Thursday, August 16, 2007

On Biblical Models of Equality

I guess I should stop having expectations when it comes to fundies. They raise the bar in flimsy explanations every time I talk to them.

This problem really only gets worse when you apply the fundie equation to tweenies over the internetz, so I probably shouldn't be surprised about the state of this thread on The-N. I knew things weren't going to go well when the original poster equated a man not smacking women around to submitting to them.

A direct quote, just in case it's too incredulous to be believed (and you people are too lazy to follow the link):

Likewise a man restricting his self from hitting a woman he is being submissive to her, not because he’s weaker but the fact he knows he’s much stronger than her.
Great. It's so fabulous to know that a man is submitting to me when he decides not to beat the shit out of me. Silly me, I thought he was just, oh I don't know, respecting the fact that I'm a person with rights.

The poor guy also subscribes to the notion that a woman saying she wants more rights is a woman saying that she's better than everyone else and and that she should have rights over men. Of course. It's kind of like reverse psychology, right? Or a classic case of projection? Maybe "I'm rubber you're glue"?

I've just noticed that when people bring up the question of whether or not The Bible is sexist, EVERYBODY starts wringing their hands right and left.

"No. The times were sexist! It means nothing that a hell of a lot of the sexist tripe that went on was created and/or condoned by the Old Testament!"
"No! It was just mens' interpretation of what God said!"
"No! God didn't REALLY mean it when He told women to submit!"
"No! When Paul said 'Women be silent in church' he was actually talking about some group of uppity bitches who thought they could handle the church better, which is why he went for a bit of hyperbole by telling women in general to be silent and acting like a sexist prick!" (One of my favorites, by the way, especially when it can't be backed by scripture by the person arguing it)
"No! If Jesus had had women disciples, well, he wouldn't have been taken seriously! Never mind the fact that he was tortured to death with common thieves!"
"What? God is TOTALLY a dude and it's TOTALLY not sexist because guys can just relate to a fatherly influence better!"
"When God told women to submit and men only to love their wives, well, God actually meant to tell them to submit! Love, submission, same thing, right?" (This is the argument the original poster in the thread on The-N is going for. Oh it's great fun.)

I have been told all of these when talking about this subject. I've gotten a different excuse from every person I've talked to.

Not only that, but now we've gotten into talking about the Biblical (in a fundie's view) model of marriage. Oh. My. Goodness. this is exactly why I never want to get married. These people think GAY PEOPLE ruin marriage for others? Phew.

These girls that are going to these churches and learning that it's great for a man to "lead" them have my pity. It really breaks my heart that girls are being told these things. One girl in this thread told about her lesson on relationships in her bible class. She said that men were supposed to lead in 5 ways, and then she outlined them all. Here's part of her post:

Righteousness - he must set a good example. He must strive for keeping his own purity as well as his wife's. [In the words of my teacher, "DON'T BE AN OCTOPUS!" meaning don't be all grabby and pervy, touching her lady parts all the time.] This one definitely applies before marriage. Another quote from my teacher "To all you gentlemen, imagine it's your wedding day. It's beautiful and pefect. Then, your bride walks into the chapel, wearing a beautiful, flowing, scarlet gown." That's not what you want, is it guys? She should wear white! [White = pure]
A woman wearing red instead of white to show you how her hymen is still intact? BOOOOOO! *throws popcorn* Terrible! Dicks will be limp everywhere! The earth will shake and God himself will smite thee, lustful hussy! Thinkin' you can wear the color you want to on your wedding day, or worse, thinkin' you can do what you want to instead of what Daddy or Hubby wants.

But keep in mind, Male ownership of women's bodies is TOTALLY not sexist. It's great!

Another gem:

Before marriage, a girl should be submissive to her father, not her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend hasn't bought the merchandise yet, so hands off! That pussy belongs to Dad!

Look at it this way... if a husband leads a wife in the 5 ways he should, then wouldn't it be easy for a wife to submit to him?
Not if she has a mind of her own and wants to use it.

She wouldn't be following him into sin at any point if she was submitting to his leadership in righteousness. She would not be acting as a slave to him if he was treating her with selflessness.
First of all, the very fact that all of this fairy tale hinges on very big ifs in the first place is unnerving to me. I love the assumption that men will be perfect leaders. Or if that's not the assumption, it's assumed that women should shut up and handle it. It seems to me that in most cases, the assumption is that women should take their second class treatment with a smile.

Secondly, these people don't seem to realize that those who value gender equality have a problem with the fact that women are told to follow JUST FOR BEING WOMEN. There is no part of that that is conducive to gender equality and/or freedom. There is no part of that which is equal.

At the end of the class, my teacher asked all the girls who would submit to a husband like the one described above to raise their hands. Not one girl had her hand down.
It really upsets me if this is true. These girls are being told fairy tales, and then they promise to stick to the fairy tale even when it's not a fairy tale any more, and they're held to those promises despite any consequences. These girls are sold to the highest bidder while being told lies about how great it is to submit and have no power. It's absolutely shameful.

I just don't understand why people think this is equality. It's OBVIOUSLY not. If someone has power over you, how can you be treated equally to them? These people are not living in reality, and they're handing that fantasy land to their daughters and then throwing them out in to the deep end of real life. It's terrible.

Mostly, that post on The-N just got me to thinking about how distorted some Christian views on equality and sexism really are. It seems like they'll go to any lengths to justify some of the things that are in the Bible and how they interpret those things. They'll even denounce the divinity of the text while I the same breath saying that it's God's word for women to submit! It's all just a cycle of women being oppressed. Welcome to Patriarchy, people. I KNEW there was a reason why I called the Bible the Patriarchy Manual.

1 comment:

FEMily! said...

If people weren't still using Judeo-Christian scripture as an excuse to put women down, I wouldn't call it a problem. People who shrug off the sexism in the Bible and other religious texts as "that was then, this is now" are completely ignorant to the way women are treated in most of the world.