The Appearance Of Woman

Read Complete Research Material

The Appearance of Woman

Some irritation or mood-swings against women never prevented anyone from valuing them. The best example is St. Jerome who deprived himself of neither sour remarks, nor of satirical portraits, yet trusted a whole team of women to help him in his exegetical work and endeavoured to carry with him in asceticism to the heights of the spiritual life those who surrounded him; all with an attention full with respect, a generous comprehension of a very pure kind, and a perfectly altruistic tenderness. (Elizabeth 89)

Such is certainly not the case of Tertullian. The woman is in his eyes a public menace. The man has everything to fear from her, and the first Adam would have done well to be wary about her. The eye with which he looks at her is singularly critical, and not only in De cultu. No occasion is lost to show her vain, conceited, sensual, frivolous, avid and at the same time stupid and cunning. Thus De virginibus velandis (XVII, 1) where one sees the women satisfying the obligation to wear a veil by perching a small handkerchief on the top of the bun  so that everyone can judge during the mass the beauty of their hair. Thus De pallio (IV, 2) where the properly female activities of Achilles disguised as a woman consist in "deploying her dress, to construct the edifice of her hair, to prepare the skin, to consult her mirror, to embellish her neck, to effeminatize even her ear by boring it", nothing more! (Clark 25)

In Ux. II, 8, 3 the vanity (ambitio, muliebris gloria) stigmatized in Cult., I, 2, 1 reappears, together with the interested calculation and the greed which push the woman of De cultu to trample on every human feeling (she does not recoil before the sufferings of the miners who extract the precious metals. I, 5) and even Christians: by decorating herself with the gem which one finds in the face of the dragons, she does not hesitate to borrow her ornament from the Serpent of which she should be the hereditary enemy (I, 6, with a skilful juggling act by Tertullian which assimilates for the occasion the Serpent of Genesis to the more or less fabulous dragons of the Natural History of Pliny). (Castelli 266-311)Ambition and cupidity are besides, with sensuality - object of constant warnings -, the principal reasons which push a woman to bemarried. What she wants in Ux., I, 4, 6-7, it is "to dominate over the house of others, to appropriate the wealth of others, to extort from others that which she lacks herself, to spend without counting a money of which one does not feel the loss". This woman, finally, is stupid enough to scorn the real good and to allow herself to run after shiny things (for example gold and money, much less useful in the practical life than iron and bronze: Cult., I, 5; or the pearl which is only a disease of the mollusc: I, 6, 2). Her limited ...
Related Ads