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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 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?

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.

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.

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!

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