Hip-Hop, Religion and the Subjection of Women

July 27, 2007 at 12:17 am 46 comments

BlameWhere should the finger point when blame is being distributed for the subjection of women? Surely there is someone to hold culpable for such an archaic view against half of the world’s population.

Do we blame the men who hold to these views? Yes, of course. However, the truth is that they are only acting on what they have been socialised to consider acceptable since there are aspects of society which continues to promote the second-class position of women.

Should we blame hip-hop music, which objectifies women? Last week I heard a radio interview with a Georgetown University Professor and author, Michael Eric Dyson, who spoke on this subject. Dyson maintained that hip hop has been extremely seductive in that it promotes the idea that the only place for women, especially black women, in the political economy of sex globally is as a hoochie mama and a slut whose “role is to service the masculine, especially the heterosexual male crotch.”

Hip-hop has certainly colluded with the mentality of female objectification – much like beauty pageants, pornography and girls gone wild videos. However, this music is only a couple decades old and we all know that misogyny has been around for thousands of years.

Perhaps we should blame the legislators for not going to greater lengths to ensure women have equal rights. Certainly all of these factors play a role in the perception of women today.

However, all of these factors such as sexist hip-hop lyrics and videos, pornography, lack of proper legislation to ensure women enjoy the same rights and privileges of their male counterparts, are no more than symptoms of the larger malady that has a very strong hold in so many nations today.

Obviously, there is a greater work in play here that must be recognised for its part in misogynistic socialisation. I have known the answer for quite some time and it seems others are seeing the light as well. The author I mentioned before from an interview last week went on to talk about what he sees as the primary promoter of sexism.

Dyson said he has suggested to

“the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton instead of in the aftermath of Imus protesting record companies, how about smashing the sermons of some of those preachers who stand up in church on Sunday mornings in Black America, 75 – 80 percent of those churches are attended by black women, the minister is not calling them the b-word or the h or a skeezer or slut, but he is reinforcing a gospel that subordinates them to the interest of men and therefore he is much more seductive, he’s got a bigger pulpit, he’s got a bigger platform, and he’s got god on his side. Snoop Dog never claimed to be Jesus in rap form, but many of the ministers claim to be god’s representatives on earth and the message from the minister is god wants you to be a second class citizen because men should run stuff.”

Amen!

I know there are times when religion helps people. For example, I have a very good friend who is going through a nasty divorce and is relying on strength from her god more than at any other time in her life to get through this difficult time. I do not discourage her faith because there have been times when I have needed a higher power in my life too.

I would rather see her stand on her own two feet and realise she has the strength to get through this on her own, but she hasn’t the resolve at this point in her life. So she turns to religion and finds comfort and strength in her faith.

What she does not realise is it is that same religion that gave her husband the right to think he could do anything he wanted to do regardless of her feelings or his responsibilities. In short, this religion to which she now clings is actually the very instigator of her problems.

Her husband maintains that men work, that’s what they do and justifies his excessive travel away from the family, which leaves all of the house duties and child rearing to the woman. If this is what the husband wants, religion teaches that it is acceptable and if the wife protests then she should be taken in hand.

The wife is reduced to nothing more than a slave, and she had better be a submissive slave or she will pay for her rebellion. God forbid that she protest anything, which is what my friend did and now finds herself in a divorce – something she never dreamed would happen to her.

The fact is that women are just as capable of working outside of the home and there are many who would rather have a career than to clean, cook and care for others their whole life. At this transitional point in history, far too many women do both – careers and home – with little help or support from their husbands.

As long as women are subordinated to the interests of men by the same higher power to whom they run for strength to deal with the intolerable situation created by that higher power, they will never find an end to their suffering. This is a never-ending circle of sexism.

It is time for women to realise they have the strength to rise above the sexist socialisation that is instilled in us from the cradle and incessantly reinforced via multiple conduits all around us for our entire lives. Could it be that this is where blame should be laid for subjection of women – at the doors of our places of worship?

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The Astronomical Cheesologist The Persecution Complex

46 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sulochanosho  |  July 27, 2007 at 2:49 am

    Whom shall we blame for the ‘subordinated plight’ of our women folk! We the dead human beings. We the human beings are dead because we search answers from the dead debris of past religions, holy sermons, scriptures and dictations. No rule, no religion, no sermon once preached and practised to fit that time’s utility and necessity, can be held good forever. That’s the basic and eternal error we are committing every day. Our LIFE is not a frozen dead wood. Our life is an ever flowing, ever flowering phenomena. Nothing can tame or frame it. All the dead old scriptures and sermons along with vested sytems of the society are to be put on FIRE, and then and there NEW LIFE starts on this planet earth in this emerging 21st century. LIFE IS HERE AND NOW!

  • 2. superhappyjen  |  July 27, 2007 at 10:27 am

    I went to school with a couple of what I would describe as hard-core Christians. A+ students, over achievers, president of the student council, etc. Both of them went to University and graduated with honours. And yet, as soon as they got married they became housewives. One of them even told me “the woman’s place is in the home”. Huh?

