Ladies,

  Listen up. I have a bone to pick. We are an under represented population. (Women who are also Atheists that is.) In school we are taught to be nice and lady-like. (I know this is a generalization, but just roll with me here...) In the church, which we have now left, we are taught to submit to our husbands and keep silent. Once an Atheist...NOW WHAT? How do we break free from the constraints that religion has placed upon us? How do we remain feminine, beautiful, and yet be strong and forthcoming about our beliefs and why we hold them? I'm hoping to create some discussion around what it means to be Atheist for us ladies.

Ladies, what have been your experiences having left a male dominated religion and venturing into a belief system which truly defines us as equals when it comes to all human rights?

Do any of you still struggle with aftermath of religious thinking about yourself or your role as a wife/mother, etc?

Men: Feel free to chip in with your insights as well. This isn't battle of the sexes so I don't want to hear anything about that. Your insights are valuable to the discussion. Thanks!

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Kairan, I absolutely agree with you that femininity is a strength in itself, and men are often jealous of it.  Forget "penis envy", there is a "creation envy". 

Yes, I think men can be jealous that they can't create life, and they can be jealous of the calm grounded strength that women can have.  Also - let's face it - a bunch of women can be terrifying.  It just has to be taken on the chin. 

I know, I'm a guy.  What do you think of this?  (reproduced from here.)  Surely men bear 50% of the responsibility for the general situation. 

Alpha females are:

- dashing
- beautiful
- dangerous
- charismatic
- earthy
- witty
- commanding
- brave
- scary
- just
- good
- compassionate
- understanding
- inclusive
- modest

Sometimes a woman can be sweet, shy and retiring, and still be an alpha female. She can still have all the qualities I listed.

This is all taken from women I know.  They all have the qualities you mention too, so those should be in there as well.  For some reason, I thought 12 would be a good number. 

Still, you did choose those twelve over their other qualities.

Kairan, I agree with your implication that my list is not an adequate description of an "alpha female".  This is probably because I just rattled it off without thinking.  Opinions are always going to vary, I should think, especially if some of them come from men.  

The terms "alpha female" is misleading too, since I'm using it in a different sense to the standard one.  Usually it means "top of the hierarchy", "the leader", "number one", "first".  To me, it just means "first class".  

A better term would be "real lady", which is what I always used before I read Midori Lei's article about the alpha male.  What she really means is "real man".  To me, Midori is an important thinker.  She's a conservative Christian, and I'm an anarchist atheist, but we can find common ground and learn from each other.  

I had a good think about all the women I know who I would consider to fall into this category, and tried to see what they have in common.  This is my best effort.  

"balls" + humility + a good heart + integrity = beauty

"balls" + humility + a good heart + integrity + experience = wisdom

Not everybody is born with above-average intelligence, and frankly I think it's over-rated as a quality.  It is completely distinct from wisdom, and "clever" people are often the stupidest in my experience. 

Therefore, subtracting line 2 from line 1, we have:

experience = wisdom - beauty

(experience is wisdom without beauty)

experience - wisdom = - beauty

(experience without wisdom is ugliness)

wisdom - experience = beauty

(wisdom without experience is beauty)

I don't think Alpha has to mean "leader" at all.  It just means someone who's strong and in control.  Those people tend to be naturally magnetic and people want to follow them, but they don't seek to be in charge.  I think they would welcome equal help from equals too, since they are happy about sharing the power (as in, effectiveness/realism/good humour/coping skills).  It's just that there tends to be a shortage of other people who step up. 

She sounds cool.  I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of her.  How about Calamity Jane?  I have a friend of this name (aka. The Iron Lady) and I share CJ's birthday. 

There's this too.  I tend to make a habit of these things. 

BBC Radio 4 has the programme Woman's Hour.  It's on Monday to Friday, I like to stay abreast of the issues.  (you've got to give me that.) 

'A woman's place'

Three words that instantly get my blood boiling. Grrrrr!

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