Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Not taking my daughters to church (yet) part 2

So what's the big deal about patriarchy, you ask? The big deal is that patriarchy creates a space for some pretty sick and bizarre stuff (see examples below). Does that mean patriarchy causes those things? No, or every single complimentarian relationship/religion would be full of this sort of violence, creepiness, and depravity. Instead, most churches are full of pretty nice people who refrain from most forms of abuse. But here is what patriarchy does do, it creates a space that allows and enables bad things to happen. I liken it to peeing in the corner of your bedroom and having a mold problem. The peeing doesn't cause mold to grow. Your carpet won't automatically get moldy just because of your peeing habit. I mean, there aren't mold spores in your urine. So it isn't like you are planting mold in your carpet each morning. So lots of people will never get moldy floors. Maybe you have hardwood floors that wipe clean easily. Or something. But, there is a reason why that corner of your room is at higher risk for mold. And it probably has something to do with the fact that maybe you shouldn't be peeing there. Because in addition to being sort of weird and smelly, carpet peeing creates circumstances that enable stuff like mold to grow. [warning, this post talks about all kinds of abuse and other really upsetting/triggering stuff]


John Piper on spousal abuse and submission This post is about a Baptist preacher/author's attempt to answer the question, "Should a wife submit to an abusive husband?" The fact that this even has to be asked makes me want to throw up a little bit (no, a lot). Spoiler alert: his answer is that she should. I mean, just a little. Even though it is a sin (allowing herself to be beaten, that is. In case you were assuming the humane and logical alternative, that abuse is generally the abuser's fault). I mean, if it isn't going to kill you, then NBD. You and the church can work it out later. You know, the church he is using to justify his ability to beat you. There is no way that could possibly go wrong.


Creepy Christian Patriarchy Movement Shackles Daughters to Their Fathers and Homes This post is about an extreme complimentarian movement that takes patriarchy so far that women essentially are property of the dad until the ownership is transferred to the husband. Because owning people. The Bible totally says that is OK too, right? [It should come as a surprise that some of the same guys pushing this women subordination thing are also slavery apologists? Seriously, it is SO BAD:  "It take the position that slavery in the South was not only Biblically justified but was a wonderful institution based on mutual love and respect. No, seriously."] Back to patriarchy though.
According to Christian Patriarchy...husbands and fathers [are] in a position of absolute power: If a woman disobeys her “master,” whether father or husband, she’s defying God. Thus, women in the Christian Patriarchy Movement aren't just stay-at-home mothers -- they’re stay-at-home daughters as well...The stay-at-home-daughters movement...encourages young girls and single women to forgo college and outside employment in favor of training as “keepers at home” until they marry. Young women pursuing their own ambitions and goals are viewed as selfish and antifamily; marriage is not a choice or one piece of a larger life plan, but the Stay-at-home daughters spend their days learning “advanced homemaking” skills, such as cooking and sewing, and other skills that at one time were a necessity -- knitting, crocheting, soap- and candle-making. A father is considered his daughter’s authority until he transfers control to her husband.
Your virginity is YOURS- Not your Daddy's And the slightly less extreme, but still pretty creepy version of this notion of women as property? This. (only slightly creepier than the True Love Waits thing we did at our church.)
The whole father/daughter purity ball phenomenon preserves the idea that the father has some sort of special say or authority over his daughter’s sexuality. it is true that in the Old Testament men were to safeguard their daughters’ virginity, but that was because their daughters were, quite literally, their property. The thing is, it’s not 1000 BC any more. It’s the twenty-first century, and today we recognize women as independent individuals who can make their own choices and decisions. Women are no longer property, and in that light, father/daughter purity covenants are just weird. Fathers do not own their daughters’ virginity.
Purity Balls: They're Barking Up the Wrong Tree In case you need some more reason why this is weird and wrong. Because it assumes the answer to girls looking for boys to validate their self worth is, a different boy validating their self worth. 
Why not teach girls to value their skills and abilities and dreams, rather than to equate their worth with their bodies or beauty? Why not teach girls that they are internally valuable, and that what males around them think of them is completely irrelevant to that?
Patriarchy, modesty and training up children: Who are the babies? In addition to the virginity obsession, is the modesty thing. I'm not trying to say there is anything wrong with modesty and virginity. I'm a huge fan of both. But the way churches obsess over them, make crazy rituals and rules around them, and try to justify that obsession/legislation. That. This article contrasts the way some parents "house-proof" a baby instead of baby-proofing a house (i.e., teach the kid not to climb on or play with things she shouldn't) but they later demand women "male-desire-proof" themselves instead of having guys just try to be decent human beings. Sort of like campaigns that teach girls how to not get raped instead of campaigns to teach guys not to rape.
To recap, in patriarchy:
Babies - should be taught self-control. To not act on what they see. If what they see (i.e. Mom’s glass vase) causes them problems, they should be taught to simply not act on their urges. Nothing should be hidden to protect them from stumbling. [ed note: this is in reference to a HORRIBLE, abuse-based parenting philosophy that has been associated with child murder but shocker is popular in Christian fundamentalist circles]
Adult men - should be protected from seeing things that makes them stumble. If what they see (i.e. the female shoulder or knee) cause them problems, it should be hidden from them. Nobody expects that their self-control has to protect them from stumbling.
There is something seriously wrong with a system where babies have to be punished if they don’t act right, and the world has to be adult-male proofed to not tempt them. In a sane world adults are punished for not acting right, and houses are baby-proofed.
The Gospel Coalition, sex and subordination And SURPRISE! When men are in charge of women and their sexuality things can get pretty ugly. "According to this post [by a complimentarian, evangelical leader who is also a huge RACIST; it is his slavery writings that are linked above], sex is just another avenue through which a man must exert his authority over woman. As with everything else, the man is the boss and the woman is the subordinate." GROSS. This is real life, you guys. oh, and by the way, check out this on the topic too: The men of the ‘Gospel Coalition’ really, really hate women (this is where I found out about the slavery connection).


Along the same lines as this "defrauding men of their right to rape you" craziness perpetuated by nut job conservative evangelical complimentarians, I found this "Can a husband rape his wife?" The post just goes on and on and on. AND ON. And eventually says this: "There are far too many women who use sex as a tool to get their own way with a husband. Sometimes this leads to rape, the husband believing he has the "right" to sex if he is married to a woman. Sometimes it leads to the husband committing adultery with another woman, believing "well, if I can't get it at home, I can get it somewhere else!" All of this is WRONG!" 


Well, at least he says rape is wrong! And adultery! I mean, there is that! Except, oh yeah, also, he says they are the woman's fault. I mean, Seriously, THAT is why men rape and commit adultery?!? Because, women. (not the twisted tenants of patriarchy, not jerk-faced husbands, women.) Those manipulative little women, causing all that rape and stuff! If they'd only just submit to their husband like good little girls, then none of us would be in this mess. ARGH.


I think we are going to be alright here because there's no way any of this could mess girls up. I mean, telling girls they have to do everything a guy wants them to do and never do anything to cause guys to do something bad? Totally harmless. Wait, no. Not at all.


So this is my problem with patriarchy. And truth be told, if my religion had a lot more to offer me and I felt really committed to it, then maybe this sort of thing wouldn't be a deal breaker. Maybe I'd work to change my religion from within (like Feminine Mormon Housewives). But eh. Not so much. There are plenty of other religions that don't offend me quite like this. I mean, there are, right?
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