Originally Posted by MuppetFace
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
There are actually two versions that are generally accepted as canonical, and in one there's no mention of the rib thing. Rather, it says God created man and woman at the same time. The problem some folks have the rib thing is that it's not
equality in their view. They argue that God created the first man directly
whereas woman was in turn created through a piece of man, basically once-removed
from God so to speak (think of that "12 degrees of separation" game). The protection thing could be viewed as a form of dependency. To that end a lot of theologians like von Balthasar have emphasized the "co dependency" of man and woman: in other words, they literally compliment and complete one another. Whether this co-dependency is bidirectional however is debatable, and someone like von Balthasar will say that women are there to help men (to "answer their question with their return gaze") whereas men are engaged in the world at large (their gaze "looks all around" and not just at woman). Women are one piece of man so to speak, whereas men are completed by women but more
than this. Also note that in this version of the creation story, Adam names
Eve by calling her woman. Naming was a means of exerting dominance over something, and it's why God has Adam name all the other animals, as it shows that man has dominion over nature.
I think this particular version of the Judeo-Christian creation story has a beautiful element to it, but unfortunately opens the doors to interpretations that are less-than-beautiful. It's been used historically as ammunition for women's subservience and even to keep them out of the priesthood. The complementary nature of man / woman has also been used as an argument against homosexuality.
Personally, I'm more interested in the fact that there are two canonical versions of the creation story and how historically various groups have tried to reconcile this. Some see one as an elaboration of the other, others see them as two poetic variations or different perspectives of the same event, still others view one as more authentic than the other, and so on and so forth.