Since all members of this group are atheists, and most of us are women, I just wanted to get a feel for what you all think is important about being a female atheist. Or perhaps, what is so important about being female and rejecting religion? I know personally, I have issues with the gender dichotomy which Christianity especially likes to push as the only acceptable way to be; I just feel like it hurts women more than it helps. I'd just like to get some outside views on this if you would all be gracious enough to oblige - and guys, your opinions matter too!

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I totally agree with Misty re: "Things that offend me about religion" and would like to add a few "Things that offend me about our patriarchal culture", which is intricately bound to the whole "God" concept:

Oh geeezzz, where to even start? There are so many things...Women are so absent in patriarchal religions that I grew up believing I didn't have a "soul" in the first place!
No soul for you!
Heh. I live knowing that when I die, my crazy ass step family will do a post-death baptism and marry me off to some Mormon soul.
Pity the poor bastard if they are right.
Being a woman didn't affect my deconversion at all, though I've heard plenty of things since then that have curled my hairs. (Mainly things uttered by Martin Luther and his ilk.) Actually, my gender has come into play much more as an atheist - everyone I run into tends to assume that I am male unless I take the time and say "Hey, I'm a woman here!"

Not only is the patriarchal model of religion sick, but it doesn't work. You cannot have a family member (the husband) spend most of his day at work and still be "the head of the household". It is the person who keeps the family in line - the mother - who is truly in charge. She will defer to the man where he does not approve of her decisions, but she is the one who will make those decisions in the first place. The man is a consultant who must be obeyed.

At least, that's the way it works in my area. I'm sure other areas/churches work a little differently.

As a career Navy sailor, I spent a lot of time away from home when our two daughters were in the toddler/elementary school age.  I learned early that trying to single-handedly change ANYTHING when I returned home would be unfair to the family, stupid on my part, and ultimately futile.  My lady instilled fairness, love, and intellegence in both our girls, and I couldn't be prouder of the way they turned out.  Me, make a unilateral declaration in my capacity as "head of the house"? Not on these deckplates, mate!

First off I would like to say hello to everyone as I am new here.

I've often wondered why more women don't reject Christianity and all the other mainstream religions. For anyone who has read the bible, it's blatantly obvious how sexist and downright offensive the teachings are. I don't know how those women rectify this fact. I guess like most other religious people, they probably pick and choose passages and simply ignore all the offensive stuff. I, as a woman and a critical thinker, could never believe in a "holy" book that was filled with violence and hate, even if 90% of it contained morally decent teachings. I would always question the other 10% and wonder why that was included in the first place. The fact that such horrible things are written in the bible tells me that sexist men wrote down their own laws and passed it off as holy.

Recently, while reading Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, I asked myself where all the women atheists are. The most famous atheists in the world seem to be men. I think that it's important for us women to speak up about our atheism just like we did for equality between the sexes.

We can start by blogging about it. There still seems to be way more men bloggers than there are women. Maybe a female atheist blogroll would be a good idea.
I'm new here as well, and have only in the past couple years come to shift my blame of women's hardships from religion to the unfortunate semi-permanent patriarchal social dominance as experienced by the human species. And I'm quite sad about this. Forgive me this long post :) I am proposing a theory here, not quoting any book.

I was born a questioner, a rebel, I rebelled against my parents, against my first teacher (a nun), I rebelled against gender roles, I rebelled against laws and rebelled against morality and I of course against religion, and against men in general (my dad, policemen, and school security)

There was no religion in my family, but my community was overall catholic. The entire educational system in Québec was catholic until 1991, my fight against religion in high school was notorious and everyone thought I was ridiculous for fighting it. But I never saw a single justification, ZERO EVIDENCE, to believe in that sort of crap (I've always been into science and math).

My frustration with patriarchy used to focus on judeo-christianity when I was a young adult, then to all abrahamic religions later, but world travels have convinced me that there is a causal agent greater than religion when it comes to sexism: MEN. Whether it be Japan, China, India, African countries, everywhere we look, there is sexism.

So in the past couple of years, I've shifted my stance, and developed my own theory about sexism and religion. I now feel that religions are mere control tools developed by WEAK MEN to control women. I feel those men with superior mental/physical attributes, assuming equal fem/male mental abilities, can dominate average women through the physical aspect (Misty and I's physical strength distinguish us from many women). I postulate that many thousands of years ago, the weaker men who did not have the mental/physical/prowess abilities to dominate women as the stronger males did developed a sense of envy.

IMO these are the men that developed religion as a social control mechanism, to garnish some of the power held by superior men and in this manner, gain access to the female reproductive system. Just as with satellite males in the world of amphibians and several other animals. Males who cannot get laid the honest way find a detoured way.

