Because of these difficulties, some interpreters through the ages have preferred to understand the word tsela—“side”— in different ways. Early rabbis in particular sought out alternative explanations. Some of them theorized that “side” means a face (front side) or a tail (back side), which God used as a starting point to make Eve. Other rabbis, somewhat more creatively, took the statement that God created “male and female” to mean that the first human was androgynous, that is, having both male and female characteristics. They believed that the creation of Eve was nothing more than splitting apart the male and female halves of the first human. God separated the two “sides” of this bizarre him-her being, giving each new person a separate back. Thus, the first distinct man and the first distinct woman were actually created at the same time. This interpretation is popular with some modern feminists, since the simultaneous creation of man and woman implies their equality. One recent feminist scholar, for instance, has theorized that “side” may mean “belly” or “womb,” so that woman was created by separating the womb from the androgynous creature and using it as the beginning point for the formation of the woman.
~ from The Uncensored Bible