I personally can feel it is tricky to sometimes feel the joy and the calm of Xmas-time. This is because of many reasons. For some people, the Xmas has nothing to do with joy and togetherness. It can be a rather lonely affair, when the one who is lonely get even more lonely because of the anticipation of the idea of the lovely family. The idea about the nuclear family is never as present as it is during this ‘festive’ season.
I belong to the tradition of the Xmas tradition that is what it is because it has always been. We meet, we eat, we have one debacle after the other, talking about my now deceased grandmothers lover (whom she met for more than 40 years), get quite hammered and sing to the snaps. It is fun to meet some of the people, but the peace really first occur when the Xmas is over, and I can go back for normal. Everything that reminds me about the ‘peace’ during Xmas makes me so fucking stressed. Any one else?
Going to church, not because of belief, but because of tradition is another feature. Last Xmas was the first time I stood my grounds on not getting up 6 o’clock in the morning and sing to some kind of god I do not believe in. I was called selfish, but did not care the slightest. I find it more selfish to attend something that does not belong to me. A god I cannot relate to or wish to have in my life.
The following text is not going to be academic. It is not going to relate to everything written on the subject, don’t take into the account of all the writings of the possible misunderstanding of the concept of ‘virgin’. I am simply going to ask a question related to how people seem to be viewing the immaculate conception and ‘virgin’ Mary, the holy mother, and blablabla.
First of all, I can’t feel it. I can’t feel the joy every one is talking about when Xmas is coming. That the saviour was born, that the world received a messiah. Cause I think about something else. I think about the so called ‘virgin’ Mary, the immaculate conception and how fucking scared that girl must have been. In a society, women was more children than grown-up women when getting married.
There is a saying that if there is many possible explanations to something, the most simple is the most probable. So. A couple of different explanations, just from the top of my head.
- The God spoke to Mary, said she would have the son that would save the world. Jesus.
- Mary was a child, got raped, did not dare to say anything to anyone, and when she was supposed to be married but had not been fucking with her husband and still being pregnant, freaked out and found the best explanation in the whole world.
- My favourite. Mary liked sex. She managed to get what she wanted, enjoy it, but got in to trouble and needed an explanation. An nothing is as imaginative as a person that needs to explain herself.
- Mary’s parents needed to figure something out and she did not have a say. Or maybe she did.
I don’t know about you, but somehow the other scenarios seems to be more accessible than the others.
I know I disregard a lot here. Especially the meaning of virgin in different translations from Hebrew and things (any one want to fill me in?)
So, instead, I come to think about the concept of whores and madonnas. The accessible and the divine. Something that the
”Immaculata Conceptio” helped to create, sustain and re-enforce. This was of course done through various other cultural and structural influences that worked this, such as the later domesticity ideal in the west, or the earlier (im)possibilites for women to have the right to inherit or even have access to financial means.
But how old was she? Really? How old was the woman (girl?) who is said to give birth to Jesus? It is not impossible to speak of her as a 12 to 13-year old. What does that say about a western, christian society? I can’t find comfort in a story about a young girl/woman becoming pregnant, going on a trek and then, while sleeping in a stable, giving birth for the first time. Where was the angels then? Do you believe anything while trying to give birth in a stable?
I repeat: I cannot find comfort in this story!
Or should I try to give away to the need of belief? Cause it is not always about rational thoughts, especially not when believing/feeling.
But I see something else. And that is how the concept of the whore and madonna keeps on being reinforced, on all the levels in our society. Easiest place to see it is in the debate about sex workers. She is the whore that cannot claim agency, she is the one that shall be considered as ‘used’ or ‘broken’ or ‘vice’.
We also see it in rape-cases.
‘What did you wear?’
‘How many sexual partners have you had in your life?’
‘Why do you think he was interested in you?’
I don’t know how many women who have heard those questions. And what is the result of survivorblaming? That there is a lot of women who still not report sexual assaults of any kind. Or even that there is no legislature at all.
Rape is considered to be a mean of warfare, at least since a couple of years back. Genocides has been made possible because of the breakdown of societies when women has been systematically raped. And it is not only something that is over when perpetrators leave. It is there, the survivor becomes the embodiment of the trauma, a physical form that lingers after the physical threat has been reduced to a mental image. In her body, the nation also rests, the mother. And because of this binary idea, in which a woman is pure when she is ‘pure’ and not ‘touched’ and unpure if she is the rape is highly ‘effective’.
Oh, wow. I do give you a lot of Xmas cheer don’t I?!
One last thing. It does not comfort me at all. Instead, I ask you to give someone whom you want to hug a hug. One of those big, massive, warm, long ones.
And tomorrow in church I will not listen. I might read Dan Brown in the back row instead.
Ok. Sorry about that. I will shut up now.
Some more reading can be found here: