Ask Iris: Why do women follow misogynist religions?

A Facebook friend posted this picture and comment:

jeezustruckIMAGE: tailgate of a pickup truck on which are hand-painted multiple crosses, a Jeezus fish and these words:

1 COR. 13:34
WOMEN SHALL BE SILENT
AND SUBMISSIVE
READ YOUR BIBLE

My friend snarked: “The Bible Belt has the worst figures in the country for abuse of women….I wonder why that is?”

I snarked back: “Truly a mystery.”

He responded: “The mystery to me Iris is why women follow such a misogynistic book aimed at demeaning them as second class citizens at best!”

Here is what I think explains that mystery.

A: Usually they have no idea what’s in their shitty book. And like every other religious person, they believe that they personally have a line on what god is really like. (A lot like themselves, as it turns out. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.) Also women are and probably always have been the front line shock troops for patriarchy enforcement. It’s not irrational: they get something out of it, e.g. a means to have control over and feel superior to other women, physical and social protection, and various rewards from men with power.

Moreover, in traditional/religious families and communities, the church (or mosque or temple) often functions as the only socially sanctioned domain of activity outside of the home for girls and women. So of course they attend, volunteer, give their time and energy to the institution, and, as human beings are prone to doing, they inevitably bring purpose and meaning to activities in which they’ve invested so heavily and by which they derive their primary—or only—source of approval and support.

That is a very difficult thing for anyone to walk away from.

Add in all the indoctrination about sin and hell, and the lack of exposure to people with other (reality-based) points of view, and it actually seems downright miraculous that women ever leave. But indeed some do. And some of them go on to blaze a trail for others to follow. Vyckie Garrison and Libby Anne come readily to mind but there are many others—and they are having a positive effect. Pew reports:

“the religiously unaffiliated are growing among women at about the same rate as among men. Nearly one-in-five women (19%) now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, up from 13% in 2007.”

To which I say, rock the fuck on, ladies. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that d00d with the truck is single, so please try not to fight amongst yourselves or fall all over each other in a stampede trying to hook up with him.

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