Exalting of the female long predated Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, who are just minor characters in an age-old worship of feminine power and mystique. Feminist roots reach back to the beginning of creation — to the mystic’s interpretation of Genesis, where Eve caught on to the “plot” of the Demiurge or creator and realized that it was the snake, not Yahweh, that was telling the truth. The snake was the emissary of the real “god.” The enlightened Eve with her special wisdom realized that she need not be subject either to Yahweh or to her husband and could transcend this fleshly existence through ignoring what Yahweh told her. All she had to do was to believe Satan.
My two cents
I remember emailing a Christian woman a few years back; it was great, because she was an antifeminist. She knew about the connection between feminism and humanism, while mentioning that feminism began in the Garden of Eden (rather than say the 1960s). Until this post, I hadn’t pondered on her statement much, but now I see how the pieces fit.
For a woman to be feminist and baulk at subjection to male spouses (and the idea of male deities in general), then yes, what she needs is to believe Satan and she can overcome the subjection.
Taking that further (and to use a feminist trope), it is Satan who empowers women (to challenge masculine hegemony). Taking it yet further, feminism would seem a tool of the Devil—at least in one sense. This rests on the belief that Genesis is true—and Jesus said it was.
But, if Genesis were untrue—and I imagine many feminists holding this view of a patriarchal book supposedly written by ancient goat herders—I gather the substitutionary humanistic/feminist view of history would seem to allow for the Big Bang, an old Earth, and evolution by default. This opens the door to the arrival of hunter-gatherer societies (prior to agriculture), the purported construct of the sexual division of labour, and all the baggage that goes along with it.
If you’re Christian and a feminist (which could be an oxymoron), then I guess you could fit the square peg of Genesis (supernatural) history into the round hole of feminist (humanistic) history—and this works fine if you’re a little schizophrenic.
Mansager, A. (n.d.). Mystical Gnosticism Enters Church Doors.Available: http://www.yrm.org/gnos-churchdoors.htm. Last accessed 20th Jan 2013.