Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

12 Ridiculous Anti-Woman Myths From The Dark Ages That Conservatives STILL Believe

Posted by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM
  • 42 Replies

Author: August 8, 2013 3:08 pm

Some of the same sexist beliefs about women have been around for thousands of years. Image courtesy of

Have you ever been reading or watching a report about a conservative man who said something so incredibly backwards  that you swore he was living in the Dark Ages? Well, you’re not so very far from wrong. The Dark Ages were dark partly because education was discouraged and science was suspect, leading to some astoundingly silly things being taken for fact. Like, for example, that the heart was the seat of intelligence. Or that frogs spontaneously generated from mud. As fun as those sort of ideas are to explore, this article will be dealing with beliefs about that strange and inscrutable being: Woman.

Medical knowledge has become so easily obtained nowadays that it’s hard to imagine not knowing things like what the kidneys do or that penicillin kills bacteria. Heck, bacteria weren’t even known until comparatively recently. Before the 19th century, it was believed that contagious diseases spread through bad air or “seeds.” What we know today built upon discoveries of different cultures and scientists, over the growth of human civilization.

Throughout most of history, vivisection of the human body for educational purposes was at least, frowned up and, at worst, a cardinal sin. So learning about the body was a slow process. But we did learn, so there is no excuse for anyone, least of all doctors, to be so archaic in their knowledge of the human female. As we will see, these beliefs are sometimes very ancient and so very, very wrong.


Ignorance is bliss… for the Church: The ancient world was actually doing a pretty good job of discovering how our bodies work. Eastern doctors practiced Ayurveda, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Two Alexandrian surgeons, using criminals as subjects, did the first vivisections. But all of that knowledge vanished with the advent of organized Christianity, as the campaign of keeping knowledge from the people got into full swing. Keeping the masses ignorant was how the Church controlled them. One particular subject of attack were midwives: they were seen as a challenge to the authority of the Church (they were female and educated, you see) so, as much as possible, they were marginalized, even killed. With them went the only real knowledge of how women’s bodies worked. If this fear and loathing of powerful women sounds familiar, you’ve probably watched Fox News recently.

One reason conservative men are okay with rape: As far back as the second century it was believed that a woman’s “seed” was necessary for reproduction, and that if a woman did not achieve an orgasm during sexual intercourse, there could be no “seed” produced and, hence, no pregnancy. While this had some clear advantages for women, it is demonstrably untrue and it has left a lingering belief that pregnancy cannot result from rape. This idea was put forward most recently by Todd Akin. You knew it was backward, but probably not that it was that backward!

From woman-centered to male-centered, just the way they like it: Most ancient societies were matrilineal, passing titles and properties down through the female line. Because the role of the male was not understood then, there was no other way to be certain of who you were related to save through one’s mother. In those days, women instigated relationships, married who they liked and divorced them at will. They decided when to have another child, holding it off by nursing one child for up to several years. Once men discovered that they had a hand (so to speak) in procreation, they began to flip how society worked.  In patriarchal societies, women are treated as lesser beings, their female functions – what made them women – were demonized and vilified. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.

Men became more important to the fetus: Men, it was now taught, gave the child its soul with his seed. Women were nothing more than the fertile field in which he sowed it. To this end, women were considered the gatekeepers of “morality,” and it fell to them to keep suitors at bay. Rather than making men responsible for exercising self-control, women were expected to be modest and never lead a man on. That her very presence was considered to be a seduction was her problem. We see this attitude, still, in the rape-friendly atmosphere that is so prevalent in our country. Blame the victim is still, sadly, the default setting for most conservative men like Bill O’Reilly.

