Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adequately adorned

This passage from Tertullian (an early church writer) was taped to our fridge growing up, to remind us every day what women should really be concerned with:

"Obtain your whiteness from simplicity.
Get your ruddy hue from the blush of modesty.
Paint your eyes with meekness and your mouth with silence.
Implant the word of God in your ears.
Array your neck with the yoke of Christ.
Submit your head to your husband, and you will be adequately adorned."

It had a little fancy border around it, and hung on the fridge so long that the paper turned murky yellow and the edges were tattered and torn.  Even though I hated every word, it was literally in my face each day, and I was able to type the words into google to double-check accuracy without hesitating.

Apparently being as invisible and de-humanized as possible was/is an adequate substitute for make-up and jewelry.  But you know what?  Being silent is never easy or fun when you're always full of opinions, and jewelry will never stop sparkling. 

I LOVE make-up and jewelry.  Love love love.

I'm too distracted by family stuff and worry and general craziness at work to break this passage apart or to give an academic discourse on how attitudes haven't changed between the year 150 and now... so I'll just say this.  Fuck Tertullian.  Fuck him, and the horse he rode in on. And fuck everyone who still thinks he's got it going.


  1. "Fuck Tertullian. Fuck him, and the horse he rode in on." - :D I'd forgotten all about that hideous quote of his. Clearly him and his ilk (ancient and current) never paid attention to Rebekah from the Old Testament to only mention one example.

  2. Oh, the hits just keep on coming with Tertullian. Ever heard this one?:

    "You are fond of spectacles, except the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment of the universe. How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult when I behold so many proud monarchs and fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness... liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sage philosophers blushing in red hot flames, with their deluded scholars; so many celebrated poets trembling before the tribunal... so many tragedians... so many dancers."

    Tertullian remains the model for the worst type of Christian bigots the world has to offer. Fuck him forever.