Mary Daly


Mary Daly is a Boston College Department of Theology professor with three doctorates who was born in 1928.  She identifies herself as a “PostChristian” because she believes that all religions are damaging to women as they are patriarchal in nature.  Patriarchy is a social structure that favors men.  The word patriarchy comes from the Latin for father.  For Daly much of the problem with religion evolves from images like the Trinity which she sees as the all male divine family.  Like Paul Tillich (1886-1965), Daly contends that the idea of the transcendent be detached from the emblem of a specific human figure.  This is a necessary step if the religion is going to stop being oppressive toward women.  The following quotes are by Daly:


“There exists a planetary sexual caste system, essentially the same in Saudi Arabia and in New York, differing only in degree.  All of the major world religions function to legitimate patriarchy.  The myths and symbols of Christianity are essentially sexist.  Since ‘God’ is male, the male is God.   God the Father legitimates all earthly Godfathers, including Vito Corleone…Since Christian myths are inherently sexist, and since the women’s revolution is not about ‘equality’ but about power, there is an intrinsic dynamic in the feminist movement which goes beyond efforts to reform Christian churches.  Such efforts eventually come to be recognized as comparable to a Black person’s trying to reform the Ku Klux Klan.  Within patriarchy, power is generally understood as power over people, the environment, things.  In the rising consciousness of women, power is experienced as power of presence to ourselves and to each other, as we affirm our own being against and beyond the alienated identity (non-being) bestowed upon us within patriarchy.  This is experienced as power of absence by those who would objectify women as ‘the other,’ as magnifying mirrors.  The presence of women to ourselves which is absence to the oppressor is the essential dynamic opening up the women’s revolution to human liberation.  It is an invitation to men to confront non-being and hence affirm their be-ing.  It is unlikely that many men will accept this invitation willingly, or even be able to hear it, since they have profound vested (though self-destructive) interest in the present social arrangements.  The women’s movement is a new mode of relating to the self, to each other, to men, to the environment---in a word---to the cosmos.  It is self-affirming, refusing objectification of the self and the other.”


Daly goes on to note that a male dominated world is the root cause of the destruction of the planet and the human species.  For a fuller appreciation of her ideas I suggest that you read the article that contains the above ideas which is in Quest: A Feminist Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 4, Spring 1975.


If you didn’t appreciate the importance of what Daly has just explained to you, then go back and read it again as it is terribly important.  Women are being oppressed by men.  Men are aided in this oppression by religion.  The oppressive relationship undermines both the well-being of women and men.  To move toward becoming a healthy, happy, male adult, men must stop oppressing women.  Change is in the best interests of both men and women.