Women must feel an emotional connection to enjoy sex: There is a persistent myth that women – but not men – must be in an emotionally fulfilling relationship in order to enjoy sex. Even though this has been scientifically disproved with regularity, this idea that women and men are inherently different in regards to sex and love refuses to die. Part of this myth is that women are “naturally monogamous.” One has only to look back to those ancient societies to see that this is false. But conservative men want it to be true so they cling to and keep repeating the myth, maybe hoping that if they say it enough it will suddenly be true. The idea here, is to discourage women from enjoying casual sex while freeing men to stick it wherever they want, whenever they want.

Ignorance of the female body was the norm: Until the 18th century, the process of pregnancy, including conception and childbirth, was surrounded with some pretty stupid ideas when seen through today’s lens. First of all, women were seen as inferior: in every aspect, men were naturally better. Women were “cold” whereas men were “warm,” which was viewed as the better way to be. Women were considered to be so cold that they could not extrude a penis, which would instead inverse itself to become a vagina.

Understanding of the uterus was next to nil: The uterus was believed to wander around the body, becoming quite vexed if it were not used for its proper purpose which was, of course, childbearing (but not sexual pleasure, NEVER that). It was even thought to have two (or more) chambers: cold ones where females gestated and warm ones where the males grew. Conception was known to arise from intercourse, but the mechanics of it were unknown for a relatively long time. The man’s seed, as previously mentioned, was what gave a child its soul. But it was on the woman to grow the child – if she miscarried or the child was stillborn, it was never even considered that the man might be to blame. As the Rh factor was unknown until the 20th century, there are hundreds of generations of women who were falsely blamed for these occurrences. In some circles, they still are. After all, a man that can’t conceive isn’t a “man” in our society. To be fair, this isn’t strictly a left/right problem but the right is more concerned with “manliness.”

Do modern conservative men believe in magic?: As we learned earlier, it was believed that men gave the fetus its soul with his semen, which brings up an interesting theory about the conservative antipathy towards abortion. Ancient men thought that anything that had been a part of him could be used to practice dark magic against him. Hair, fingernails, spittle, urine and, yes, semen, were considered to have a psychic link to their owners. Sympathetic magic used these personal items to cause harm to the owner. The current underlying fear of abortion may very well be a vestige of this primitive belief. It also has the delightful bonus feature of painting women as predatory, even on a subconscious level.

During the Dark Ages, and ever since then, women were considered property: They were defined by their relationships to men (flipping the ancient matrilineal code on its head). Their father, husband or even brother could make demands of her and she was bound to obey. Most marriages were arranged, even in the lower classes. A wife had no separate legal status apart from her being married to her husband. Women, with few exceptions, could not participate in public life, politics or the justice system (unless she was the accused). A woman was pretty much expected to stay at home, keep house and have kids. Especially the latter, as the interpretation of Genesis 3:16 (and other parts of that book) was that women were compelled to have as many children as they could, even at the cost of her or the children’s welfare. This is still the way some men feel.

Misogyny was taught by the Church: The Church was, in fact, the source of most of the misogyny that went on until very recently – unless you’re a certain kind of conservative man, then it’s still going on. Priests told women that they should be under their husband’s foot, acquiescing to him in all matters. She could not initiate sex but she could never deny it to her husband. She could never accuse her husband of rape even if he used violence and forced her to have sex. It was believed that, because of the frequent physical abuse, a woman could never really love her husband. In a way, women were sex slaves, no matter who they were or their social status. Young, single girls and widows were the only women who were exempt from this subjugation. For most women, though, her body was not her own.

Women’s children didn’t belong to them: They were even told that their children were God’s and not really hers. Is it any wonder, then, that unwanted babies were left by the thousands at Church-run hospitals and foundling homes? And what do you think they did with those babies? They killed them. The death rates at foundling homes were as high as 90%. But that was okay – as long as it was men who were making that decision. It is still this way with conservatives. They may not be doing the deed with their own hands, but they are certainly doing it with their policies.

