Title: History: Revenge of the Virgin Martyrs! Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 23rd May 2006 - 12:00pm1148342400 Article: 1248 Rights
Why did the Roman Empire succumb to Christianity in the end? Was it due to the massive damage that Virgin Martyrs caused to their surroundings? And what can LGBTs learn from this malarkey? At point during the nunsploitation thriller Killer Nun (1978), drug-crazed serial killer Sister Gertrude is lewdly reading gory traditional Catholic saint stories to her cringing captive audience of elderly rest home inmates. So, what does this have to do with us, if anything? In the first few centuries CE, the Roman Empire was infested with hordes of Virgin Martyrs. If left unsupervised, these impressionable young women would turn blatantly Christian and petition enthusiastically to be horribly done to death for the Faith. Usually there's a Lustful Pagan Ruler or Scandalised Dad lurking around to provide Condemnation for her, and grant her wishes. Thereafter, there is much gory scourging, impalement, restraint, disembowelmentand forcible flesh peeling, as well as copious blood. All to no avail, as these Virgin Martyrs have a horrible habit of regenerating until they decide that it's time to go. The Lustful Pagan Ruler usually finds that in trying to remove the Virgin Nuisance in question, there is much collateral damage to their hapless subjects due to riccocheting projectiles, misplaced flames and other mayhem. Or they convert, and also get Horribly Martyred for the Faith. I am certainly not trivialising real violence against women, because the above isn't. According to Karen Winstead and other chroniclers, the Rampaging Virgin Menaces above didn't actually exist. These stories were mere propaganda, and they are vile, misogynist nonsense. Given that veteran radical feminist Susan Brownmiller recognised this, I wonder why some enterprising feminist didn't establish a "Women Against Hagiography" group to oppose these images and stories about humiliation, degradation, mutilation and violence against women? Isn't there a double standard here, though? Ah, so it's okay if medieval and traditionalist Catholics recorded lurid fictional stories and images related to torture and mutilation of young women, as long as it's 'sacred?' And it's propaganda, grossly exaggerating the amount of persecution that Christians underwent before the advent of the Christian Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. Nor has it died out- remember their relish for theblood, guts and gorein "Passion of the Christ?" And they have the unmitigated gall to attack our consenting adult, safe, sane and responsible LGBT leather communities?! I'm strongly inclined to remind them, and anyone else who might be interested, about their own poisonously misogynist past (and present). As a wise sage once said, let they who are without error cast rocks at allegedly deviant others. Recommended: Katherine Lewis: The Cult of Saint Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England: Bury St Edmonds: Boydell Press: 2000. Karen Winstead: Virgin Martyrs: Legends of Sainthood in Late Medieval England: Ithaca: Cornell University Press: 1997 Catherine Innes-Parker: "Sexual Violence and the Female Reader: Symbolic Rape in the Saints Lives of the Katherine Group": Women's Studies: 24 (1995): 205-217. Judith Perkins: The Suffering Self: Pain and Narrative Representation in the Early Christian Era: London: Routledge: 1995 Craig Young - 23rd May 2006    
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