In the bible creation story, Eve was manipulated by Satan into eating from the tree of life and then tempted Adam into sin. As punishment for helping introduce original sin into the world, God declared that she would bleed every month and that her female offspring will experience great pain during childbirth. Since myths are used by society to explain the world around them, I would like to do an equivalent story in which it was man who first sinned and was punished for it in some way.

God made man and woman separately, with woman being made first. He then gave them the ability to access magic as a gift to show his favor.This magic was slow, complex, and ritualized. However, it was very powerful, able to shape the world to suit their image. Both man and woman set out creating the animal and plant species of the world, naming them, and then basically designing the world around them. However, man committed some vile act that created much calamity into the world and became responsible for introducing sin into humankind. As a result, God stripped man of his access to magic, and his male descendents are forced to carry the shame of his sin throughout their lives by performing penance until they can be redeemed in the hereafter. Women remained able to utilize magic. Magic is the basis of technology and used in everyday life. Magi tech is used by everyone, but only women can create it. They do not experience pain during birth, and it is described as an almost euphoric process.

This myth is meant to explain the dominance of women in this world. Having access to magic is a sign of gods favor. Being stripped of magic is not a "noticeable" in the same way that periods or pain in childbirth are, seeing as those can be seen by the populace. What is the best way to make this punishment for males more "visual"?

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    $\begingroup$ Not from the tree of life but from the tree of knowledge. They were expelled from Paradise because having eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge there was a risk that by eating also the fruit of the tree of life they would become gods. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think answer that isn't just a personal opinion is possible. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ I find your binary definition of gender offensive $\endgroup$
    – Fl.pf.
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Fl.pf. what else is there to make it non-binary? $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Fl.pf. For all you know, he could have a story featuring intersexed people accessing magic in ways unexplained by the neolithic fable. Don’t be offended that every description of human dimorphism doesn’t have an asterisk footnote after the di-. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


As a creation myth it's enough for explaining the disparity between male and females and it's a great a theodicy; men screwed up so they got magically neutered, women alone aren't powerful enough to fix the mess and now everyone has to live with it. I'd add some kind of consequence for females though for not stopping the idiots when they had the chance.

You will need to decide whether all women will have access to magic or not, exactly what the type of modern magic is (the rituals will evolve and get optimized over the generations), etc.

This type of tale is also a great cautionary tale about misuse of magic.

It's also a nice potential plot line to create a classic male fantasy protagonist; aka. the guy with unique powers and subject to a prophecy to save the world.

A variant has popped up in literature in the Wheel of Time series. Men and women have different strains of magic. Men in their hubris decided to rip open the fabric of reality (literally) and in doing so unwittingly unleashed the Dark One into the world.

They patched the hole but not before the Dark One tainted male magic so that every male magician will inevitably go insane. The site of the patch also leaks evil turning the land uninhabitable.

  • $\begingroup$ Actually, in the wheel of time it was a woman (Lanfear) the lead investigator who opened the rift. Men's magic was tainted when they tried to seal the breach - without help from their female colleagues. $\endgroup$
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ This is a commentary on the post, but doesn’t Answer the question. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 20:31

It may be worth noting that in Christianity (and, I believe, Judaism), the whole pain in childbirth thing was kind of a slap on the wrist compared to the other bit: both the man and the woman were exiled from paradise on Earth, and became unable to enter Heaven. This could be seen as a punishment, or as a consequence (the imperfect and the perfect cannot stand each other), but you might take that into account in considering the seriousness of your mytholgy's punishment.

I think it also depends on how frequently magic is used in everyday life. You've said it's very powerful, even creative, though slow to use. Do women still use magic on a daily basis to create and shape things? Are men significantly hampered by not having this ability? Childbirth is a necessary part of life (in general; of course not all women have children), yet it's painful and dangerous, even life-threatening in some cases. That's not even touching on the inconvenience of periods and the long-term effects childbirth has on a mother's body. Loss of magic is only equivalent to difficult childbirth if not having magic is something that inconveniences, pains, or even endangers most or all men during the natural course of their life.

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    $\begingroup$ Pain at childbirth as part of the punishment is just an explanation why women suffer so much giving birth while the rest of the female mammals doesn't have (normally) such a problem. Jewish people being a tribe of nomadic sepherds, they couldn't fail to notice that oddity. $\endgroup$
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ A good point: difficulty in childbirth is something of a biological oddity. Superstition, explanatory myth, and theology all seem to overlap with each other a good deal. $\endgroup$
    – RLoopy
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ It's the Garden of Eden they couldn't return to rather than heaven, at least in Judaism. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ Men are physically dominant over women, (on average), but are magically equal, currently. You might want to consider not having much of an actual muscular difference (aside from the ones relevant to procreation) because women were rewarded with a different kind of dominance. $\endgroup$
    – Piomicron
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 8:59