Women: Down Through the Ages

How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives

Non-Fiction - Womens
248 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Shannon Winings for Readers' Favorite

I was truly unsure about Women: Down Through the Ages, How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives by Jerry Schaefer. A book about women and their plights written by a man? Surely this is going to be a disaster. I am ecstatic to say that I was wrong, immensely so. The author starts at the beginning, with none other than Adam and Eve. Their decisions made many believe that everything from that time forward was the fault of a woman. As such, women's lives must be dictated by men. Yet, by pushing women away and failing to work together, the world is unbalanced and continuing to topple. The blame has decreased accountability and only created more problems that we may not be able to address appropriately if we continue to leave out a large portion of the population. So what do we do? Where do we go from here? Read for yourself to form your own opinion.

Truthfully, Women: Down Through the Ages by Jerry Schaefer is probably one of the most thought-provoking books I have read this month. The author uses well-researched information to get readers thinking. He discusses the history surrounding women and addresses the absurd beliefs attached to a simple label. At the same time, the author uses humor to make a serious subject more palatable. Some may not like that, as we shouldn't make light of a serious subject. However, the reality is that making it more palatable can reach more people. Frankly, it also had me chuckling and wanting to read more. The combination was entertaining and meaningful to the very end.

Jamie Michele

Women: Down Through the Ages: How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives by Jerry Schaefer is a non-fiction look at the history of oppression against the female gender by men. Schaefer covers a sweeping chronicle of subjugation, marking the first instances with pre-historic context by blaming man’s loss of immortality and the promise of tortuous childbirth on Eve in the Garden of Eden. Over the course of five distinct and interconnected parts and twenty-three chapters, topics include but are in no way limited to women in medieval, tribal, and Roman shackles; the Renaissance and heresy; enlightenment, Victoriana and fashion; and violence, loss of autonomy over the female body, and many other defining moments.

Discovering that Jerry Schaefer is actually a man immediately raised a crimson tide of red flags when I began reading Women: Down Through the Ages. We have reached a point where, finally, the stories of “lesser folk” are no longer acceptable for sharing by, primarily, Caucasian males. Given that this book is intended to be strictly historical in nature and it does not shift into what women think or feel, but instead focuses on straightforward facts and not emotion, I gave the red flags the weekend off. Schaefer’s writing style is thoughtful and effervescent, relying on humor to convey evidence-based information without putting a reader to sleep with rambling academia. The levity ceases throughout chapter nineteen. It is a profoundly raw and serious recount of the violence women have suffered in massive, disproportionate ways. I had no idea that in North Carolina, a woman could only report and have her rape investigated if she was a virgin. The balance Schaefer can strike between the serious and the silly is well executed, and I believe those interested in picking it up will feel the same way.

Emma Megan

Women: Down through the Ages - How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives by Jerry Schaefer contains the history of discrimination and oppression of women which began with the Original Lie that took place in the Garden of Eden. Jerry Schaefer says that men claimed their superiority based on that first lie and that they began to blame women for anything that went wrong since then. In this book, Jerry Schaefer offers a concise presentation of the absurdities that men forced women to go through, creating ridiculous laws and clever emotional manipulation tactics to make women believe that they're inferior and need to be ruled. This book shows how the Greeks, Egyptians, and other nations viewed and treated women throughout history and why Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire, Rousseau, among others, saw women as non-humans, too weak with defective minds.

Women: Down through the Ages by Jerry Schaefer made me realize how important women are for the world's economy and how many lives men have destroyed just because they want to dominate women's lives and their reproductive system. The hilarious quizzes and Jerry Schaefer's fine sarcasm enabled me to enjoy this book. Jerry Schaefer mocks men's inability to view women as human beings and equal partners capable of controlling their sexuality, being independent, and thinking on their own without threatening their masculinity in any way. There is not nearly enough hype around this book. I recommend it as it helps us understand why it should not be in men's interests to perpetuate gender stereotypes.

Tammy Ruggles

Women: Down through the Ages: How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives, by Jerry Schaefer, is a captivating, powerful, and often humorous deep-dive into the history of women, their roles as ascribed by men, and how women have been at the mercy of a male-dominated society. The author takes you back to the first lie told in the garden of Eden and explains chapter by chapter, time period by time period, how women were viewed, treated, and exploited. Though this may sound like a male-bashing book, it isn't, because men are victims of prescribed roles too: the powerful man must succeed and conquer at the cost of everything else. So, really, this book is a balance of ideas, the seriousness often leavened by the laugh-out-loud humor, right down to the chapter titles.

As Schaefer takes you back through time, you may find yourself shocked at the way things were back then, and even more surprised that some of those historic ideas still linger in the world today. This is a really quick and easy read written by an author who has much to say on an overlooked topic. As you're chuckling along with the good humor, though, just remember that women really were being owned and oppressed, physically, economically, and in every other way - to the point of death in some cases. My favorite parts are where Schaefer discusses how the personality and beliefs of certain leaders shaped how women were treated. In particular, he explains that the early Christian church leaders didn't exactly follow Jesus's positive and embracing example of how women should be regarded. You'll read sections on prostitution, childbirth, witchcraft, sex, rape, domestic violence, politics, religion, culture, beauty, fashion, hair, and customs. There is also attention paid to the positive progress made in the lives of women, though it doesn't seem to be enough. For an exciting, eye-opening look at women's roles, from the garden of Eden to the present day, put Women: Down through the Ages: How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives, by Jerry Schaefer, on your must-read list. This book should be a documentary or taught in schools if it isn't already.

Vincent Dublado

The arguments presented here are inspired by Robert McElvaine’s Eve’s Seed. As an indictment of men and the civilization they have produced, Jerry Schaefer’s Women: Down through the Ages: How Lies Have Shaped Our Lives reflects awareness of the fact that age-old ideologies surrounding gender roles have long created obstacles for women and have triggered an imbalance in the way we manage our social, political, and economic affairs. In this book, the gender trap is traced beginning with the biblical story of man’s fall from grace and how women have gone downhill ever since. This becomes central to the discourse as it is the source of the biggest lie that blames women and has restricted them to a life of domesticity and servitude. It equally explores how men fall into the manhood trap.

Jerry Schaefer meticulously studies the power relations between the sexes where men predominate, and he assesses the implications of gender development that take on the redefinition of the masculine and the feminine. He calls for a need to think outside the box and start over. As new studies create a new sense of reflection between the sexes, many will find merit in the discourse of Women: Down Through the Ages. Similarly, it can also create mixed feelings and thoughts in the sweep of sexual liberation movements like modern feminism and male consciousness groups. This work sparks thought-provoking statements like how today’s economy depends on women remaining in their subservient state. Regardless of your position on the issue of gender roles, it is worth your time to read and absorb Schaefer’s arguments. Beyond the rhetoric of sex liberation movements, this book gives you the realization for a significant change and that we don’t need to battle each other.