  • 3. Becky  |  July 27, 2007 at 10:48 am

    A couple of years ago I read a great book by Sue Monk Kidd (author of “The Secret Life of Bees”), called “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”, which chronicles her journey away from the misogynistic oppression of her former faith (Baptism in this case). I have been an atheist for many years, but this book opened even my eyes to the depth and extent that Christianity (and other religions) have systematically oppressed women since the beginning. Among many other topics, she discusses how “God” is never assigned an official gender, but just try referring to the almighty as “Goddess” and see what kind of response you get! I feel that her writing is especially heart-felt because she used to be primarily a Christian author and her faith was extremely deep routed. If anyone is interested in further reading on this topic I’d highly recommend her book.

  • 4. Heather  |  July 27, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Becky,

    Sue Monk Kidd’s book was excellent — the dissidant daughter one.

    discusses how “God” is never assigned an official gender, but just try referring to the almighty as “Goddess” and see what kind of response you get!

    Oh, agreed. You’d get ripped apart — well, they’d probably stare at the person in shock, which the person could then use to escape before the shock wears off and the ripping begins.

  • 5. stellar1  |  July 27, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Becky,

    Thanks for the book suggestion. I will be sure to pick it up – even though I lived through that experience myself. This is why I write about women in christianity, because I know there are millions of women who are exactly where I use to be and want to escape but have no idea how to do it.

    It starts with feeling free to question the validity of it all and the house of cards falls apart on its own from there.

  • 6. Thinking Ape  |  July 27, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    After several years of studying the secular side of religious studies, with several courses on women within religious structures, I found it hard to believe that “religion” was the root cause of this “plight.” Religion, it appears to me, is more of a tool. It is probably the most powerful tool due to its ability to be beyond questioning and reason. But it is still a tool. The blame will always rest in history, the history of men subjugating women. Men did not develop religion simply to subjugate women, but it is almost a universal feature of every religion because every religion is created within the framework of patriarchal societies.

    Religions will be the last to change, but they will change (and are changing). But in the meantime, the focus for change must be on places that are more accepting to change (arts, philosophy, politics, education, etc.). The “philosophers” and “true artists” of our day have, like always, been the vanguard for social change for the equality of women. Politics and the education system is catching up. It is only because of the surrounding pressure that the religions of the world will be given the opportunity to change (especially the “book religions”).

  • 7. Stephen P  |  July 27, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I went to school with a couple of what I would describe as hard-core Christians. A+ students, over achievers, president of the student council, etc. Both of them went to University and graduated with honours. And yet, as soon as they got married they became housewives.

    To be fair, I know two atheist women who did exactly the same thing (maybe not A+ students, but not too far off). And both lived a very long way from their parents, so it’s unlikely it was the result of parent pressure. Some women are simply inclined that way. People differ, and it would be unfortunate if the right of women to have a career became a requirement to have a career.

    Having said that, I do for the most part agree with the post.

  • 8. Heather  |  July 27, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    It is only because of the surrounding pressure that the religions of the world will be given the opportunity to change (especially the “book religions”).

    This is an interesting observation, given the generalized claim that atheism, or anything non-religioues, has no way of deciding what is moral, or access to an absolute truth. The secular aspect could apply to anything that doesn’t use religion as a motivator, such as politics (in theory). And yet hasn’t secularization played a part in improving the world around us?

    Does this mean, then, that the advances in society, such as no more slavery, women’s rights, eliminating child labor and so on, occured despite religion, or because of it?

    I’m not saying that devout religious people haven’t played a role in making the world better — but take inerrancy, for example. If those who do support women’s rights today also hold the Bible to be inerrant, would they hold the same position 100 years ago? Or would their belief in inerrancy lead them to deny women’s rights based on an interpretation of the Bible?

  • 9. societyvs  |  July 27, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    “It is time for women to realise they have the strength to rise above the sexist socialisation that is instilled in us from the cradle and incessantly reinforced via multiple conduits all around us for our entire lives. Could it be that this is where blame should be laid for subjection of women – at the doors of our places of worship?” (Stellar1)

    I am all for the equality of women in society (and I am a Christian) and my wife has worked since we dated and married – I like the fact we both can contribute to our well being and are responsible for our livelihoods and successes. The idea of subjugating women within the faith can be read into the stories and letters (for sure) – but I think the topic is quite open and multi-sided.

    In no actual place in Paul’s writing does Paul ever consider the ‘women’ less then the ‘man’ – if anything – his core teaching was there is ‘no woman and man’ in this faith (equality). He taught submission but he taught it to both the man and the woman – and that they function team-like – not cyclops like. Paul even has women in charge of churches and Jesus never places women below men in any place in his teachings. Most of this stuff goes back to Adam and Eve – and this depends on how one frames that story (which I see as myth).

    But does the church need to take more responsibility in this area? Hell yeah! I agree witht the blog altogether in that idea – I would never have my wife demeaned by church authority – no way and no how – and would stand my ground on the equality issue altogether. But I do agree – a lot of churches want to subordinate women – due to Paul’s cultural leanings in certain churches in his day – and I think this is where they falter. But again, I think as Christians we need to keep our authority accountable to the idea of sexism and it’s damages – that it is not tolerable in this era or in this working environment we find ourselves in (2 incomes are needed to maintain a household).

    I appreciate the blog and the viewpoint – it will noted – and I will personally defend the right of women to share positions of power within the church (which I deem very neccesary for a total worldview).

  • 10. Thinking Ape  |  July 27, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Heather questions,

    Does this mean, then, that the advances in society, such as no more slavery, women’s rights, eliminating child labor and so on, occured despite religion, or because of it?

