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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Personally (I'm a guy just so you know) I'd just be apathetic to all Christian "Morality" and "Societal Norms". My only advice would be: do whatever you want to do and anyone with the amazing genocidal book doesn't get a word in edgewise. Live as you dance; like no one's watching.

It's nice to see that atheism does so much good for people. Christianity says that their belief is like taking off the shackles and celebrating, whereas it's more the other way around.

Again, good for you to have the courage to change your life around!

Why does "[remaining] feminine, beautiful" have to be in conflict with being "strong and forthcoming" about what we don't believe in?  That's an old way of thinking that needs to expire.  And if they still must be in conflict, why would that model of femininity be worth holding onto? I'm more interested in being perceived as an equal human who speaks her mind than a atheist who cultivates an antiquated version of demure femininity.  

As for your other questions...I ventured into a belief system encompassing gender equality before I embraced atheism. As a newby atheist with that background, I have been disappointed by the lack of understanding of women's issues and gender-based societal inequality within the atheist community. I hope that improves before more people are alienated.  The process of rejecting traditional theism (first for Gaia-ism, then Deism, then Panentheistic Deism, then Agnosticism while considering the likelihood that all forms of deism are a construct) was personally liberating in light of the psychological effect accepting male supremacy on a spiritual level takes on a non-male person.

I have not totally rid myself of the social and religious thinking which limits women to the wife/mother role, or at the very least espouses that this should be a woman's primary role/identity. I sometimes feel guilty about my decision not to reproduce. But then logic prevails and I remember that I have made the correct choice.

On a side note...I had to edit this six times. Typing on an android tablet is hell.  Flying Spaghetti Monster Hell.

Why does "[remaining] feminine, beautiful" have to be in conflict with being "strong and forthcoming"

You SO just said it right there....that's basically my point. I have for SO long been "submissive" and "meek" and "soft-spoken" and "compassionate" and "reverent" and "gentle" and "quiet spirited"...not that I'm a weak little thing. Incase you didn't notice...lol. But I guess I'm referring more to when I'm told to do something by a man, my husband for example, I've rarely said no and this I have reasoned down to the teaching of the church that a woman is to conform to this image. The image in the book of Proverbs, chapter 31. It describes a woman who is strong, she is an entreprenuer, a wife, a mother, a homemaker...she is everything to her family. This is the woman I've tried my damndest to become only to be trampled on. So now there's got to be a better way. A freer way. That's what us ladies need to explore with each other and hold on to. That's why I started this discussion. Thanks for keeping it rolling...

I grew up trying to achieve the persona you describe in the first three lines, so I can really empathize. I think the ideal you were taught to aim for is impossible. Nobody can be everybody for a person...unless that person is very sick. Also, how can you be for yourself when you are everything for others?

I'm very glad to hear you've separated from your ex-husband and that you're re-evaluating the best way to be. It is a journey!

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.

That's a pretty nice list Simon. I dig it!!! Is that in any particular order? lol....just teasing ;)

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. 

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