Pandora and of Eve. Curiosity led these women to do the forbidden thing --open the box, eat the fruit -- and all evil forever after was the result.
Women are always getting the rap for bringing evil knowledge into the world.
Who makes up these myths anyway? Hint: it's not a woman.
What is up with this cautionary attitude about women and knowledge?
Bluebeard's wife: Bluebeard left for a few days, giving his wife all the keys to the house. But he warned her not to use this tiny key, not to go into this certain room. And so she did, and found there all the skulls and bones of Bluebeard's previous wives that he had murdered.
Lot's wife: In the Bible, God has decided to destroy two corrupt cities, Sodom and Gamorrah, but he gives Mr. and Mrs. Lot a free pass out of the city before the destruction. He warns them not to look back. But Mrs. Lot still had family back there, so she couldn't resist turning around for one last look. And God turned her into a pillar of salt.
Secrets Beyond the Door discusses "woman's problematic relationship to knowledge."
"The intellectual curiosity of men may have given us fire, divided us from animals and given us civilization, but the curiosity of women --as we know from the stories of Pandora, Eve, Psyche and Lot's wife, among others -- has given rise to misery, evil and grief."
I'm not familiar with the myth of Psyche. But do I even need to mention the Taliban and the women they have killed while the women headed to school or sat in the classroom?
Why? What's in it for the myth-makers if women eschew wider knowledge? Will we otherwise become harder to manage? Bad mothers who will neglect our children? Threatening competitors for jobs and resources?
In "Gender Roles in Cross-cultural Contexts," Joan Gregg writes:
"Some theorists assume that biological factors will always prevent women from moving outside their traditional sexual-biological roles into economic or political roles outside the family.
"They state that even in the changing family structure of modernized societies, made possible by safe, easy contraception and bottle-feeding, the role that will bring most fulfillment to women is the maternal-housekeeping one.
"These social scientists claim that the woman's role has always been essential in transmitting cultural values from one generation to the next and that this conservative function is a key to social stability.
"Its form will perhaps change somewhat, but in its most important aspects it will remain what it has been in almost every culture for thousands of years."
Whew! So all cultural stability depends upon women's willingness to forego knowledge outside the home? That's a heavy load. And we're stuck with this quandary for the next thousand years?