    Despite of. Religions can be tools for good as well as bad. But because of the way that religions, especially the “book religions” work, they drag their feet. And even the people who are religious and who could be considered the “trailblazers” – they aren’t doing it because OF their religion, they do it because they often see someone wrong with their religion or with the times they live in. Isn’t this how many of our religions were created in the first place?

  • 11. superhappyjen  |  July 27, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    To be fair, I know two atheist women who did exactly the same thing (maybe not A+ students, but not too far off). And both lived a very long way from their parents, so it’s unlikely it was the result of parent pressure. Some women are simply inclined that way. People differ, and it would be unfortunate if the right of women to have a career became a requirement to have a career.

    I agree, I think women (and men), should have the choice whether or not to be stay at home spouses. The sad thing wasn’t that my Christian friends became houswives, but that they felt they HAD to. Like there was no other option.

  • 12. Zoe  |  July 27, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Becky,

    Just finishing The Dance of the Dissident Daughter right now.

    A good read.

  • 13. Simen  |  July 27, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Do we blame the men who hold to these views? Yes, of course. However, the truth is that they are only acting on what they have been socialised to consider acceptable since there are aspects of society which continues to promote the second-class position of women.

    The first sentence doesn’t fit in with the second here, since they say almost the exact opposite thing: the first says we should blame sexist men, the second that “they are only acting on what they have been socialised to consider acceptable”. While religion has certainly provided its share of sexism, ultimately, this is a social problem, and the blame should be put on those who practice it and teach it to their children and thus keep future generations from breaking out of the circle.

  • 14. glassmantissa  |  July 28, 2007 at 3:51 am

    “In short, this religion to which she now clings is actually the very instigator of her problems.”

    i beg to differ, on a point of semantics really. religion, per se, is never really the problem ~ its the way in which myriads of egocentric megalomaniacs misinterpret religion and associated holy texts that instigates the many problems to which this blog alludes.

    regarding cs lewis and his argument re:divinity of jesus ~ i think you’ve entirely missed the point. essentially he’s saying there that y’all can’t have yer cake and eat it too. either you believe in jesus … or, like the jews, you don’t. this ain’t no cafeteria – ya ca’t just pick what suits you and toss out the rest. (funny you should choose cs lewis to pick on, who remained always a skeptic himself).

    also, there’s a distinction that at times does not appear to be made here regarding the nature of jesus. if one assumes his divinity true, then one is NOT saying jesus = god. the divinity of jesus refers to his role as one of the three beings of the trinity, namely the incarnate of god, or the word. aquinas, not lewis, is the authority on that one. IMHO.

    back to this post ~ as far as the subjugation of women … do you really think that exercising a choice to parent/home-make full time means subjugation for that woman? ultimately, we all make a choice, regardless if we perceive having made said choice or not. its really about time women everywhere realized they CANNOT have it all. that’s the real subjugation of women in society ~ this ridiculous notion that women can be june cleaver, martha stewart, and the ‘devil who wears prada’ all rolled into one.

    the tone of this post presents women in a passive light. many women find themselves in positions you describe through their own choices. i find it incredulous that a woman would marry a man who thinks these sorts of things without knowing so, or thinking she can change him. once again, who’s forcing whom here?

    and … is it really subjugation if the woman choose such a lifestyle? i’m betting that many women who wear the niqab don’t feel themselves subjugated, but many social analysts that observe these women likely do. so … i just wonder … where does belief and custom end and where does personal freedom, etc. begin or do the two overlap? or perhaps i’m way off ….

    interesting blog …

    i

  • 15. mysterybea  |  July 28, 2007 at 10:54 am

    “is it really subjugation if the woman choose such a lifestyle?”

    That is the very point of subjugation. Women, on some level, don’t feel that bending to the needs or desires of her husband and family is a choice. It is very deeply embedded in our psyche from an early age. I am a graduate student in biology. You will see just as many, if not more, female graduate students getting their PhD’s in fields like biology, ecology and chemistry…but what percentage of professors and career-researchers in those fields are women? Not even close to 50%. Why is that? And why does the supposed pay disparity persist between men and women? I think the answer is one in the same. Women tend to put their careers on the back-burner to both rearing children and to their partner’s careers. I learned that very few women will instigate a move to uproot her partner’s career or her family’s location to further her own career. How frequently do kid’s say that they moved “because mom got a new job”? Not very I’d guess.

    I am going through this exact problem in my life right now, trying to decide what is the best next career move for myself while also considering my partner’s career. A big part of my, the female (sorry but its true) part of me wants to just find some mediocre job wherever is close to my partner’s location. But that nagging feminist in me is screaming – you’re more educated! you’ll make more money! do what’s best for YOUR career! And that is the voice that I am going with, because I think a lot of regrets and resentment will come with “settling”.

    The danger of the pervasive nature of the subjugation of women is that people do say “its her choice”. But to some extent, that choice is made for us the day we are born and are treated as little girls. I am not blaming all of that on Christianity, but since it is the basis for many of our cultural norms and our gender roles, it is certainly at least partially at fault.

