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!
Have you looked under rocks? That's where I usually hang.
"And even when I, by some miracle, find what I think is a smart girl and say to myself 'hmm she's actually pretty smart,' she suddenly whips out her big hammer of idiocy and slams me with something like 'so what's your sign? :)'"
Oh man, I had a good friend of mine do that a few months ago. Super intelligent woman, driven, artistic, practical, and don't get me started on the elegance of her curves, but back on DEC 21, she pulls out some new-age-shift-in-consciousness-positive-tought-spirit-energy-ley-line-alignment bullshit that just astounded me. And she whole heartedly believed it all, too. We got in an argument because I thought she was falling into it. Turns out her mother is an uber hippy and she was raised with it. The kicker is that she's an atheist who thinks religion is a load of unicorn manure, but then she believes in spiritual energy, astrology, and how thinking positive thoughts can actually change reality. I was so disappointed. I had no more interest in her after that point. She's still cool, but man, I was done with that.
I have met so many women like that, I can't name one girl I am close with that isn't family because of this. I think these women are as frustrating as fundamentalists because both center on fear and apathy.
We fix this by holding out for the right significant other and making smart babies. I never understand how some atheists marry deists.
Advertisements and sitcoms need to change. Schools need offer more than just a base history of the struggle for rights.
We can list lots of things that need to change but I still don't know how to make that happen. Much of the brainwashing is done subtly and constantly.
It's posting day today.
I'd like to preface my statements by saying that what I'm about to say should be in no way interpreted as an attack on women. What I am going to say however may not be comfortable for women to hear.
It is my observation that the real power which oppresses women (certainly in the more civilized corners of the world) is not male power. Rather it is female power. It is the fear of how your female friends and relations will react to your behavior that keeps you "in line".
No women I know (literally not one) is so submissive as to meekly bow their head and do whatever their husband or boyfriend tells them to. Every woman I know has an independent mind and can think and act for herself and if it was suggested to her by her male relations that she should shut up and do what her husband / boyfriend / father said every woman I know would tell the to F*&K off in no uncertain terms.
The same is not the case however when a woman asserts power over another woman. Here it seems to be that there has been no women liberation. Almost every woman I know spends a good deal of time and energy worrying what other women think and in particular what other women think of them. Frankly I see women being really horrible to each other all the time.
I'd like to know if you agree with this
No women I know (literally not one) is so submissive as to meekly bow their head and do whatever their husband or boyfriend tells them to.
First of all, thanks for contributing to the discussion John. I like what you had to say. I do want to comment on the above statement though...I'm going to share something about myself only...I do not want to give the impression that this is encompasses all women but it is true for me...
I was in love with a man for many years. I was young dumb and stupid...I did everything he told me to do without question hesitation objection or complaining...I thought that by being exactly what he wanted and doing what he wanted that this would grow his love for me. It obviously didn't and I have since learned my lesson. The point I'm making is that it's possible to be a strong person (I would say in general I'm pretty strong) but still fall into this trap as a woman. I had no one to tell me any different at the time and I thought this was how it's done. I didn't know I had the choice. For a woman to speak her mind she needs to be empowered to do so. Whether or not that stems from pressure from other women, I personally do not believe that, I think it stems from the need to be loved and accepted. At least in my own case.
The main reason that women have not had and in many countries still do not have equality with men is almost completely the fault of religion. With almost all religious leaders being males and having the power to dictate to the masses I would suggest that until at least circa the 1950’s most women were not empowered to exercise control over their own lives.
How some women react to each other in certain circumstances has nothing to do with the centuries of submission inflicted upon them by men. Some men may not know any submissive women but I am sure such men are living in parts of the world where women have fought for and won equality for themselves and not in the remaining 75% of the world where they have not. I am sure the 14 year old girl whipped to death on the orders of her local Mullah last week for allowing herself to be raped knew little of women’s liberation for it certainly never happened there.
We are more than 50% to blame. In some societies males are 100% the blame for it. The religious leaders are always weak men. Any man afraid of empowering women is a weak man. The sooner the stranglehold of religion is broken the better.
That was a very courageous woman, in your link. Thanks for sharing.
WOW Reg....NOW THAT Is AMAZING...I want to be just like her :) She is strong, assertive and yet so beautiful :)
Wow. This woman is a Hitchensian hero. So many good points, so well-put. Very bold. The transcript of this should be some kind of creed or anthem. This is what leadership should look like.
"This is what leadership should look like."
I'd say that this is what courage looks like.