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Kelly Atkinson
15 September 2015

Journal II: Mary Daly

Mary Daly is an American theologian, philosopher, and ethicist who
pioneered radical feminist theology. She was born into a Roman Catholic
family and was a studious young woman with hopes of uncovering mysteries
of medieval theology. Being among the first of American women to train as a
Roman Catholic theologian, Professor Daly challenged orthodoxies from the
start. Mary Daly was a fascinating woman born in New York in the late
1920s. She was born in a time where women were making their first
appearance in propaganda. Women were not previously seen on many
advertisements, if at all. This was also a time when women experienced
many changes in the workforce, home, politics, and education. Mary Daly
was born at a time prospering for women, and she began to see opportunity
for her feminist side at a young age.
Although she grew up a sweet Catholic girl she transformed herself
into a revolting hag and believed women ought to out govern men
(Wikipedia). Daly pursued doctorate degrees in English, Philosophy, and
Theology. She acquired her masters in English from the Catholic University
of America and a doctorate in religion from St. Marys College. After she

applied to the University of Notre Dame for the doctoral program in
philosophy and was turned down because of the basis of her sex. To be
turned down by ones sex is stating that one chromosomal pattern or genital
structure is better than the other. This statement was thought to be absurd
by Mary Daly and thus created the beginning of Dalys feminist revolt to
make a stand for herself and women.
Daly has since acquired six graduate degrees and has many publicized
writings. In her highly articulated piece of work, The Church and the Second
Sex, she argues the equality of the sexes. The issues of the church and sex
were brought to her attention by Commonweal published in 1964. Churches
were not acknowledging the importance of equality, though in their religious
view men and women were created equal. In the fall of 1965 Daly attended
the Second Vatican Council in Rome. [She] was appalled by the contrast
between the arrogant bearing colorful attire of the male bishops, [compared
to] the humble self depreciating manner of the women (Sturgis). In the
Communion she observed the men were dressed as the center of attention
and the women were degraded and pushed to the side to go last. This was
another prime example of how men take pride in overpowering women, even
the most ironic times such as during a Communion. She returned to the
United States in 1966 and had a burning fire to protest and make a stand as
a radical feminist. Daly joined the faculty of Boston College and published
The Church and the Second Sex in 1968.

In her time at Boston College she wanted to create a safe place
where women could speak comfortably and freely; therefore, she created a
policy for her classes which forbid any male students from her classes. This
caused several disputes with the schools administration and led to her
forced retirement. In 1998 a male student backed by a conservative
political organizations sued the college when Daly refused to let him into one
of her classes (Mary). Understanding her point of view on the subject the
board wanted to side with her if she would begin to allow males into her
classes. Daly, being the strong feminist she was, refused and stirred up a
larger legal battle. Daly wanted to teach women what men could not
(Hoagland) and allow them a safe place, because many of her students were
survivors of domestic abuse. In her mind, men did not help her get to where
she was and she did not want to help them play a role against her. The
battle was settled in 2001, when Daly agreed to retire from the college. She
believes [her retirement was] a fit finale to a career that has [created a
principle to stand for and altered] the course of world civilization (Quinn).
After her retirement, Daly continued to develop her knowledge about
theology and referred to herself as a post- Christian. Women were put in
the foreground in all of Dalys works such as The Fires of my Fury and Sin
Big. [They were directed] against everything that dulls and diminishes
women (Sturgis). In these two writings specifically Daly had one goal, to
reverse the world stereotype that most have grown up with. Women are
degraded, looked down upon, and many times placed in the background.

Daly challenged this view and brought a new decoded view to society. She
stated many times Tell on them! Laugh at their pompous penile
processions! Reverse their reversals! (Mary). In translation Mary Daly
wanted to rain on the arrogant penis parade one man at a time. Her single
purpose for working as hard as she did was to liberate womens minds,
bodies, and spirits from its oppression (Quinn).
This required Daly to invent feminist theology and build on her own
created knowledge. She takes an actively constructive turn, concerning
herself with a new conception of ultimate reality that [has liberated]
womens potential (Sturgis). Rejecting traditional conceptions of an
absolute well being was immanent and actualized through womens
creativity. Daly was faced with many opportunities where she, as a woman,
was pushed aside and told she could not move forward due to her sex. If she
had not penetrated the feminist perspective in religious and spiritual
traditions, our world would not have as strong of a knowledge of feminism as
we do. Daly revolutionized the world as we know it, and in my opinion
almost every aspect of society regarding to women owes her gratitude. She
helped women gain independence of their minds and spirits and gave them
the ultimate gift of integrity.