  • 16. mantissa  |  July 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    “The danger of the pervasive nature of the subjugation of women is that people do say “its her choice”. But to some extent, that choice is made for us the day we are born and are treated as little girls.”

    sorry ~ i respectfully disagree with what i see as a cop out. the bottom line here is all about biology. like it or not ~ we (women) bear the fruit of humanity … and yes, it costs us. is that subjugation ~ the fact that we populate the human race? i like to think not. ultimately, the decision to procreate is an individual one … not a societal one. can one really blame one’s own culture, society, blah blah if one chooses NOT to step outside the box? i’d venture to say its subjugation to make little girls think that’s subjugation. to tell a little girl her role in society is not so important … sorry, i see that as subjugation. also, its quite subjugating the way society continuously tells us we are nothing without mates. the way our media commodifies sex and people.

    as far as wages ~ i cannot argue directly, since i do not have the factual numbers in front of me, and so to argue your claim without the facts seems sensationalistic, at best. i can, however, say this seems not out of the ordinary, considering that women who want to child-bear take time off from work to do so … and like it or not .. this time they can never get back. its a choice/sacrifice we all make. would you rather have that big expense account, the corner office, and that sweet pension? or would you rather grow, nurture and groom a human for this society? having raised 2 boys … having done the career thing (and, yes, my family did move across the country b/c mom got a new job!) i will say to anyone who asks … no, hun .. they’re lying. its simply not possible to have it all.

    greed. greed makes us want it all. deludes us into thinking we can have it all. this is such a false hope. and its why their are so many screwed-up people walking the planet! IMHO!

    i still resent the underlining tone of this post and many of these comments which appears to diminsh the role of women as nurturers, etc. au contraire! this so-called ‘women’s work’ is the most important job one can have. and the crappy state of our humanity perhaps speaks to what happens when we as a society attempt to diminish that.

    ULTIMATELY EVERYONE MAKES A CHOICE. EVERYONE.

    STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX AND YOU WILL SEE. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

  • 17. mantissa  |  July 28, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    one more thing. as far as the religio-cultural underpinnings of ‘the subjugation of women” … judaism really is where most of these ideas come from. if you delve into their thinking/philosophy, you will see it makes lots of sense, and judaism is NOT at all about disempowering women. i do find christianity somewhat paternalistic and arrogant, as a religion. one must take care to see the different between the creator and those who purport to represent said creator on earth ~ NOT THE SAME.

    interesting discussion.

  • 19. Thinking Ape  |  July 28, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Mantissa,
    I couldn’t agree more that the “nurturing job” is one of the most important jobs, if not the most. But guess what, it isn’t a paid job.

    The fact is, this really doesn’t have anything to do with children. Do they come into play? Of course. But childless, unmarried women still make less than their male counterparts, despite their education and experience. The sad fact, also, is that business actually LEADS the way in changing this, and religion grudgingly trudges along. I can guarantee to you, being intimately connected to the organizations, that the biggest criminals of taking advantage of women at the workplace are the evangelical para-church organizations. But since they don’t release that sort of information, it cannot be definitive. What I can tell you is through common examples:

    Young Life: All male property managers for all camps. Wage = $85-100,000 USD. Wives are either unemployed or store managers (purchasing, managing all store operations, wage =$28-35,000 USD).

    Campus Crusade For Christ:
    Officers: Male president, male vice president of board, 10 male vice presidents, 1 female vice president, 1 male controller, 1 female secretary, 1 female assistant secretary.

    Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family have not replied to my email request for information on their officials.

    As for churches, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a gross majority of senior pastors are the highest paid member of the church staff and that they are almost always male.

  • 20. mantissa  |  July 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    we can make the numbers say anything we want … as these links allude to. so … i don’t see the #s in these links as supporting this argument. semantics …

    http://www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/ArticleReader?itemid=00005311&segmentid=0004&tour=0&p_date=1

    there’s another link that speaks to disparity ~ tho i choose to focus on the part that says over the past two decades, women’s wages have risen 1.5 times more than that of men.

    i guess this discussion speaks to the devaluation of women in our society and so, i squarely lay the blame for this on the shoulders of our entertainment media, and those of us that watch it, despite the imany conflicting and damaging messages which it sends its viewers.

  • 21. karen  |  July 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    we can make the numbers say anything we want … as

    Not in this case. Gender inequality in salary is well-documented over many decades. There’s no dispute on the issue. That’s an endemic, societal injustice of tremendous proportions.

    Isn’t fighting injustice a priority for Christians these days? It was supposed to be one back when I was a Christian…

    tho i choose to focus on the part that says over the past two decades, women’s wages have risen 1.5 times more than that of men.

    You can focus on the good news if you want to. But that doesn’t change the fact that, while there has been recognition that women are undervalued in our society, not enough has been done to remedy the problem. And we’re – what, 30 years, 35 years – post-feminist liberation movement?

    That’s a terrible shame, in my view.

    i guess this discussion speaks to the devaluation of women in our society and so, i squarely lay the blame for this on the shoulders of our entertainment media, and those of us that watch it, despite the imany conflicting and damaging messages which it sends its viewers.

    That’s right. Blame the liberal media and Hollywood for all the wrongs of society. That’s the tried and true argument, isn’t it?

    Frankly, I don’t find it very convincing. I think in terms of many civil rights issues, the entertainment industry has been in the forefront of changing negative attitudes, rather than the other way around.

