Well, I still haven't gotten to the library for the Eve book. I'm amazed at how hard it is to make that (relatively short) trip. But I actually thought of you all on Saturday. I got to read some poetry at a Symposium for BYU Studies, and afterwards I went to a couple of the sessions, and I thought, "I bet my reading group would love this!" I wish I had notes (they said an audio file will be up on the website next week sometime, but I realize that no one has time to listen to things like that) but there were two presentations I liked specifically related to this "feminism" topic we've been on.
One was on Minerva Teichert's paintings of women in the Book of Mormon. The best part was seeing the paintings as the lady talked---but you could see how she used symbolism, placement of the women, etc. to show the central role of all the women characters. Teichert even added women to scenes where they aren't mentioned in the text. And she was the (only?) LDS painter to show female angels (instead of male, or androgenous)---she painted the angels as women in the story of the angels ministering to the children in 3 Nephi 17. It's a great picture (I've seen it before, but not taken note of it) and it makes it more meaningful to me to see how the women are comforting, gathering, ministering to the children---just as we do as mothers/women in mortality.
The other presentation talked about how in New Testament times, veils were not the same types of symbols as they were in other cultures. That is: in early Christian tradition, veils showed---NOT sensuality or subjugation, or social status---but AUTHORITY. They were a symbol of the woman's authority in the church---as women were allowed to pray and preach in churches---a HUGE departure from previous Jewish customs. I can't reproduce all her evidence from memory, but she talked about the scriptures by Paul (1 Corinthians?) where it says women should not have their heads uncovered, and how that refers to womens' RIGHT to speak to God for themselves. Also that women are necessary to men's "glory" (as men are necessary to womens'). Very empowering. I have also wondered (some of the information in the presentation made me think of this again) if the veil (as worn by a woman) has a connection to the veil of the temple---and if so, the significance that a woman goes behind the veil when she veils her face. Some traditions seem to have the veil as a barrier between the woman and the world---but if she is within the veil, perhaps it is a symbol of her entering God's presence---joining with him in a holy place.
Anyway. I wish you all could have been there. Here is a link to a summary of the session I mentioned, and here is another session I liked (about earth and gardening and the universe---it all fit together nicely).
And I'll post on Eve, if I ever make it to the library. :)
Andrea, I really liked your recent post---especially the thoughts on the Fall as a loving and selfless act. Very interesting.