IFBs and Spoiled American Women

Women's March on Washington

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.’

Blonde Jokes and Fundy Wife Humor

Blonde Woman

A blonde called out and asked her husband to help her with a very difficult jigsaw puzzle that she could not figure out how to get started. Her husband asked, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”

She replied, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a tiger.”

He went into the kitchen and saw the puzzle spread all over the table. He studied the pieces for a moment, then looked at the box, turned to her, and said, “No matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger. Now, let’s put all these Frosted Flakes back in the box.”

Ministry 127 shows us that for all times change, dumb blonde/wife jokes are still appropriate ways to teach women their place in fundie society.

Despicable Acts and Moral Rectitude:
Friday Challenge

I didn’t do it. I’m not proud that I didn’t. I’m wishing I did do it. I’d be a better man for it.

It Happened Yesterday

Woman in Hajib
Woman in hajib

Two men were before me. One was 70ish and tall [six foot, three/four inches], and solidly built. I followed them into the store. Two Mid Eastern women in hajibs were leaving. They were about nineteen, give or take a year. Two at the most.

The tall guy twists toward his buddy and says something. Just as the girls passed, his torso pivots back again. Roughly half on, he plows her face and chest. Hard. BangShe is lithe and about half his size. She staggers back several steps before catching her balance. Steadying herself, she looks his way.

I watch a moment for a profuse apology. She is doing the same I’m guessing. To the astonishment of us both, it doesn’t happen.

He wasn’t looking in her direction as he spoke to his buddy. He may not have realized her proximity. However he could not fail to feel that contact.

Without afterthought, he continues on his way. Her face register shock. I had a similar look, but not for long. Quickly I felt revulsion, then anger.

What the %(^*~&}@! is This?

This wasn’t about being an ignorant jerk [true as those observations are]. Here was a man presuming that he could assault a woman with impunity. Hey! She is a Mid-Easterner! But worse, I vindicated his vile presumption.

Just as it dawned on me what dynamics lay behind his vile behavior, her eyes broke contact with mine. She and her friend left. With this girl and her friend out of the picture, there was no point in decking this guy. But I’d be lying to say I wasn’t tempted sorely to do it.

I was supposed to be the guy in the photo. Instead, I was the silent bastard who let Mr. Rose Blossom saunter off without proper chastisement. Thoroughly disgusted with my despicable behavior, I spent a good part of yesterday considering the meaning of moral rectitude.

Sins of Omission

It is curious what does and doesn’t disgust us. People feel guilt for many things. Some get bent out of shape if they forget to pray over a meal. Yet they can be oblivious to truly injurious things such as assaulting a foreign woman in broad daylight. Why? She’s a woman; she’s a Mid Easterner. So that can be passed off easily as an accident followed by utter heedlessness.

It is one thing to feel guilt for failing our commitments to pray, complete assignments or attend a meeting. But how does one measure that against the moral failure to experience guilt for not defending a young woman? One thing–should I see this again, I’ll react more quickly next time.

Today’s Friday Challenge:

This isn’t a call for confessions. But if you’ve observed that curious value/perspective thing on things that “do but needn’t” versus “don’t but should” get us ‘bent out of shape,’ share them. Perhaps you’ll help us all.

How is it that we lament little things but then give a free pass to grievous matters where moral rectitude requires some measure of accountability?