    TV’s where many of us first saw blacks and white interacting as equals. The Mary Tyler Moore show struck out against the stereotype and made us comfortable with a single working woman who made her career her priority and even – gasp! – lived all alone!

    The obsessive focus on shallow, immature female celebrities in the last decade or so has not helped the feminist cause. But there is definitely both good and bad reflected back at us by our media.

  • 22. mysterybea  |  July 28, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Mantissa-
    I do not disagree with the majority of your points. As far as the wage gap goes, the point I was trying, unsuccessfully, to make was exactly what you said. Women working the exact same job with the exact same hours/effort as their male counterpart no doubt make very similar earnings. It is the fact that women often choose to work fewer hours or even cut short their career due to family obligations. Yes, I do realize that its biology as well as culture that drives our choices. And before anyone says anything, I certainly do NOT disparage that choice in the slightest. Its a choice that I will likely make one day if I choose to have children. It just comes with the territory of having children that women have the greater responsibilities. I have talked to a lot of fellow female grad students about future careers and the same question pops up again and again…how do you have children AND a career in science (or any other competitive field). In fields like science and engineering, women are encouraged to take off as little time as possible after delivering their children to get back to work. I know a woman who brought her week old baby to the lab so she could work. That’s just not right.

    Now if the U.S. had even remotely 21st Century opinions and policies on maternity leave and child rearing, things may be wholly different. In other industrialized countries, women are given up to a full year, at the end of which their jobs are still safe. In the U.S.? Well, it varies because, to my knowledge, there are no federal standards. In fields like nursing and teaching, predominantly female professions, you’ll probably find a much different picture than in fields like engineering (still a boy’s club, according to my brother).

    I realize that this is all getting a bit far from the original posting about Christianity and the subjugation of women. But I firmly believe that Christianity originally shaped how women were treated and valued in our culture and society. Certainly women are biologically and psychologically more invested in rearing their children. But the policies and practices we live by should not dictate that to her, it should be her choice.

  • 23. superhappyjen  |  July 28, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Certainly women are biologically and psychologically more invested in rearing their children. But the policies and practices we live by should not dictate that to her, it should be her choice.

    Emphasis on CHOICE. Women, in my experience, are too judgemental of each other. You decide to stay home, great. You decide to go to work, great. You decide to have five children or none, great. Every person is different and we should support each others decisions.

  • 24. karen  |  July 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    mysterybea:
    Now if the U.S. had even remotely 21st Century opinions and policies on maternity leave and child rearing, things may be wholly different. In other industrialized countries, women are given up to a full year, at the end of which their jobs are still safe. In the U.S.? Well, it varies because, to my knowledge, there are no federal standards.

    The Family Medical Leave Act gives employees up 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for infants or sick relatives. The law requires “employer to provide up to 12 weeks (over one year’s time) continuous or intermittent unpaid leave of absence to full-time employees who must care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.”

    More information:

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/

    Some private employers choose to give their employees additional paid leave after a birth, but it’s not mandated or uniform like it is in Western Europe, for instance.

    superhappyjen:
    Emphasis on CHOICE. Women, in my experience, are too judgemental of each other. You decide to stay home, great. You decide to go to work, great. You decide to have five children or none, great. Every person is different and we should support each others decisions.

    You go, girl! I’ve said this for years. Women are so quick to condemn each other, and it’s so destructive when being supportive of everyone’s choices would be so much better for all of us.

  • 25. mysterybea  |  July 29, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Karen-
    Thank you for the info…although, does the phrase in there “up to 12 weeks” mean that they can give less? (I don’t know, I’m asking) I am truly not trying to dispute your facts (which I will assume are correct), but it is a different issue altogether how much time off a woman feels she CAN take off without her job being in jeopardy, or before she slips out of the competition among her colleagues. My brother told me that when he worked at an engineering firm, a woman went on maternity leave and by the time she had come back, her status at the company was so much lower (all her clients and projects had been given to other engineers) that she might as well have just quit. That is what I’m talking about. Not just giving women officially 12 weeks off, but truly giving her that time to take care of and bond with her baby without the fear of losing standing at her job.

  • 26. Thinking Ape  |  July 30, 2007 at 1:07 am

    12 weeks?! Holy crapoli! Women (or men!) in Canada get 50 paid weeks.

  • 27. samanthamj  |  July 31, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Great read here… I have strong feelings on this topic and wrote about it in my blog too “Mom’s a religious nut & Dad was an atheist”, specifically in a post called “Surrendered Wives” – http://savemenot.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/%e2%80%9csurrendered%e2%80%9d-wives/

  • 28. eye-of-horus  |  August 5, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    ** Hang together, or hang separately **

    Fundamentalist Xian males, like their muslim brethren, shudder at a technological world in which mental agility has replaced physical strength as a core measure of economic utility. This reordering of values strips away a core faith-based lie: god-ordained male supremacy.

    Unresolved is a decades long struggle over gender equality — equal productive and reproductive rights. Whom does Congress favor this day? The relevant group, women themselves, tens of millions of them?

    Or male second-hand god frauds? Spewing pro-natalist social Darwinism tarted up as “family values”. Women’s aspirations, self realization, reproductive self- determination must be crushed by direct force. Xian domestic terrorism, like muslim domestic terrorism, humiliates, intimidates, and batters women back into
    submission.