In this light, religion has been but a promoter of patriarchal powers, but not their originator.

However, in the modern context, nations who's populations have shed the religious illusions from their cultural landscape are the exact same countries with the strongest women's liberties. As a previous poster explained, many women live under the thumb of power, but once we step out, we do it in a big way.

So within a society whose majority have shed religion, sexism also is notably dropped. Unfortunately, from my years of living in various countries, atheist men in religious/sexist nations have not yet SIGNIFICANTLY dropped sexist attitudes. Society-at-large reduction in sexist attitudes can only follow a society-at-large drop in religion. As long as the 'nation' remains religious, atheist men are just as likely to be sexist as believers...

You make some great points in your thesis. I am new here too, so "hello" TAA and Celeste. I think you are correct about the social control aspect of religion, and particularly its use in the furtherance of patriarchal power and rigid reinforcement of gender and gender stereotypes. Another interesting observation is how most religions hold women responsible for the inability of some men to control themselves. If, for example, Taliban men were as strong in their belief as they profess, why must women be veiled or totally covered? Surely they could walk round without a stitch of clothing and be perfectly safe from unwanted attention if the males were as devout as they claim. It is a combination of mysogyny and control.

I have often wished that women, as the children's teachers at home and in schools, could have taught the opposite and broke the cycle. But, as with human nature in general, women, as regular humans, will generally tend to perpetrate a system of thought, even when the instigator of the system has disappeared. See video explanation:

5 Monkeys

I was raised Fundamentalist. 

In so doing, I was raised to believe the best woman I could be was the Proverbs 31 woman. Let's take a look at her, bearing in mind that the proverb is attributed to King Solomon, who had six wives, 800 concubines, and still managed to commit adultery. 

 

It starts off saying "Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies?" Then states that the only woman of virtue works her hands to the bone feeding and clothing her family and her servants, "with her own hands she planteth a vineyard", manages household money, and her "candle goeth not out by night". 

 

All the while, her husband "is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land". 

 

Well, who's really running that household while the man of the house is traipsing about the town square? And she's still expected to sex him up at night, and "riseth up while it is yet night" to do it all over again. 

 

I say, screw that. If I have to do all that work and _still_ not be considered worthy of being heard in matters of home _or_ church, I'll just be one of the worthless, non-virtuous women. 

I think the sexism is *one* of the things to hate about religion in general, but it isn't just the big 3, it goes further back than that, a lot (not all) ancient religions were pretty sexist too. . .

 

but i have to say that i realized i was an atheist when i realized that god doesn't exist not when i realized that the church is sexist. . .

Here's another example of religion being used to oppress women. This would almost bev funny if it weren't going to be enforced by the Saudi religious police.

"Saudi women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover even them up, if resolution is passed" http://t.co/Q3Ply2MT

Religion was created by people to make some sense of the world and the shortness of life. Soon it was also used to control people and make them resign themselves to their fate.Men figured out they could control and own women and children with religion.

Women are scary things to men because they can produce life, nurture and feed it, not to mention take more pain than most men have ever considered exists in this life. How terrifying that must be to them. Their own 30 second contribution must seem like nothing much to them in comparison. Women who allow others to control them through religion are losing out on being empowered, IMO.

That being said, I like to have someone control me at times. That's my choice. I chose someone I trust and respect and who (this is KEY) trusts and respects ME.

Though I was raised in a very restrictive religion. It didn't take me long to see the bull shit being done. If the religion wasn't fair for all and wasn't enforced evenly, I had problems with it.

When my parents split up, that allowed me to have more freedom of all kinds. I embraced that with joy and enjoyed learning about many things that had been shielded from me.

For a while I was not sure about religion and god but once my father was terminal, I became quite certain. Even so, I soothed him with his favorite songs and verses.

Later I even considered going through catechism in the episcopal for the legal benefit of my kids. Once my ex husband died (oh happy day!) I was no longer worried about court action of his cult vrs a "respectable" religion and was totally free again.

Over the years I've honed my freethinking. I've been in the closet about so many things. My diet which is veggie, my freethinking, my sexual orientation which is D/s and bi curious but now I can be more out in private at least. (Business might suffer.)

When my daughter came out as gay, that also allowed me to be a bit more free. Because what I wouldn't do for myself I will do for her. Mama Lion here! LOL

I think churches can serve as good meeting places and offer charity and good works in the community. However, I'm totally against any institution generally speaking. I think "missionary work" has negatively corrupted almost all of our known world.

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