Women should suffer: The Church also taught that women sinned more than men, so her suffering was deserved. She should be unhappy and bring forth children in pain. The latter was one reason Victorian and Edwardian doctors refused to give women ether or chloroform when they became available: God said that women should suffer, so no remedy for her pain was offered. Today’s conservative men heap humiliation on the pain, forcing women to have unnecessary procedures and treating them like children who must have their decisions made for them. That’s actually how women used to be classified for legal purposes: right there with minors and idiots. And that’s how certain men still see women.


When John Adams was working with the Continental Congress on plans to govern the new nation they had created, his wife, Abigail, wrote to him:

“…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

While her husband may have considered her words, his colleagues did not. It wasn’t until 1920 that American woman were allowed to have that voice. After that, women began to make headway against the archaic and misogynistic laws and attitudes that kept us under the thumb of our opposite gender. Many men help us with our struggle. But there are some men, most of them conservative and Republican, who still think like their ancestors did. They would love it if they could go back to controlling women: their lives, their status, their bodies. Which means we have to fight harder and remain vigilant. Returning to the Dark Ages is a terribly bad idea.

Read more:

by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM


by Platinum Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM
2 moms liked this

 What a silly assertion.

Where are your numbers for the "Conservative men" whom you know believe all of this ridiculous, twisted pro-liberal stuff.

by Ruby Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM
Quoting IhartU:

During the Dark Ages, and ever since then, women were considered property: They were defined by their relationships to men (flipping the ancient matrilineal code on its head). Their father, husband or even brother could make demands of her and she was bound to obey. Most marriages were arranged, even in the lower classes. A wife had no separate legal status apart from her being married to her husband. Women, with few exceptions, could not participate in public life, politics or the justice system (unless she was the accused).

thank you.   I think I posted about that recently.   Here's the text from that link:

By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called in our law-French a feme-covert, foemina viro co-operta; is said to be covert-baron, or under the protection and influence of her husband, her baron, or lord; and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture. Upon this principle, of a union of person in husband and wife, depend almost all the legal rights, duties, and disabilities, that either of them acquire by the marriage. I speak not at present of the rights of property, but of such as are merely personal. For this reason, a man cannot grant anything to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself: and therefore it is also generally true, that all compacts made between husband and wife, when single, are voided by the intermarriage. A woman indeed may be attorney for her husband; for that implies no separation from, but is rather a representation of, her lord. And a husband may also bequeath any thing to his wife by will; for that cannot take effect till the coverture is determined by his death. The husband is bound to provide his wife with necessaries by law, as much as himself; and, if she contracts debts for them, he is obliged to pay them; but for anything besides necessaries he is not chargeable. Also if a wife elopes, and lives with another man, the husband is not chargeable even for necessaries; at least if the person who furnishes them is sufficiently apprized of her elopement. If the wife be indebted before marriage, the husband is bound afterwards to pay the debt; for he has adopted her and her circumstances together. If the wife be injured in her person or her property, she can bring no action for redress without her husband's concurrence, and in his name, as well as her own: neither can she be sued without making the husband a defendant. There is indeed one case where the wife shall sue and be sued as a feme sole, viz. where the husband has abjured the realm, or is banished, for then he is dead in law; and the husband being thus disabled to sue for or defend the wife, it would be most unreasonable if she had no remedy, or could make no defence at all. In criminal prosecutions, it is true, the wife may be indicted and punished separately; for the union is only a civil union. But in trials of any sort they are not allowed to be evidence for, or against, each other: partly because it is impossible their testimony should be indifferent, but principally because of the union of person; and therefore, if they were admitted to be witness for each other, they would contradict one maxim of law, "nemo in propria causa testis esse debet"; and if against each other, they would contradict another maxim, "nemo tenetur seipsum accusare." But, where the offence is directly against the person of the wife, this rule has been usually dispensed with; and therefore, by statute 3 Hen. VII, c. 2, in case a woman be forcibly taken away, and married, she may be a witness against such her husband, in order to convict him of felony. For in this case she can with no propriety be reckoned his wife; because a main ingredient, her consent, was wanting to the contract: and also there is another maxim of law, that no man shall take advantage of his own wrong; which the ravisher here would do, if, by forcibly marrying a woman, he could prevent her from being a witness, who is perhaps the only witness to that very fact.