    Protected by complicit federal and state officials, cells of Xian thugs have been targeting women and their humane values for decades. Irrationality drives scientific
    knowledge from America’s schools just as it drives medical research abroad.

    Fundamentalist political ideologues must eventually embrace state totalitarianism. Their “truths” can never win popular support. An open society will repudiate any
    nihilism composed of literalist lies, morally repugnant beliefs, and theocratic rigorism.

    eye-of-horus
    copyright asserted 2007

  • 29. rockeast  |  August 9, 2007 at 10:38 am

    hey..ur discussn is intrstng…i being an easterner(indian),our lands r currently undergoing cultural transformation…2 b more and more western and even overtake em…i hav accptd jesus as my personal savior and has known the peace and joy of ever since.but truth is i am yet 2 find a church tat encourages men 2 b men, in church pastors considers it greatest sin 2 beat ur wife…..bfore sayn so plz say were in the bible its written!in the new testament god asks women in church 2 b silent and cover their head during worship,i am yet 2 find such a church even in the east…god donot allow women to teach or have authority over men in the bible…..then were did this concept of gender equality came in….it came frm atheism….god didnt creat men and women equally,but he created woman for man and not man 4 woman god created man as the head of women,and woman as the glory of man just as every man is glory of christ,christ himself is the glory of god his father.this is the perfect order into which god wishes 2 creat a new humanity…and he will suceed in this!if u really believe in jesus…ur bound 2 obey the word of god which is jesus himself or do u think u can live obeying part of the bibleand sayn ur christian.u cannot put ur feets on 2 boats moving in opposite directn,u will b ripped apart,jst like that modern western so called christian culture shall b destroyed….this is currently taking place in europe and 2 a lesser extnd in the US….i saw an artcle by pope that chistianity has still relevance in the US bcause it has allowed itself 2 b feminized….o western man amidst ur fast jrny 2 progress and technology y did u sell urself 2 women…answr is devil tricked u into…socialism said men and women are equall even in intelligence(rmbr modern science has proved mans brain 2 b larger than womens),the other reason is sexual perversions by which men allow women 2 teach and hav authority over them and derive sexual pleasure frm such acts.(a type of masochism).in the bible its written a husbands body is not his property but his wifes and wifes body belongs 2 husband.some pastors use this words 2 say that its sin 2 b angry with ur wife or even mildly beating them.but these words are actually men 2 prove that sex is not satanic,but godly..that is why men and women r allwd 2 marry in the millenial period after christ comes back and establishes his kingdom on earth.during that 1000 year period satan will b cained and not satanic activity will b present in earth!

  • 30. rockeast  |  August 9, 2007 at 10:50 am

    DEAR STELLAR 1 HOW MUCH I EVER SAY 2 U ..U WILL NEVER ACCEPT THE FACT THAT MEN AND WOMEN ARE NOT EQUAL GOD CREATED THEM DIFFERENT AND IT WILL REMAIN 4 ALL ETERNITY…U CANT CHANGE IT…EITHER U WILL CHANGE OR CHANGE FRM FACE OF EARTH….THAT IS TRUE 2 ALL THOSE WHO FOUGHT WITH CHURCH 4 PAST 2000 YEARS!THE ROMANS WHO CRUCIFIED CHRIST FOUND THEIR EMPIRE BECOME CHRISTIAN IN 300 YEARS!THAT IS THE POWER OF SPIRIT AND NOT OF MUSCLE POWER OF MEN!

  • 31. cragar  |  August 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    ROCKEAST I AM TYPING THIS SO U CAN UNNERSTAND. IF UR GOD DUZNT WANT EQUALITY WITH WOMEN THAN U CAN HAVE HIM.

  • 32. Linzichoppz  |  September 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

    The fervent acceptance of a belief system that was written by the men behind the scenes, to subjugate everyone, not just women, has been the master-stroke of political leadership. However, men, as the generally physically stronger sex, given a slight bit of power over someone else, on the orders of the lord god himself, well you can justify pretty much anything you want if you say its from a higher power.
    I do do not align myself with any religion, as to accept as fact a piece of writing, without looking at a larger picture would be an utter nonsense. Blind submission to God or Jesus or whoever is how the church are so powerful (and wealthy), and have remained so powerful for such a long time.
    With regards to pay disparity, women in the same job, working the same hours(even working in restaurants!) earn on average 15% less than their male colleagues. Theyve tried to fix things, but theyve made it worse, in the UK, it is now almost impossible for a young childless woman to even obtain a job, as the maternity laws are so strict that companies just do not want the risk of having to pay two members of staff (one on maternity leave and one on cover), when they could just hire a man, and only pay one. And dont even get me started on the Equality laws.
    Oh and for the record, mens brains have greater mass, because mens skulls are typically bigger. But its what you do with it that counts, you religious fruitloop. Clearly yours is going to waste.
    Oh yes, and if you read a bit more, then you would realise that actually, the Romans decided to hijack christianity and use it to unify their Empire, its was their decision, not the peoples. They didnt even decide on what the teachings were until the council of Nicaea in 325. Then they cherry picked the best stories to keep everyone quiet. In fact, emperor Constantine presided over the whole affair and his vote was unanimous, which proves that the church was subject to Imperial control.
    If you looked further back than the Testaments, you would see that society was basically equal, men and women had different roles, yes, but neither one was more important than the other. It was harmonious equilibrium, and furthermore, women were sometimes in charge of a village or tribe. Along came organised religion, a system of mass control the foundation of centrally controlled laws, and what happened, eveyone stopped looking at the real truth, that in essence we are all the same, we need the same things to live, we have the same emotions, we share every single waking and sleeping moment in pursuit of the same thing. The Gospels have been called that since they were written. What better way to convince people that their way was the right way than to call it what essentially means ‘truth’. Oh and by the way, where is there any physical documentation of Jesus Christ the man? Sorry, but Josephus just doesnt cut it.
    Read more, it will open your mind.
    The bible does have some good stuff in it, for sure, love charity forgiveness, but these are Divine traits that reside inside everyone, its not exclusive to religion. Its exclusively human.

