The No Longer Quivering blog is some amazing writing, from women who escaped the Quiver-Full movement. Like other stories of escape from religious patriarchy, they resonate with the incredible strength and resilience of women who found the resources, sometimes with only themselves to rely on, to leave the abusive and cruel situations they were in, situations blessed by a patriarchal church (in this case, led and inspired by a man whose hatred of women shines with a leprous glow through all his "sermons"). I laughed, I cried, I burned with rage. I felt for them, and felt such happiness that they escaped.
All things can be twisted by evil people to serve their own ends, but religion seems especially vulnerable to misappropriation by haters. It's why I fear the Christian Right (even though they can no longer force me personally, to give birth, they still think women should not ever have body autonomy). They scare me more than the most anarchic Libertarians.
Religion seems to be the go-to choice for men who wish to abuse women. Both Christianity and Islam have been corrupted by men to become a sanctioned way to abuse and demean women, and force them to be both maidservant and sex slave. It gives them permission to push coerced reproduction on their wives, and in extreme cases, rape little girls (though, according to Roman Polanski, "everyone else fancies little girls, too", so what's the big deal?) (I just threw up a little writing that). It's not just cults that allow men take advantage of small children to satisfy their abnormal rape fantasies, either - look at the Catholic Church. Or The Fundamentalist LDS. Religion seems built to cater to rapists and abusers - as long as they're male.
It is men who overwhelmingly perpetrate these abuses, and yet religion sets up women as the scapegoat for all the world's evils. Women with vaginas (remember, in the religious world view, no other kind exists, and the reality of gender fluidity is absent) are sinkholes of sin and degradation. Hell, in the Quiver-Full movement, their leader thought that Catholics were evil incarnate for their "Mary-Worship". She was, after all, simply a container for the blessed seed, and no less filthy than any other woman, so worshipping her as something special was "peverted". That terrible, terrible, unclean vagina. We are here on earth to tempt men, a mere byproduct, a trash-can of sexual filth.
It boggles me, the hate. Is it because no matter what they do, no matter what they say, these men can't live without us? How inconvenient that we are beings with thoughts and opinions of our own, how annoying that we aren't simply robots that clean and fuck.
Most men would prefer that we be actual human beings, you know - able to be partners in life, to take the lead when it's needed, to support and be supported in turn. It's actually a horrible thing, to be always in charge. There's never a moment when you can say "ah, you make the decisions; I'm not up to this". Most men, being smart, thinking creatures themselves, realize they are not (and should not ever be) the center of the universe. Those who do not realize this seem to be drawn to woman-hating religions.
I have to believe that most men do not despise women. I have to believe this, or go crazy. I know that culturally, we are not where we should be (that whole "rape is not taken as seriously as robbery" thing) in our treatment of women, but I want to believe that most people think Mel Gibson is a woman-abusing tool, and Roman Polanski is a child raping asshole, and that feminism is simply the radical notion that women are people. It's traditional culture that believes men are animals unable to control themselves, so they have to project all their negative traits onto women. It's traditional culture that thinks of women and children as objects, not people. Feminists like me think that men are better than that, and are actually reasonable people who understand that 51% of the world's population might actually have something useful to say in making the world a better place.
But we people with our radical modern notions of personhood for all scare the fundamentalists. And it comes out in their teachings. And what what they say and what they mean are two very different things. They may say "God says men and women have defined roles", but what they're saying is "I hate women and think they are inferior beings who should be punished for being desireable".
Too bad the really gynophobic fundamentalists can't go gay. But silly rabbits, they've closed that avenue, too. No wonder they're so angry. The one thing they want is sex, and the one thing they fear is sex. It doesn't seem to stop them getting caught in compromising situations, much to everyone else's amusement.
I have to laugh, because if I don't, I start to cry. If only they could work out all their problems without hurting women.
Most feminists don't want to turn the tables and do to men what they've done to us (yes, you can find exceptions, but they're not mainstream). I know that's the perennial argument from the Men's Rights Advocates (MRAs), but that's because they are unable to think of anything other than what they'd do if they were in the position they have put women. But us? We're not so into the perpetuation of things as they are, even with a change of cast. A lot of us want a world where people - all people - are treated with respect.
I think that's the thing they're scared of most of all. Because if everyone is worthy of respect, how do they know who's special? And who wants to go to heaven if everyone is going to be there? After all, if heaven is for everyone, what's the point of denying yourself all worldly pleasures (or at least, trying to keep your indulgence secret)? What's the point?
What's the point, indeed.