, because it is men who have set the standard of a woman’s worth and it is men who created the division of inequality between the genders. This idea of a woman’s value and worth being placed upon her sexual purity is one of histories greatest tragedies that have been promoted by most sacred texts including the Bible. A man’s worth is placed upon his achievements in life; in biblical times it was accomplishments such as being a good warrior, hunter, priest or ruler that set the standard for a man’s value. The same did not hold true for women, the sole attribute that made her valuable was her virginity, if that was gone her worth fell considerably. Most religions of the world are predominately patriarchal and are the standard bearers that have equated the idea of a woman’s purity with her sexuality; this standard generally doesn’t apply to men. In the Bible the term virgin is used almost exclusively to mean a female who has not had sexual intercourse; the term is not used in reference to men because a man’s purity is not based on whether or not he has had sexual intercourse. A woman is defiled if she has intercourse outside of marriage and is labeled with terms like whore and harlot; whereas men who visit prostitutes have no such derogative label placed upon them. In the area of sexual purity there is no equivalence between men and women even though it is the man who causes the woman to be defiled.
The fixation on a woman’s virginity is an age old tradition that didn’t start with the biblical authors and continues on until today in many backward developing countries. Girls are often married off as young as 10 years old to assure sexual purity, thus labeling her only worth as that of a virgin. Boys are trained in a vocation, whereas girls are only expected to please a man and bear offspring. This male mindset of the female value being only that of sexual purity was mapped directly onto the male god Yahweh, thus the deity took on the standard of men which is very telling of his origins.
The Bible also promotes the idea of property status for women because it places a monetary value on them, with fathers selling their daughters and men purchasing wives…it’s all about the exchange of currency for female flesh. The Bible clearly reinforces this practice of division between male and female in all areas of life which reveals its human origins. What starts out in the second chapter of Genesis with male and female being as “one flesh” quickly devolves into the woman being ruled over by the man and becoming his possession, thus setting clear lines of division between the genders and making certain natural functions of a woman’s body considered unclean and shameful. Even in the New Testament Jesus makes it clear to his audience that the best condition for man is to be unmarried (separated from the woman), as does the apostle Paul who confirms the sentiment that it is best not to touch a woman and is only good to marry if one cannot contain their sexual desires, but the better way is to remain unmarried as he is. This does nothing but exacerbate the already existing division between male and female, which is also contrary to the idea of unity put forth in Genesis 2.
Matt.19:10-12 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
1 Cor.7:1-2Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 8-9 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
Even though the idea of division of the genders did not originate in the Bible, its teaching clearly reinforces the male viewpoint of different standards of value for men and women. A woman’s value is judged on what she is worth to a man, thus robbing her of her own identity and integral value; whereas a man’s value is judged solely on the standard of men and his integrity remains intact. If anyone has any doubt as to the origins of male centered biblical thought, it can quickly be put to rest; every patriarchal society in the history of humankind is structured on a male dominated order. Patriarchal systems were well underway before the Hebrews became a people worshiping one god and have continued on through history until today. This being the case it is easy to see the progression of male domination of women being incorporated into the male mindset that dressed the god of the Bible in his masculine garments. The erroneous idea that the Bible teaches unity is held by most Christians who are unaware that just beneath the seemingly peaceful, unified surface lies a tempest of division. Not only is there division amongst the genders, but division amongst races is also rampant. The only respite from this overflowing abundance of division is the unity of salvation found in Christ, which applies to the male and female of all races on earth; meaning that every human on the planet can be saved according to the Bible if they believe that Jesus is the son of god. Oddly enough one book, Galatians contains the only verse in the Bible that specifically includes male and female as part of the universality of salvation.
Gal.3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
These verses of unification with god through salvation have nothing to do with the lack of fleshly equality amongst genders, which is reinforced by all the New Testament writers. Rules, laws and obedience are the hallmarks of Scripture, which masquerade under the guise of freedom espoused by Jesus and his apostles. Instead of punishment for violent behavior against women, suppression is supported and condoned by biblical teachings. There can be no true freedom when one is subjugated to the rule of another because of their gender, neither is there any freedom when one is threatened with hell if you don’t conform to a specific set of doctrines. It’s time for women to rise up and demand their equal place alongside men, and fathers to begin teaching their sons to view women as their equals. Sadly though, this can never be gleaned from the pages of the Bible.