  • 33. The Lolcano  |  August 31, 2010 at 10:41 am

    @ Rockeast

    OMGS YOU R SOOO RIGHT!!1!!

    Learn to spell first, and then maybe you might be able to convince some other idiot on the internet that you are right. At the moment you are just some little crap from India who doesn’t even deserve to be on the internet, because of your poisonous views. Women are proven to be more intelligent than men on average so you can take your science and shove it up your arse and at the end of the day the bible also says that earth was created 6000 years ago. And we all know that is a load of crap.

    And the bible is all just stories anyway, stories which are meant to have a meaning to them, which are misinterpreted anyway and twisted to fit the views of silly little men like you who want to feel better than someone else because the feel weak and insecure in their own home.

    So to finish:
    a) You are an idiot who cannot write properly (so much for having a bigger brain, obviously it’s all just empty air in there).
    b) So perhaps you should take spelling lessons, or maybe English lessons.
    c) And after that, go die. Painfully and slowly. And take all of your other “enlightened” friends with you. Thanks.

    PS. I sincerely that you get beaten up by a woman.

  • 34. Ubi Dubium  |  August 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Lolcano, I am assuming you are a drive-by. In the unlikely event you are not, there is an important video you need to watch before posting here again. Or anywhere for that matter.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/17/dont-be-a-dick-part-1-the-video/

    Attack ideas, not people. Thank you.

  • 35. Eve's Apple  |  September 5, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Can anyone explain to me why we women sometimes go along with and even enforce our subjugation?

    Consider: the hand that wields the knife in female genital mutilation is in most cases a female hand. It is women who arrange these things. The men stay out of it.

    When footbinding was still the custom in China, it was WOMEN who were the ones who broke the bones in little girls’ feet. It was women who kept the system going and passed it on down through the ages. Again, the men stayed out of it.

    I do not like “entertainment” which tells me I am a b**** or a h*** and I have one simple solution–as far as possible I do not knowingly support it. I don’t buy it, I don’t listen to it. But obviously enough people like this kind of thing because the people who produce it are not languishing in obscurity but are laughing all the way to the bank. There is a demand for such product and it is not just men who are buying. Let’s get real here. I know quite a bit about ostracism and shunning and social disapproval. If we as a society REALLY meant what we say we did, these people would have ZERO market for songs and other forms of entertainment that put down women. They would not be able to pitch their product because no one would buy. No one would be interested. That is how the free market works. If I write a book and can’t find anyone to publish it, it means that publishers (who have a great deal more experience in the matter than I) feel that there aren’t enough buyers to justify their investment. Should I cry “censorship?”

    Someone said something about choices. We make them every day. Sometimes we don’t think about our choices. Yes, historically, men have been the ones who were visibly in control, and yes, historically, religions have worked to keep women subservient but we women need to take a good look at our own role in keeping ourselves subservient and keeping others under us subservient.

  • 36. CheezChoc  |  September 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    @Eve’s Apple:

    I suspect that women have gone along with their own subjugation because they were trained from the time they were born to feel like they were lesser beings, not worth as much as men, not as capable, etc. If they don’t have a sense of self-worth, then it does not occur to them that mistreatment, abuse, etc. are wrong. They feel they deserve it.

  • 37. Eve's Apple  |  September 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

    CheezChoc–I don’t quite buy that argument because it implies that women are not capable of making their own decisions or thinking for themselves. We go along with stuff because we’ve been “trained” or “brainwashed” and don’t know any different? Please! Then those who say that women are inferior and need to be controlled like little children are right, because we ourselves admit that when we make that argument.

    The late Ayn Rand said once that she felt that women as a whole were not as intelligent as men. While I do not agree with Rand’s philiosophy, I can definitely see where she is coming from. There are times when I do believe that she is right. I also believe that Rand was more intelligent than a lot of men for that matter.

    I have often been told (mostly by men) that I do not think “like a woman” but rather think more like a man. I have also been taken for one on-line in other forums where my gender remained unknown. I have done some reading and studying about the brain and there does seem to be some real biological differences between the male and female brain so it is not just a matter of perception. This doesn’t make one sex superior and the other inferior. It is just that everyone thinks and looks at life differently. I do find that my conversations with men tend to be deeper and richer than my conversations with women. And I don’t think it is simply a matter of training.

    If anything, I suspect that it is a matter of evolution at work. If you look at history, women who were “too brainy” were considered “bluestockings” and very often ended up not married and not having children. Intelligence appears to be inherited, so if there were selection pressures on women to be less intelligent this might mean why we see the behaviors we do. It seems I read somewhere that the more educated a woman is the harder it is for her to find a husband. Again, this is the marketplace choosing. It’s not conspiracy, men aren’t getting together and saying “let’s not marry intelligent women”, it is just the way things work.

