formerFeminist

it's no secret that my grandmother, who raised me for the most part, does not approve of my lifestyle. what little she cares to know of it. she raised me in the church and i left it for my own personal reasons. not as a rebellion, not because of an outside influence. because it didn't work for me. that has caused quite a bit of friction between us.

( and for the record, i am not completely anti-religion. organized religion simply does not work for me. and the standard christian story just doesn't jive in my head. HOWEVER. that being said.. i fully accept that most people need something spiritual to believe in. whether i understand the need or not, is beside the point. i accept that this is the state of our culture. i have some thoughts on how and why this came to be, but those are for another discussion. )

most of who and what i am offends her in some way. my lack of faith in her god. my parental status coupled with my marital status. my intention not to be legally married again. my relationship with my ex and his wife and the big blended pile of kids. my tattoos. okay, you get the picture. pretty much everything about me goes against what she wants me to be.

so.. in those rare moments that she feels the need to communicate with me, she will send emails. usually something forwarded that contains some gifs of jesus or sparkly fairies or whathaveyou. this was the first one i've gotten after a major falling out she and i had not long after i moved to california. just a link to an article and a note about how she hopes i'll read it and know that it was sent with love etc.

the article.

being a feminist has led me away from faith.

here's the thing tho. i've never labeled myself as a feminist. so, really, i can't figure why she sent this particular article. but, her motives and what she's trying to say to me aren't really what i want to talk about here. i want to talk about a couple of the ideas that are presented here.

..the anti-religious bias on college campuses.

when you're raised in the church as heavily as this woman was, you really aren't exposed to a lot of people who aren't just like you. i was raised the same way. all of my friends went to the same church. and we weren't really allowed to hang out with the kids that didn't. it's not that college campuses have any more anti-religious bias than the rest of the real world, it's just that you haven't been exposed to it before.

when you grow up sheltered from anything, that thing seems so much bigger when you are finally exposed to it. kindof like the mall of america. i lived in minneapolis for several years and went there on a regular basis ( it happened to be the closest mall to where i lived ). i remember thinking "whoa.. frickin HUGE!" the first time i went. after a couple of years tho, it made me laugh to see tourists in there saying the same thing. by that point, it was just another mall to me. same with accents. try growing up in texas thinking you are speaking plain english, then move to minnesota and ask someone where to find the ice. they'll look at you like you're crazy and say 'huh?' about 9 times before you give up and spell the word for them. i know this from experience. it's a matter of exposure and conditioning.

..supposed to be unconcerned with commitment.

since when does being a feminist mean you don't care about commitment? society has come up with a skewed definition of "feminist" that is based on a few radicals and not on the whole group. random sex is not a core idea of feminism. the idea is that it's just as okay for women to do as it is for men. some of the old expectations of what it means to be a woman are still floating around. personally, i think a lot of those ideas are highly unfair and leave many women trapped in lives that do not truly fulfill them as human beings.

the line in the article is this : But as an avowed feminist, she couldn't understand the emotional pain she suffered when the relationships ended. it is stupid to assume that being a feminist means you have to be a heartless bitch. that is far from the truth. it's about knowing that women are capable of the same things men are. and about knowing that it's okay for women to do those things. that we do not have to live up to old stereotypes. as women, we are just as free to make choices for ourselves as men are. we do not have to stay home with the kids while our husbands goto work to support us. hell, we don't have to get married or have kids. and if we want kids, we don't have to be married to do it. but falling in love and choosing to get married, or to have children, does not make us any less of a feminist. we just don't have to let anyone else's ideas and expectations dictate who we are.

..filled with self-recrimination about her abortion.

okay. i suppose i qualify as a feminist, whether i've labeled myself that way or not. and i have never had an abortion. i considered it once, but it wasn't something i could bring myself to do. that being said.. i am not anti-abortion. like everything else in the world, there is a time and a place where it is the best option. sometimes the only option. i know women who have had abortions. each for different reasons and different circumstances. while i cannot understand how they felt in their situations, i do understand that they each did what they felt was best for themselves at the time. i do not, and cannot, judge nor fault them for that.

abortion is lumped in with marriage in my book. it's not something i choose for myself, but that doesn't make it wrong for someone else in their unique situation.

for multiple reasons, i cannot speak as to how someone should feel after having an abortion. a) i have never experienced it, and b) how cunty of me would it be to tell someone how they should feel about anything, much less something that has nothing whatsoever to do with me?

..the incompatibility of the two belief systems.

this woman's life was a journey. she grew up in faith, gave it up for feminism, and then gave up feminism to return to her faith. i can't fault her for returning to something that she feels she needs. in fact, i applaud the fact that she ventured beyond her religion for a time and experienced something else. but i am saddened by the implication that the two things must be separate. one of the most fantastic women i know, Ginger, is both. she is a progressive, christian, newly-vegan! feminist. and she pulls it off magnificently.

for some reason, we've convinced ourselves that we have to choose one thing ( belief, career path, person ) over another. i am not a fan of this concept and do not subscribe to it. i am an athiest with pagan, buddahist, and objectivist leanings. while i have no intention of getting married, i am a huge supporter of marriage equality. there is a balance to be found.

January, 28 2010 under opinions

comments

January, 28 2010 by Ginger

Thanks for the shoutout :) I agree with you, it is senseless to assume we have to be one thing or the other, or that because you're one thing you can't possibly be another... which I get all the time as a progressive Christian. Till I point out that Jesus was a Liberal - then they shut up real quick and think of other names to call me. ;) Think I may just have to blog on how Jesus was the original feminist too... sounds like some folks need to be edu-ma-cated.

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