Saturday, March 31, 2007

Is it April 1 yet?

Medusa told me about this but she said she was laughing too hard to blog it, so I said, okay, I'll do it.

It's about this article on the Discovery Channel site by Jennifer Viegas called
Cavemen Preferred Full-Figured Ladies .

When I read the Viegas' article, which at first is about a scholarly article by Romuald Schild, Bodil Bratlund, Else Kolstrup, and Jan Fiedorczuk in the journal Antiquity, I thought the only explanation for its assumptions was that it was an April Fool's joke. But no, it was written on March 24, and it's still not April 1 yet.

Viegas begins the article thusly:
Thin may be in now, but prehistoric men 15,000 years ago prefered full-figured gals, suggest dozens of flint figurines excavated from a Paleolithic hunting site in Poland
She then jumps on over to a book,The Nature of Paleolithic Art by R. Dale Guthrie that
contains images of nearly identical renderings. It seems shapely women also inspired stone carvings and cave art, some of which date to 35,000 years ago.
Viegas quotes Guthrie, a professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, as saying: "female images dominate and are nude, almost every one full-figured above and below." Viegas says that
Guthrie believes most of their creators were young men. He suggests it is not too difficult to theorize what was on their minds in their free time.
As if that weren't enough, here's the kicker, the article says that in addition to the female figures, researchers found hundreds of arctic fox teeth either strung on necklaces or stored in pouches, and that
researchers believe the teeth may have had some kind of ritualistic, spiritual meaning.
Okay, so the teeth had "ritualistic, spiritual meaning" but not the female figures???!!!!! GIMME A BREAK!!!!!!!

I'm willing to give Jennifer Viegas a pass and assume she just needs a little educatin', which we're glad to start her on here. But I wonder if the scholars too are ignorant, or is this another "slight" or intentional ignoring of the immense archeological and anthopological evidence that other scholars have amassed in the last 20-30 years?

So here's a shout-out to Mses and Mssrs Viegas, Schild, Bratlund, Kolstrup,Fiedorczuk, Guthrie, et al.: For starters: Try googling Willendorf !!!!!!!!

There are of course some books we could recommend explaining very clearly and with excellent research, including anthropological and archeological, that these figures are Goddesses, not the Neolithic equivalent of Playboy centerfolds. And if you're interested, but especially over there at the Discovery Channel if you're more into the visual, we suggest you look into the video, "
Signs Out of Time."


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At Saturday, March 31, 2007 8:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great response/rant!!! And don't forget the freaks (I hesitate to use the term "university-educated anthropologist") that said the female figures carved holding certain objects were carrying 'cakes' (um, those would be drums moron).
Blessings from a full-figured worshipper of the Goddess in all her forms,

At Thursday, November 29, 2007 7:46:00 AM, Blogger ArsenicJulep said...

Did you read what you wrote? Whaddyamean that Paleolithic stone figures are goddesses, not the equivalent of Playboy centerfolds? These things aren't mutually exclusive! Are you saying that cavemen didn't get off on depictions of goddesses, or that because you don't find their goddesses attractive, they couldn't have either. Don't you realize that the Willendorf figurine was a total hottie in her culture? She was a sex goddess, which meant that she represented someone that men wanted to have sex with. Sex and religion are intertwined. Paleolithic peoples worshipped and revered female goddesses who represented what was healthy, fecund, and desireable--i.e., nubile. Ms. Viegas and her sources didn't say that the figures lacked spiritual meaning, just that they were of women considered attractive at the time. Goddesses (fertility and otherwise) of every era have been created in the image of women considered attractive and desirable. Paintings of the Madonna in Renaissance Europe depicted what were considered attractive women, the same as Egyptian wall paintings, Indian depictions of Shiva, and Greek and Roman statues and mosaics. Today's magazine cover models, who are overwhelmingly Hollywood movie stars, depict what is considered attractive in our culture. Despite the passage of 30,000 years, we still worship goddesses we find beautiful and sexually attractive!


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.