Adam demanded that his first wife play a subservient role to him and when she declined to do so (and left) Adam asked for a new wife. He wanted a partner who would be an improvement upon his first in that she would be subservient to him. His wish was granted and Eve came into being.
His first wife, Lilith goes on to be portrayed as a demon, vilified as a woman who failed to know and keep her place. She becomes the thing of nightmares, her stubbornness and pride in being equal costs her everything. She becomes a figure who spends eternity eating children, those who are the very sign of hope, innocence and that which is good in life.
One can argue that Adam had no right to insist that Lilith become subservient to him as they were created equally and therefore both subservient to God. One could also argue that because of Lilith’s own stubbornness she brought upon her downfall. Ultimately the story of Adam and Lilith is a story of greed, both parties equally desirous of ultimate power to the point of being unable to comprise with each other.
The need to cast off the yoke of oppression or to fight from having the yoke of oppression placed upon oneself is no less of a struggle these days than at any time in history. Be it the oppression of women, the oppression of religious groups, oppression based on social class or race, these struggles play out every day somewhere around the world.
While modern woman may not be asked to eat children, she is no less vilified for seeking the same power as her male counter-parts. The stories we tell may be different, but she never comes out looking good and always seems to be justified as in the wrong. Change the gender for someone of a different race, religious view or such and the story is all the same. We tell these stories to explain why it is okay to do what we do to each other. We focus on our differences, ignoring those myriads of similarities and justify our behavior accordingly.
If I were asked to make the sacrifice as Lilith, that of freedom to be equal versus being lesser but able to stay “golden” I fear I too would choose to be a vilified. Because like Lilith, I’d struggle to understand why I should be less than another who is not so different from myself. Frankly I’d struggle with that even if said other individual was that different, because am I not worth the same as any other person? In my market regardless of color, race, gender or religion we all have the same value unless we do something as an individual to alter it. Yet as I go out in this world I must remind myself not everything carries the same set of measuring scales that I use, not everyone values the individual and rather may find the collective more important. And to these people I too am a demon.