There are many reasons why the Virgin Mary became popular in Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, but the early Church initially used the myth as a theological bone which they threw to the women of the Church to distract them from noticing that the Church fathers were systematically eliminating every vestige of the divine feminine from Christian theology. More importantly, by also denying Mary Magdalene's apostolic authority as the first apostle of Christianity, the patriarchs were able to deny power and authority to all women in the Church. When the votes were all in, God the Mother had been replaced by the Mother of God.
But hasn't the myth of the Virgin actually helped women in the Church? It has certainly helped to keep them docile. For many modern Catholic women, mother Mary has become the "Queen of Heaven," even part of an expanded Trinity. But the women of the Church are still just as powerless today as they were 2,000 years ago.
It's easy to understand why the earliest Christian women were sold on Mary. The image of a Virgin holding a divine (male) child is an ancient archetype. Besides Jesus, nine other (male) divine beings were also born of virgins. The Hindu avatar Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki. Gautama the Buddha was born of the virgin Maya. The Egyptian god Horus was born of the virgin Isis. The Phrygian Attis was born of the virgin Nama. The Babylonian Adonis was born of the virgin Ishtar.
His take above fits with some of what I learned in my doctrine class when we studied the Council of Ephesus.
Hooper doesn't pull any punches nor does he allow for much ambiguity (speaks with confidence about his position). I don't mind if someone wants to make an apologetic on behalf of Mary that takes his assertions to task in the comments section. For my part, I find his research and thinking persuasive.