Feminism and secularization

Have been feverishly reading The Sadeian Woman today. The thread of the argument jumps and loops and twists, sometimes wandering beyond my reach. But Angela Carter's prose always keeps you going. And (now being rather comfortable with feminist theory) I think I'm getting the essentials. Here are her thoughts on perhaps the most important feminist question of all -- why people don't like it:

'The goddess is dead.

'And with the imaginary construct of the goddess, dies the notion of eternity, whose place on this earth was her womb. If the goddess is dead, there is nowhere for eternity to hide. The last resort of homecoming is denied us. We are confronted with mortality, as if for the first time.

'There is no way out of time. We must learn to live in this world, to take it with sufficient seriousness, because it is the only world that we will ever know.

'I think this is why so many people find the idea of the emancipation of women frightening. It represents the final secularization of mankind.'

Carter's talk of the symbolic meaning of wombs may get a little confusing, but the argument makes sense to me. Women have been regarded as numinous beings because of the mysterious way they create life. Establishing procreation as a scientific process removes this aura. Women become unremarkable, and both men and women are resistent to this downgrading of a woman's value and the questioning of her purpose. Science and feminism strip our illusions of grandeur, and cuts the hierarchies such illusions uphold down to size.

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