Did the Patriarchy Steal Friday the 13th From Women?
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Last Friday was Friday the 13th, meaning that dark forces from distant universes compelled people to be a bunch of fucking idiots. This also happens during full moons and superbowls.
I read a particularly charming example on Broadly, the subsection of Vice dedicated to women-people, who would otherwise not read Vice because it hurts their women-people brains. The article in question was titled “How the Patriarchy Stole Friday the 13th from Women and Made It Evil” so I’m going to need all of you to take a moment to prepare yourselves for the utter bullshit that is to follow.
The post’s thesis is, conveniently, it’s first sentence: “Before Friday the 13th became associated with bad luck and the horror movie franchise that refuses to die, it used to be considered a powerful day for celebrating feminine energy.” For evidence, Broadly contributor Kimberly Lawson reaches out to expert historians who have extensively studied the history of women’s rights and superstitious practices.
Ha ha, just kidding! Lawson interviewed two people: Gina Spriggs, “a North Carolina-based futurist and holistic intuitive,” and Tanaaz Chubb, “an LA-based intuitive.” Wow, two intuitives in one article! For those who don’t know what an intuitive is, it’s an old-school psychic fraud with a fancy name that lets the person in question charge substantially more than the $10-a-pop palm reader on the corner.
The “intuitives” tell a remarkably gullible Lawson that before Christianity, Friday the 13th was considered a day to honor the “Divine Feminine.” But once Jesus had a party with 13 people and then got himself murdered the next day, a Friday, everyone thinks Friday the 13th is evil. That’s a popular rendition of how Friday the 13th got its reputation, though it’s not necessarily true. Friday has long been seen as an unlucky day in Western cultures, and 13 as an unlucky number. So they’re also just two evil tastes that taste evil together.
Friday the 13th wasn’t even a thing until the late 19th century, a long long time after patriarchal Christianity was born. And no, prior to that it was not considered a day to celebrate how magical and mysterious women are, despite the intuitives’ evidence-less claim that it was. In fact, prior to Christianity there wasn’t much of a standardized calendar at all — even the Greeks had a number of different calendars they all used concurrently, some of which had no names for the months, let alone the days. Most of them were purely numerical, meaning the idea of a Friday the 13th would have been completely foreign to them.
The intuitives claim Friday the 13th was a “Day of the Goddess” was because women on average have 13 menstrual cycles each year, which may be true but doesn’t actually describe why Friday would be super important. If anything, it should be Monday, the day of the Moon, right?
Speaking of the moon, my favorite quote from the article is this one, spoken by Spriggs. She says that 13 “is also the number, too, of annual cycles of the moon—viewed by earth-based religions as ‘female.’”
“Earth-based religions” you guys. Earth-based. Neptune-based religions see the Earth’s moon as more of a dude, while Jupiter-based religions don’t even recognize it as a valid person with an identifiable sex.
The intuitives also take time to long for the good old days when women’s periods were worshipped. It’s true that some cultures thought of menstruation as magical and powerful, but that wasn’t always exactly a good thing, since it could result in women being accused of witchcraft and hanged, or in women being relegated to shame huts for a few days every month. And that’s still happening today, as evidenced by the teenaged Nepalese girl who died in a menstruation hut just this past week.
The insipid article ends with the intuitives urging women to celebrate Friday the 13th by buying pink shit, like pink underwear and flowers and power tools I guess. This, too, is completely inane considering that the idea that pink is for women is a concept less than a 100 years old and has been repeatedly used in our patriarchal culture as a way to code things as weaker or for women.
In conclusion, fuck all that bullshit. Continue to celebrate Friday the 13th the way it was intended: by making fun of dummies who think things are unlucky that day, and by watching terrible horror films. Hey, there’s lots of blood in those things, right? And blood is totally feminine. It’s even pink! -Ish. It counts.