Evolution of Eve

Evolution of Eve

Skin may be how we define body image, gender and identity but what are the origins of these preconceptions? For many, the answer starts with the creation stories and myths found in many religions. Photographer Stephen Milne and life partner and model Susanne Milne explore these themes from both sides of the gender divide by reinterpreting the biblical story of Eden and the character of Eve as well as Lilith – Eve’s little known predecessor who has been edited out of more modern biblical history.

Stephen and Susanne wanted to dissect the creationist story for alternate narratives that may be hidden or encoded within it’s familiar patriarchal framework with the aim of opening a conversation between those who believe the creationist story to be fact and those who might dismiss it as an archaic fairy tale.

“In the beginning”, woman and man were created from the earth as equals with nothing but their naked skin to define them. Adam soon demands submission from his first wife, Lilith. When Lilith refuses, she chooses banishment from Eden and eventually becomes demonized. Adam becomes lonely and is gifted by God with a new more submissive Eve, (created from Adam’s rib instead of from the earth). Eve is ultimately tempted by Satan to take the apple and taste the forbidden secrets from the Tree of Knowledge. Only then do Adam and Eve become aware and ashamed of their nakedness and differences and are exiled forever from the perfect world of Eden.

Eve and Lilith, represent some of the fears men may have of equality with women. From the beginning of creationist story, men quickly learn women are inherently insubordinate, dangerous, and tempters. The creation story reinforces the need and justification for domination of men over women.

Is it possible to imagine that the original story of Adam and Eve has been constructed to divide us rather than remind us that we are all connected children of the Earth and that beneath our clothes, identity and class we are all of the same skin?

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