Two stories in Genesis justify why women should accept a lot of what is unacceptable. The first is of Adam and Eve--intended to explain the origin of humans. We read they were made by God and placed in the beautiful Garden of Eden. Plenty to eat. No work, a climate so ideal clothing was unnecessary, no books to study.
Bible stories, obviously, were contrived to explain the cultural whys:
• Why is sex so important to man
• why does knowledge unlock ignorance
• why is naked bad
• why is childbirth painful
• why does man boss woman
• why circumcise
We learn Adam was not satisfied with life without a “helper” for him. What he really needed was sex. So God made Eve from his rib. Next it explains evil in the form of a con-job by a snake. Then the tale blames Eve for eating of the tree of knowledge. She was gullible to believe a lying snake. She ate of knowledge and therefore Adam and she knew they were naked and must make clothing, at least for the lower half of their bodies. Naked was bad and clothing was good. That lesson has led in the extreme to some cultures requiring women to be covered from head to toe—Khimar, head scarf to cover head and Niqab, a veil that may or may not cover the eyes, abaya or chador, a cloak for women which is worn over other clothing when in public, usually made of black. On the other extreme that Adam and Eve made fig leaf aprons doesn’t explain well “the shop till you drop” craze for fashion that exposes much of the woman’s body.
Consequences for disobeying God are spelled out for Eve. Since she submitted to her insatiable desire for immediate gratification, what was in fact a craving for knowledge, and got Adam to also to do so—to eat of the tree of knowledge—Therefore, God said to Eve, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth.
Consequently, for hundreds of thousands of years, women could not stop getting pregnant again and again and having suffering the pain of carrying the weight of that inside them and suffering pain in birthing. And to Eve, if this wasn’t serious enough punishment, God said, “your desire shall be for your husband (that explains sexual urges) and your husband shall rule over you.” Perhaps the long lesson of this, for even a nation that claims to be God-fearing Jewish and Christian, is that one of them, who dare to not have enough desire or to challenge that men should rule over them, is beaten every nine seconds.
The second story is of Hagar. God okayed Abram to impregnate a servant woman, Hagar because Sarai, his wife failed to bear children. That Abram actually waited for his wife’s permission, we must not think otherwise based on sexual proclivity of our forefather Thomas Jefferson or of Arnold when he was Governor of California. But we are told Hagar, the servant once pregnant, disliked Abram’s wife, and Abram gave his wife permission to do what she pleased with Hagar. And she did, treating Hagar harshly.
The rest of the story is that Hagar fled into the wilderness. However, the Lord’s angel found her and ordered her to return and submit to Abram’s wife with the promise that she would give birth to Ishmael, who will be “a wild ass of a man.” (The lesson? A woman servant, and probably all whose lot is to be servants or slaves, should be subject to a cruel boss.) So Ishmael was born when Abram was 86 years old.
But that is still not the rest of the story. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Moreover, at 90 years of age, Abram, newly named Abraham, impregnated his old wife, who previously could not have children, too was renamed Sarah. To celebrate that fact, he, along with his newborn, complied with God’s command that he and his off-spring, would be circumcised. This explains the origin of this operation. If you read on the gory story doesn’t end there, but perhaps that is enough to explain the plight of woman—how it all began and exists to this day.