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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Thanks for the response!!! It is an interesting topic, and it proves my point exactly. I notice there aren't as many women compared to men on the main forum either...is it that we're shy to speak our minds? What do you think?

Thanks for sharing... I too am super feminine...I wasn't raised in a Latin family but I do speak Spanish and I identify very strongly with their culture. I am Hispanic biologically, but was raised in a German/Swiss/Irish family...(adopted) My family is not religious. I became religious over the course of many years/experiences and lived it...I believed it with all my heart and I was/always have been the "black sheep" of the family, first for my rebellion in earlier days, then after my "conversion" I still have yet to redeem myself for many choices I made earlier in life. So my experience as an Atheist now is very short. (only the last couple of months...) I cannot pinpoint the day I became and Atheist but it's happened rapidly. I only know of one other woman in "real life" who is an Atheist...Otherwise I'm surrounded by Theists. So now I'm trying to fit in to my world. I think I too will tend to still talk about God with those who believe in Him and not raise a fuss about it. I'm not bold enough to oppose anyone yet. Nor do I think I should have to be. Maybe that will change with time, but I'm not out to deconvert anyone. I do however not believe is standing aside and watching harmful things happen as a result of someone's crazy religious ideas. But again...opposing such things while trying not to come across as a total bitch is a delicate balance...I think.

 I can't shake the sense that it's not a fair fight -- like taking on my religious friends or family would be like blowing out the candles on a little kid's birthday cake.

Hahaha I feel the same! I recently got into a debate with one of my friends boyfriends on evolution. I walked all over him. His best rebuttal was 'evolutionists still can't agree because some say we come from the ocean and some say we come from monkeys'... facepalm. It got so bad that my friend stepped in an posted a link to some woo essay claiming why evolution isn't true, which I then debunked as well. 

It isn't fair if they don't know what they are talking about, which most of them don't.

I normally don't take them on because of a number of reasons. One being that I don't think they could function without their belief because they would have no one to hand their responsibilities and problems off to. Another being that I don't want to loose my friends over a religious debate (which is quite possible). The last being that I generally try to avoid confrontation which is something I've learnt from my family, most of the time it's just not worth it.

Another being that I don't want to loose my friends over a religious debate (which is quite possible). The last being that I generally try to avoid confrontation which is something I've learnt from my family, most of the time it's just not worth it.

Same thing happened to me recently. Needless to say I could no longer care less if that friend were hit by a car. That idiot. And yes the conversation, more often than not, is not worth having. Not with people like that who have been indoctrinated. You're essentially trying to teach a zebra not to have stripes. I understand that none of us want to be alone, but at some point we have to pay the price for our common sense and intelligence. Sometimes that price is losing a friend, sometimes it's complete loneliness. But in the end we have to prioritize. I'd rather be alone than have a such dumbfucks be my friends. I don't want such people around me where I always have to pussyfoot around things that I know are false. I value my integrity more than their friendship.

I see where you're coming from, and if I could I would discuss religion till my ears bleed. Unfortunately with my friends if I loose one of them, I loose them all. They are those kinds of people. They recently rejected and ultimately kicked out a girl from our group because she was causing too much drama (granted, she had a lot of issues and caused trouble, but it was harsh and petty). My friends are great people, they can be at your side when you need them, but start an issue and they all turn their backs. I know that if I start discussing religion that they will all perceive it as an attack and possibly try to avoid me. So avoiding the topic is best for me and them.

I have been alone before. I have isolated myself and lived that way for 3 years. I never want to do that again. I know I'm a loner but everyone needs some kind of friendship company, family and partners just don't fill that gap.

Sorry just saw this post now.

So your not Anti-Social, your Anti-Stupid?

I don't think it has to be mutually exclusive.

I was raised atheist so I can't really comment on leftovers from having been a Christian, but I can tell you that a guy I was dating complained that I wasn't feminine enough.  It didn't bode well for that relationship, I'm afraid.  He tried to get me to wear dresses and grow my hair long, even though my hair doesn't look particularly good long.  I found myself going along with it and almost believing that what he though was happening was true - that I didn't think enough of myself to try to be "pretty."

Boy was he upset when I broke up with him.  All of the sudden his tune changed.  I was more than feminine for him in the ways that were apparently most important to him.  But to heck with him!  I am who I am.  Love me, love my Doc Martens.  I am happiest when I've been hiking and I've got mud on my legs, and maybe some good scratches from picking blackberries.

