Gender Roles In Cherokee Creation Myth

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Women in creation stories are often mirrors for their society’s cultural norms regarding gender roles. Just as these myths serve as explanation for human existence, they also serve as instructions for their respective cultures. While men tend to enjoy a more varied and complex set of roles within mythology, women tends to be typecast into two roles: virtuous paragon or villainess. Many early stories have primal goddesses who are both life-giving and destructive. Creation mythology reflects the conflicted way that women have been viewed over time. Viewed as both powerful and weak, chaos and comfort, these goddesses and early human women seem to inhabit a continual world of duality, the bonds of which are not applied to men. This duality…show more content…
Man was created after the flora and fauna of Earth (showing the Native American emphasis on nature). The first man and woman were a brother and a sister, and he “then struck her with a fish and told her to multiply, and so it was.” Thus the roles in Cherokee society are outlined within their myth, the males command the females. The Christian creation story, Genesis, is likely the best known of all creation myths and is a classic example of both female subjugation and gender role specification. The Bible states that God’s purpose for creating Eve was to make “him a helper as his mate." (Genesis 2:18). Man’s role was to “till and keep” the Garden of Eden whereas woman was assigned to help (or serve depending on the translation) man. Some biblical scholars have interpreted Eve’s transgression with the apple as an allegory relating to women’s inferiority regarding self-control and discipline. This implied inherent weakness in women has been used to argue male superiority for hundreds of years. Men are supposedly not as susceptible to sin as they are created in God’s own image and women are created of…show more content…
Dr. Mary Hunt wrote about this in her article, “Eve's Legacy: Burden of Blame”, that had the Biblical Eve not existed, she would have been invented by society because someone had to take the blame for society's ills and in many ancient societies, women were the scapegoats. Women became one of the most polarized creatures on Earth, saint or sinner, Madonna or whore, good girl or bad girl, and the roots of these opposites are most clearly found in creation mythology. The Bible is a great example of this duality, just as Eve exists so does her idealized counterpart, Mary. Mary, the virgin mother of Christ, who according to Hunt “would not have eaten the apple if she had been starving to death” is the foil for the sinner Eve. She represents the society’s perceived idealized woman, an obedient, submissive, faithful and modest

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