Virgin Mary Research Paper

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2. Self-starvation and Sexuality
The unattainable image of Virgin Mary had a negative impact on a female sense of identity. As Mary Condren writes:
Despite its contradictions, [the story of Adam and Eve] has had widespread implications that powerfully affected the treatment of women in society. Women have been identified with Eve, the symbol of evil, and can only attain sanctity by identifying with the Virgin Mary, the opposite of Eve. But this is an impossible task since we are told that Mary herself “was conceived without sin” and when she gave birth to Jesus remained a virgin. To reach full sanctity then, women must renounce their sexuality, symbol of their role as temptresses and how they drag men from their lofty heights. . . . Sex
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As Alicia Ostriker writes, the flesh in Catholicism was seen “corrupt and corruptible; it is inherently sinful and inherently subject to change and death” (qtd. in González-Arias, “Foodless, Curveless, Sinless: Reading the Female Body in Eavan Boland’s ‘Anorexic’”). This alludes to the medieval nuns, which has been examined by Rudolph Bell in Holy Anorexia, whose starvation was a way to reject and broke free from the women’s sinful nature (qtd. in González-Arias, “‘The Famine of the 90s’: Female Starvation and Religious Thought in Leanne O’Sullivan’s Waiting for My Clothes” 53). Although the term “anorexia nervosa” has been used quite recently in medicine, female starvation could be found even in the first-century Rome, where women rejected food to break free from the traditional patriarchy-formed roles of mothers (González-Arias, “‘The Famine of the 90s’: Female Starvation and Religious Thought in Leanne O’Sullivan’s Waiting for My Clothes” 51). It is important to note that the speaker of the poem clearly shows the split identity, female body is regarded as “irreconcilably other” (Schrage-Früh, “‘My Being Cries Out to Be Incarnate’: The Virgin Mary

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