I can say that even though I wasn't raised as a Christian, it's misogynistic nature is pervasive enough that even I got the message that, because I am female, I am somehow bad.  I could never be as good as the Virgin Mary, and somehow I needed a (male) deity to forgive me so I wouldn't suffer eternally.  Hmmm... W. T. F?  

When I was exploring different belief systems, I became drawn towards belief systems that honored the feminine also.  In the end, though, I don't care about any of them personally.  I don't want to worship any god, male or female.

There is one aspect of Christianity that is surprisingly intriguing for me.  While listening to gospel radio recently, I heard a lot of talk about marriage, relationships, and roles.  It made me think about how I have conducted myself in romantic relationships.  I could have used some of that information growing up.  A lot of it I would have not wanted, but there is some good in the mix too.  

That is a very difficult question to answer, apparently.  I could have used a lot more information about a lot of things, not just relationships.  As I listened to gospel radio, I found myself feeling envious of folks whose parents, although I didn't agree with some of the actual messages they were given, at least provided guidelines for how to relate to others in a more functional way.  

As I thought about this, I realized what I really wanted was to not have been raised by a mother with a severe mental illness who pretty much left me to fend for myself in most ways.  It would have been good to have better known my worth.  It seems that the messages that might have come from stable but religious parents might have been at least slightly better.  Yes, I would have had ridiculous and damaging information thrown into the mix, but I might not have had to learn so many things the hard way.

I certainly agree that atheist women are an under represented population. I'm not quite sure why that is though. Perhaps it's to do with the whole 'stupid women are sexy' thing. Ugh, it grates me to my core.

I was brought up in a home where my mother was very headstrong and both my mother and father taught me that intelligence and the ability to question things is important, regardless of what sex you are. I never quite fit in as a girl when I was young and the boys never liked me because I was an ugly duckling. I still don't fit in with most girls, including my friendship group, as I prefer to go without make-up and wear what I feel comfortable in, rather than what I look best in. I occasionally like to be pretty and dress up, wear make-up, and put on nice summer dresses. This is for my own benefit to feel good about myself. 

I am most certainly the only atheist in my massive friendship group of girls (and guys), so I tend not to discuss the topic (although I would love to). But when it comes to things outside of religion, my friends don't understand my perspective at all.

I was never a part of religion and always hated the way they treated women. I strive to rely on my own thinking rather than follow others and will most likely continue to do this for the rest of my life.

What are your experiences Belle?

Hey Teri, thanks for the response. I'm pretty new to Atheism. I haven't told my friends/family at this point. I can really identify with what you said about:

I am most certainly the only atheist in my massive friendship group of girls (and guys), so I tend not to discuss the topic (although I would love to)

I has stayed in an abusive marriage because I had previously believed it was my own consequence to be dealt with for marrying an "unbeliever." The Bible leaves little room to exit and the teaching of the Christian faith was all around redemption and trying to "look at yourself first..." I spend a long time looking at myself to the point of extremely low self-esteem, self worth and depression. I have now left my abusive husband and am re-building anew. It is a long hard road, but I feel freedom for the first time EVER, not only in my mind becoming an Atheist, but also in my outlook on life. If I had held on the the religious perspective that I was his "helper" I'd still be helping him hurt me. I took my power back. And now I'm on fire!

If I had held on the the religious perspective that I was his "helper" I'd still be helping him hurt me.

That's an interesting way of putting it, very accurate.

You have an amazing story, and good for you! A lot of people don't manage to get out of the vicious circle of abuse. Was your deconversion a part of your leaving your husband? I must say that the feeling of freedom is incredible and empowering to help yourself take control of your own life.

Was your deconversion a part of your leaving your husband?

ABSOLUTELY!!! You know I had spent the last year praying between two verses, one in the book of Matthew and the other in Ephesians...basically the idea of do I "submit" to him and lead a quite and reverent life?... or do I basically, "cast him out as an unbeliever"...(and leave him...) I was getting NOWHERE!!! and why is that? Because I was praying to the wall and not doing anything to fix my own life. I started looking for answers outside the Bible. It started with going to a "secular" domestic violence program. It opened my eyes to what was really happening and I learned a lot in a very short time. Then once I realized what was going on and how it was going to affect my child if I stayed in my marriage I began reaching out/crying out for help everywhere I could...Long story short...I became an Atheist in the process....It's been quite a journey.  I guess this is why I posed the question to the crowd. I'm wondering if other women have had similar experiences and been "held down" by religion. I know I sure was. Now I'm free!

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