In the civil law the husband and the wife are considered as two distinct persons, and may have separate estates, contracts, debts, and injuries; and therefore in our ecclesiastical courts, a woman may sue and be sued without her husband.

But though our law in general considers man and wife as one person, yet there are some instances in which she is separately considered; as inferior to him, and acting by his compulsion. And therefore any deeds executed, and acts done, by her, during her coverture, are void; except it be a fine, or the like manner of record, in which case she must be solely and secretly examined, to learn if her act be voluntary. She cannot by will devise lands to her husband, unless under special circumstances; for at the time of making it she is supposed to be under his coercion. And in some felonies, and other inferior crimes, committed by her through constraint of her husband, the law excuses her: but this extends not to treason or murder.

The husband also, by the old law, might give his wife moderate correction. For, as he is to answer for her misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to intrust him with this power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his apprentices or children; for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer. But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds, and the husband was prohibited from using any violence to his wife, aliter quam ad virum, ex causa regiminis et castigationis uxoris suae, licite et rationabiliter pertinet. The civil law gave the husband the same, or a larger, authority over his wife: allowing him, for some misdemeanors, flagellis et fustibus acriter verberare uxorem; for others, only modicam castigationem adhibere. But with us, in the politer reign of Charles the second, this power of correction began to be doubted; and a wife may now have security of the peace against her husband; or, in return, a husband against his wife. Yet the lower rank of people, who were always fond of the old common law, still claim and exert their ancient privilege: and the courts of law will still permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in the case of any gross misbehaviour.

These are the chief legal effects of marriage during the coverture; upon which we may observe, that even the disabilities which the wife lies under are for the most part intended for her protection and benefit: so great a favourite is the female sex of the laws of England.

by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM
4 moms liked this

This is the most offensive piece of trash I've read all day.

by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM
3 moms liked this

I like this post. I agree with most of it. I think conservative Christian males are influenced by the far past. They seem to have some views that are not founded in reality, fact, or common sense. While all the time buying Viagra for themselves, they continue forcing the pro life agenda on us all. Or stopping the insurance companies from funding simple birth control.

And because some of us ladies buy into this Christian crap, we let our rights be eroded little by little.

by on Aug. 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

THE GOOD OLD DAYS. . . Those that so many on the religious right long for. 

by Thatwoman on Aug. 25, 2013 at 4:27 PM
6 moms liked this

Oh, hey:

If the sperm has the soul in it, isn't it mass murder for men to masturbate?

Why are there no laws being written to stop this genocide?

by Gold Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM
1 mom liked this

Quoting TranquilMind:

 What a silly assertion.

Where are your numbers for the "Conservative men" whom you know believe all of this ridiculous, twisted pro-liberal stuff.

Todd Aiken, and everything he said about rape for one. Shall we go into the GOP's current war on women? Not twisted pro-liberal stuff when it's TRUE

by Platinum Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

 Ok, I don't know what he said, and you didn't cite a source.

But ok then, taking your word for it, this ONE Conservative man believes wrong things.  Gotcha.

Quoting Aslen:



Quoting TranquilMind:

 What a silly assertion.

Where are your numbers for the "Conservative men" whom you know believe all of this ridiculous, twisted pro-liberal stuff.

Todd Aiken, and everything he said about rape for one. Shall we go into the GOP's current war on women? Not twisted pro-liberal stuff when it's TRUE



by Ruby Member on Aug. 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM
3 moms liked this
Nice how you lump all conservative men into this. It would e just as bad of to claim that all liberal men view women as sexual conquests and cheat on their wives and are sexual deviants.
I love how post after post, you degrade Christians and Conservatives. Damn, can't you stop??
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)