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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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.

Reg -

"Any man afraid of empowering women is a weak man." 

That's pretty much it.  They don't realize that sharing power will make both sides stronger.  We all know the religions were created as patriarchies, and legitimized by "God".  Under these circumstances, it is somewhat understandable that people feel they have to adhere to tradition, so this ties people down and prevents them from changing.  I believe. 

Nice video.  I've downloaded it before it disappears again. 

They've got to take it on board.  It could only have come from an ex-Muslim.  She's right, but it's far from being the whole story, and other approaches are needed to follow through. 

This is interesting, Teri's comments about growing up believing intelligent women were "too intimidating" and kOrsan's about respect got me thinking. I actually remember a point not too long ago (maybe a few years) where I realized I was intimidated by intelligent women that I would otherwise be attracted to (not all intelligent women-- if I didn't find her attractive, it didn't even matter that she was a woman). Which was fairly surprising to me. It made me stop and think about a lot of things.

First, how in the HELL had I never stopped to think about this before?

Then, my confidence. My security in my own intelligence. I suspected that it might stem from insecurity. But simply addressing that provided the answer: I basically realized my intelligence wasn't being threatened at all. What's the worst that could happen, I learn something new and have to get used to humble responses of awe and gratitude, thereby bettering myself even further? How terrible!

Then I had to evaluate what I was attracted to. Being a 20-something male, that hadn't been a very short list of traits. Suddenly I'd discovered a new standard, and it shortened the list up noticeably.

I thought about how fulfilling the relationships that resulted from my previous mindset would have been. And found that the answer was "Not very." I realized that even relationships with the nicest girls in the world would always have an expiration date because a part of me valued something more.

Then, if I hadn't been intimidated by intelligent women who I hadn't found attractive, why should my being attracted to them make their intelligence intimidating? Physical attraction itself started to seem more and more... secondary. I thoroughly tested this at a number of college parties-- I suddenly had a second sight, and it would ruin random party girls for me forever (although this may have also been the result of a natural progression in my maturity).

So first, I now found the prospect of being with someone who could potentially challenge me and make me better not intimidating, but exciting.

And naturally, even without physical attraction being a factor, I realized that intelligent women were people I wanted to hang around. I had intelligent friends (some), more specifically atheist friends (a few), and most of them were men. I wondered why. It didn't make sense to me, so naturally I couldn't leave it alone. I decided to seek out and befriend atheist women. Kind of on principle.

I figured this shouldn't be difficult; after all, I had friends who were women, even if they weren't interested in things like atheism. Well, it proved to be a little more difficult than I'd thought. And I really felt it out. I started at the office, in group conversation. Three women in my office, three men. Of the men, one was "undecided" (I'd unexpectedly opened him up to atheism in that very conversation), one was Christian, and one was me. The women... all Christian. Over time I'd start leaning the conversation in everyday random interactions (trains, planes, friends of friends, facebook, parties etc). Dead ends, always.

I'm finding that in MOST cases it's a connection to tradition, albeit an invisible connection (which is to say, like their male counterparts, it's a brand they wear and they don't actually believe 2000 years ago a middle-eastern man walked on water and brought people back from the dead). So family can obviously be a factor. They find that what they're content with is "right" and so questioning it is wrong. There's just a whole lot of confusion to break down. And of course insecurity, defensiveness, "the walls"-- it can be difficult to really connect with someone, to say "Hey, I don't have my walls up. I'm not going to hurt you. You don't need yours up either," when you're questioning everything they've been taught. Basically, I've found that you can't poke and prod at it too intrusively or aggressively... which, makes sense I guess. You gotta find the parts that resonate with them the most and work those (I swear I'm not doing that on purpose).

As to finding atheist women (or men), I've recently started focusing on reoccurring themes in demographics. So, like right now, after deciding that the geekier the individual, the more likely they are to be atheist, I've been talking to geeky women. And I'm finding this has produced favorable results. So... look to geeky people?

(I'm very tired, none of this sounds right, I hope it makes some sense)

 So, like right now, after deciding that the geekier the individual, the more likely they are to be atheist, I've been talking to geeky women. And I'm finding this has produced favorable results. So... look to geeky people?

I'm pretty geeky so that's another one for your theory. I've really battled to find atheist female friends, and now that I think about it there are next to no geeky girls around here (none that I've met anyway). This is most likely why I am the only atheist in my friendship group, another reason why I don't fit in with said friendship group.

I'm also a geeky girl and I have a lot of geeky girl friends through an online video game and we are all atheists.  There are at least 4 of us. 

What video game is this? I think I need to get into that.

It is DC Universe Online. We play on the US PC server. You should definitely check it out if you like those types of games. They also have it for the PS3 and it is free to play. (Can make your own character and play as a hero or villain...lots of fun. If you do let Black Dawn know ;-) )

LOL ummm I think one was but she just started dating someone.  Sorry man.

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