Women and The Church: The Madonna/Whore Complex

1629 WordsJul 10, 20187 Pages
Since the beginning of recorded history, our world has put certain expectations and rules on female and males alike. Whether it be in the workplace, at home, or in society. There is a list of unwritten rules that every person should abide by if they want to fit in to their culture. For women in America, filling this quota is a lot harder than it seems. The Western woman is under the influence of unrealistic expectations regarding the media, this is true, but it is more complicated than that. Scholars have noticed a trend in the guidelines for women, from the stories in the bible to today’s modern media. The woman is to be a sexual being, a vixen, a wild child; while at the same time remaining reserved, submissive and pure. This phenomenon…show more content…
Another institution in society has influenced and promoted the Madonna/Whore complex; art. Artists of female nudes staged their models in submissive, neutral positions in order to please the eye of every male viewer. A significant attribute to the Madonna/Whore complex of women is placed on them by their male counterpart. As long ago as the medieval times, women were objects of viewing and manipulation. The women appeared to be ready for sex at any moment, yet there demeanor and expression coveys an innocent and angelic presence. As per the church, men are the ones whom are allowed to control a women’s sexuality. This was the beginning to the widespread expectation of the Madonna/Whore complex outside of the Christian realm. John Berger, a British art historian conducts research on this phenomenon. He comes to certain conclusions on the viewings of women in not just art, but everyday life. He says, “Women are depicted in quite a different way than men--- not because the feminine is different from the masculine—but because the ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him” (64, Berger). Berger makes the point that a straight women’s goal in life is to attract a male. This goal goes back to the bible and its ideal of the man having control over the women. One could argue that the Madonna/Whore complex perpetuates because of its appeal to

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