Because the primary value a woman had was her virginity once that was taken from her she was essentially worthless, so if her husband chose to discard her she may have to turn to prostitution in order to support herself. There are many verses throughout the Old Testament that exemplify the fact that the value of women is based on how she pleases a man sexually. What’s very important to keep in mind is that this view of woman as property was prevalent throughout all the patriarchal cultures of that time period, with that being the case it seems odd indeed that Yahweh needed to double down and reinforce that idea through giving more gender biased laws…proving once again the male bias of the Bible.
In the section of the Law of Moses found below, both the ownership of women and gender-bias is exposed. Under the Law, given by the god of the Bible, we read of a case pertaining to a man finding a virgin woman who is not engaged, and raping her (The Hebrew word used is “taphas”, which means “to take hold of, or seize”). The punishment for this crime of rape, is that the accused man is required to pay the woman’s father fifty shekels and marry her because he has “humbled” her (anah: to afflict, browbeat, or oppress)…also; he is never allowed to divorce her. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t marry other women. So, not only is the poor woman forced to marry her rapist, but she must also be bound to him for life, since a woman was not allowed to divorce her husband under the Mosaic Law (only men could divorce their wives). The father profits by getting recompensed for his damaged goods (his humbled daughter) and the rapist profits by gaining a life-long sex-slave…all at the expense of the woman.
Deut.22:28-29 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold (taphas) on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her (anah), he may not put her away all his days.
This verse is not only horrific in nature, but epitomizes the value of a women being solely based on her sexual purity. No concern is given for the woman’s feelings, or what manner of man she is being forced to marry. Nothing is said concerning the actions of the man and no reprimand is mentioned. The entire focus is placed on the devaluation of the woman’s sexual worth clearly showing the mentality behind this law on rape, given to men by Yahweh. One must ask; does paying off the father and marrying the victim lessen the violation? I should think not! As is a common biblical theme in the area of women’s rights; the abuser is rewarded while the victim is punished.
In the same chapter of Deuteronomy, another aspect of a man’s sexual displeasure of a woman who he thinks is not a virgin on their wedding night is dealt with. If the woman’s parents are able to prove to the man that their daughter is indeed a virgin, then the man is required to pay her family one hundred shekels of silver because he has disparaged the family name…showing a tight link between a woman’s virginity and her monetary value. On the other hand if the woman’s family is unable to supply the “tokens of virginity” proving to the man that she is a virgin, then the woman is to be stoned to death. Of course there is no similar requirement for the man to be able to prove his virginity, but then who ever said the Bible was fair or not biased against women. Men can go to prostitutes whenever they wish with no charges brought against them, so their virginity is a mute point. I am continually quite stunned when I think of how utterly biased the Bible is toward the male and it seems to go relatively unnoticed amongst Christians for the most part. Many modern Christian men seem to have no problem with the idea of male headship and female subjugation because it is decreed by the god of the Bible, and it suits their desire for control.
Deut.22:13-21 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
These are prime examples of the mindset of patriarchal societies where women were treated as property…and the authors of the Bible were no different then any other peoples of their time period, which is expressed very clearly in their writings. Women were considered the property of the man: first of the father and then of the husband. This was the norm for most cultures of the world at that time and in parts of the world today, which is an exact reflection of how the authors of the Bible created their “God” to view women, thus incorporating it into their law. The idea of placing a monetary value on women only reinforces her status as property. Men receive money for females; whether it is a father selling his daughter as a slave, or a man purchasing a woman for a wife it all has to do with the exchanging of currency for human flesh. As I have said: “Men created the biblical god in their own image” the only thing that changed from other cultures of the time period was having one god make all the laws instead of many.
Half the Value of a Man
Not only were women considered property in the Bible, but their monetary value was half that of a man under the law of Yahweh. When a vow was made to the Lord, the person who made the vow was estimated at a certain monetary worth according to their age and gender. If the vow was made by a man his value in the eyes of the Lord was up to twice that of a woman, clearly denoting that a female was inferior to the male according to Yahweh. This declaration is recorded in Leviticus as coming directly from the Lord and given to Moses as one of the laws of Yahweh, proving once again the overwhelming male bias of the Bible.
Lev.27:1-7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.
1. 20– 60 year old male = 50 shekels
2. 20-60 year old female = 30 shekels
3. 5-20 year old male = 20 shekels
4. 5-20 year old female = 10 shekels
5. 1 month -5 year old male =5 shekels of silver
6. 1 month-5 year old female = 3 shekels of silver
7.60 years and above male =15 shekels
8. 60 years and above female = 10 shekels