This chat is going to be all over the place. I’m struggling with my anger about how women are treated in religion and I need to vent about it. I think misogyny is a lot like slavery.
Slavery and misogyny are interesting concepts to discuss when you are a Black woman. It’s very confusing. You want to stand alongside your man and fight as a united front for equality, and then when the fight is over, you realize that you’re fighting with your man as a divided schism of inequality.
My ego will not allow me to use spiritual enlightenment to explain this away either. I tried fighting with her about this for about five minutes and then I decided to give up. My “hippiness” and zen was no match for her passion for injustice.
This morning I listened to a song by Christian recording artist Christy Nockels called “My Master.” Sadness came over me as I listened to the chorus’ words: “I love my master/ I will not go free… My heart is yours forever/I’ll serve you faithfully/I love my master/I will not go free.”
It’s a beautiful song, and Christy has a beautiful voice, but listening to it almost made me cry when I thought about how many people (specifically women) are willingly trapped in the bondage of religion. At least misogynists with no religion are easy to spot and dismiss. But the ones in religion are cleverly camouflaged to me.
In the past when people asked me why I left Christianity, I used to site multiple specific examples. But now I only give one reason: freedom. I loved freedom more than I loved the Church… and more than I loved my identity as “righteous.” And that’s why I left.
“So do you love freedom more than you love God?”
Nope. I believe that chasing after freedom is a self-loving act, and to love one’s self is to love God.
I couldn’t stay in a situation where I was practically told to hate myself every day. Some of us just can’t sit down and be humble no matter how many times we’re told or how many times we try.
I made everybody mad when I was a Christian… everybody. I would ask way too many questions and point out the contradictions and fallacies that I saw in doctrine. I especially infuriated others when I spoke up about race and women. I couldn’t understand why some (not all) Christians were racist, and why other Christians were sexist.
I don’t know what bothered me more, the racism or the sexism. As a Black woman, I simply couldn’t take it. But what made it so bad was that I would look around and see other Black women taking it, and all I could think was what the hell?
Maybe my confusion was condescending. After all, religion is really about needs, and different people have different needs. I have the need for freedom, and another woman might have the need for security. I have the need for an emotional connection with a man before sex, and maybe another woman just wants the swag.
Just because I need something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else who looks like me needs the same thing. Yes women are powerful, and it bothers me when I see them put into boxes; but maybe some women want to be in those boxes because it’s safer for them to be there.
Everybody’s not a pioneer, especially when you’ve been indoctrinated.. It’s hard to be empowered when your needs are systematically used against you.
I can’t call out an abused woman that doesn’t leave her abuser, especially if I don’t at least try to understand her reasons for staying. Misogynists have gotten really good over the ages at using shame to manipulate and control women. They’ve even gotten us to manipulate, shame, and compete with one another.
It gets even worse when misogyny is perpetuated by men who are also oppressed in society. A very good friend of mine -who left Christianity around the same time I did- pointed this out. “It’s like some black men are the slave masters to black women… even though they were enslaved themselves.” And indeed she’s right.
Sometimes we have kind slave masters who “treat us well,” and this confuses the issue. Your man may not want you barefoot and pregnant literally, but he still has a problem with you working sixty hours a week, even though you may enjoy it. He doesn’t demand that you make him a sandwich when he comes home, but he would never stand for it if you wanted to become a pastor.
Your Holy Book (that you insist on taking literally) primarily illustrates women as evil, sex-objects, mothers, or problems to be solved; but you’re supposed to ignore all of those stories because men are commanded in that same book to “love their wives as Christ loved the Church and laid down his life for her.”
But women are not pets. Just because you love your dog to death, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you see that dog as equal to you.
You don’t think I’m capable of doing certain things because it’s not in my nature or it’s out of order; and even if you do believe I’m capable, you’re still afraid that letting me do it will cause a disaster for everyone involved.
I’m just saying as far as the dog comparison… you love your dog, but you would never let him use your computer. You need your dog, but you would never let him drive your car.
I noticed that some Christian men will treat their women worse than the men who are part of the secular world they are trying to save. At least secular misogynists make it clear that they don’t respect women; it’s the religious ones that coat the disrespect in a sugary glaze of “righteous love.”
I’m so thankful for (Black) men, but I just wish that they could open their eyes to how they oppress us sometimes. Just because your (White) employer is friendly and fair, it doesn’t mean he’s your friend, does it? You’ll find out if he’s your friend when you ask him to make you a partner, won’t you?
He may admit that he needs you, but need does not equal respect. I need my phone… bad, but I’ve never called my phone my equal. This is what we mean by objectification.
To add insult to injury, sometimes men don’t realize that they’re deprecating us when they refer to us in ways that carry certain stigmas. If you use terms such as “emotional,” “illogical,” or “unpredictable” to describe women, it’s a pretty good sign that you are incapable of comprehending the female experience.
Women make stable, logical, and dependable choices every day even in the face of great fear. Our desire for intimacy, beauty, and connection –not to mention the need to be understood- gets used against us so that we can be easily controlled.
Are you so afraid of my power that you need to make me feel powerless? Does your obsession with me bother you to the point that you must demean me for being desirable? I asked these questions when I was a Christian and the answers were never good enough.
So now, as a pioneer -and a lifelong trouble maker- I am making it my business to support women by calling misogynists out on their shit, thanking the good men for being good men, and respecting the reasons why women stay tethered to oppressive situations.
I’m blessed to live a truly free life and to have a man who supports my self-empowerment journey. He didn’t allow men who hate women to teach him how to love his woman. He followed his own path and opened his heart, and now and forever has his wife’s unconditional respect.
In the midst of all the confusion and pain, it’s actually beautiful when you think about what’s happening with women right now. We are being restored back to our rightful place as equals. It’s been a very long decline and the steep incline back up has taken us even longer. But soon and very soon, love will bring the Divine Feminine back into the Divine Masculine’s embrace at just the right euphoric moment of time.
Okay. I think my rant is over now.