A close family member who happens to be a woman attended the recent Women’s March on Washington. Memories of [much] earlier days and accounts of her experience shape my spirit as I prepare this post.
While I haven’t checked, I’d guess that at least one or two IFB pastors waxed eloquently about the sinfully rebellious and unfeminine spirit any woman who would do such a thing.
SFL prints this account as Ashleigh Ferguson Baker in recognition of the many women who live under demeaning and/or abusive circumstances because they were born with the gender their father determined for them. It is truly shameful that such statements are necessary. But that said, it is imperative that we not forget or close our eyes to the hardship many women bear every day.
‘Let this be a reminder that there are currently, right now, 25 and 30 year old women in America who are being held hostage in their parents’ homes, not allowed to leave until they are married, at which point their fathers’ authority over them will be transferred to their new husbands.
There are currently, right now in America, sitting beside you in church pews, women who haven’t been allowed to get an education, lest they develop an “independent spirit.” They haven’t been given high school diplomas, let alone been allowed to step foot on a college campus. Because why would women need education anyway?
There are women being told that no, they don’t have feelings for that person. That they are easily deceived, don’t know their own thoughts, and thus, cannot be trusted to choose their own mate. If they do? They risk being cut off from their entire family.
There are women who are in their late 20s, having to sneak out of their parents’ homes in the dark of night, suitcase in hand, because their parents don’t trust them to have friends other than their siblings, monitor their phone and internet conversations, and won’t let them get a job.
There are young women who are teaching piano lessons in their home living rooms, then handing the money they’ve earned to their fathers each week, because as a wife they won’t have their own money so why learn to do so now?
There are women, right now in America, being told that showing their knees is nakedness, that bare shoulders are sinful, that their heads must be covered to show their submission to their fathers, husbands, brothers, and ultimately, to God.
There are women in America, smiling at you in the grocery store, whose husbands are beating them, cheating on them, belittling them… and then expecting their wives to meet them willingly in bed each night, without birth control, providing him with what he wants and her with another baby to nurse. And when cautiously, quietly asking church leaders for help? These women are told to pray more, because they will “win him back” with their gentle and quiet spirits.
There are women in America, right now, in your neighborhood, who are desperate. Many of them aren’t even sure what they’re desperate for, because their hearts and minds have been so wounded by emotional and spiritual abuse that they often believe what they’re experiencing is right and normal and holy and good.
But the women who do wake up? The ones who want out? Let me tell you how they manage to climb out of that darkness:
They encounter strong women who have gone before them, who will band together, march together, stand up stronger together in the face of opposition, and pull their sisters out.
For some of us, this isn’t even about systemic patriarchy. It’s about Patriarchy with a capital P, literal subscriptions to “Patriarch: the magazine” and articles published in “Ladies Against Feminism,” being told to our faces for our entire lives what we’re allowed to think in our own heads, hearing year after year that Patriarchy IS God’s great plan for humanity, experiencing extreme forms of actual, daily oppression for being a born a girl.
So before you hit repost on that declaration you don’t need a march because you’re not oppressed in America in 2017, claiming that spoiled American women are whining because what about women being oppressed in Afghanistan in the name of religion? Maybe take a look around you, in your own neighborhoods and churches, and realize that it’s happening right here, in America, right now. That what you see in front of you isn’t always what’s happening behind the scenes. Maybe realize some of those women holding signs and wearing pink hats know a thing or two about blatant injustice, celebrated in the name of religion.
And maybe some of those women know that the only reason they are still standing today is because of the women around them who linked arms and pulled them out and helped them learn, for the first time in their lives, to stand on their own two feet.’