    There is a scene in “Gone With the Wind” where Scarlett is getting ready to go to a barbecue and Mammy comes in with a tray of food because back then white women of Scarlett’s class weren’t supposed to eat much in public. Scarlett says that one time she went to a barbecue and ate as much as she wanted and Ashley Wilkes said it was refreshing to see a girl with an appetite. Mammy replies, “Yes, but Mr. Wilkes ain’t fixing to marry you.” Which was true. Ashley may say he admires Scarlett’s independence, but in the end he marries a woman who is more in line with society’s expectations.

    Nevertheless, I think it does boil down to choices. It does take an enormous amount of courage to swim against the stream and from an evolutionary perspective, the very real risk of not passing on your genes, but there are women who actively choose to be part of theirs and other women’s subjugation, because that is what they WANT to do Look at the “Mean Girl” phenomenon in high school. These girls are choosing this for themselves. No one is making them do this.

  • 38. DSimon  |  September 6, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I don’t quite buy that argument because it implies that women are not capable of making their own decisions or thinking for themselves. We go along with stuff because we’ve been “trained” or “brainwashed” and don’t know any different? Please! Then those who say that women are inferior and need to be controlled like little children are right, because we ourselves admit that when we make that argument.

    Falling for BS cultural messages is something that can easily happen to anybody regardless of gender. People do think for themselves… but they don’t do it in a vacuum.

    We all absorb the memes we grow up with, and we can do our best to figure out which ones don’t make sense and fight them, but that process isn’t easy or automatic.

  • 39. prairie nymph  |  September 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Eve’s Apple: ***Read Phyllis Chesler’s _Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman_

    I am an intelligent woman- top of the class throughout highschool and in university.
    I was raised in a church were women wear headcoverings to show subservience.
    I still struggle to believe women have equal worth, talent and intelligence.

    I supported the patriarchal teachings of our church because I didn’t have the emotional security to challenge those in highest authority in my life. My social survival depended on me upholding their values for them.
    Those men who weren’t preaching it were still upholding it by their silence. If they had revolted and said ‘We refuse to believe women’s main purpose is to serve men”, things may have changed. They did nothing and so helped maintain it. Those men who watched their daughters be cut, placed in purdah or have their feet by bound and said nothing are also guilty.

    It is true that this paradox of self-subjugation is a human trait, not just a female one. There are accounts of many slaves returning to their previous masters once freed. That struggle for equality is still going on and its been many many years after emancipation!

    Hinting that women aren’t as smart as men or they wouldn’t treat themselves so poorly is close to victim blaming. By a woman identifying herself with a male intelligence, she can safely call other females not as intelligent with no personal repercussions.
    It seems similar to those women jurors who blame rape victims instead of rapists. That way they maintain an illusion of security. It was that stupid slutty woman’s fault- I’m not like her. I’m safe. It was that stupid unintelligent woman’s fault. I’m not like her. I’m safe.

    I find that men tend to have deeper conversations with a woman than with a man. I think this isn’t because one gender is deeper and the other more shallow, but because we can often be more vulnerable with someone of a different gender as we don’t have to compete with them on the same level.

    Those women who are subjugating themselves and other women aren’t doing it because they are choosing between treating humans decently or being mean. They feel they are choosing survival for themselves.

    Not everyone is strong enough to think for themselves and face the consequences that come with it. Not everyone will face the same consequences.

  • 40. Eve's Apple  |  September 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Have you ever noticed how often that “cultural/training/brainwashing” argument is trotted out in reference to women, but hardly ever when it comes to men? After a while, it really does sound like women are powerless to change their destiny–look at how everything is stacked against us.

    Men, on the other hand, don’t seem to be so constricted by their upbringing or training or culture. They are more free to act for themselves even if they go along with the crowd–nobody is saying that they are doing so because they have been conditioned to do so.

    I say we either give this line of argument a rest or apply it equally to men and women. Everyone is different, everyone makes his or her choices. Some are influenced by the crowd, some are not. And there are people of both sexes who choose to oppress because that is what they want to do.

    I am a little tired of hearing about big bad patriarchy holding women back yet not one word about what we do to ourselves. Right now my community theater is doing “The Crucible”. I might write a blog on that as that is a whole subject of its own. But it is very interesting that while the power structures in Salem were male, it was young girls and women who started the whole witch hysteria by pointing out various townspeople who they claimed bewitched them. The men themselves did not go out looking for witches. Left to themselves, probably nothing would have happened. So in the end, it was really this gang of teenage and preteenage girls who had the real power in Salem.

  • 41. CheezChoc  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    And then there’s my SIL, who will sit there and tell you how society puts men down all the time, as if they were oppressed.
    I’m sure she heard it from her pastor.

  • 42. DSimon  |  September 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Have you ever noticed how often that “cultural/training/brainwashing” argument is trotted out in reference to women, but hardly ever when it comes to men? [...] I say we either give this line of argument a rest or apply it equally to men and women.

    The reason that explanation isn’t applied to men is because the same disadvantages (relative lack of pay, reduced access to business and academic positions) don’t apply to men. An explanation applying to men would have to show why men seem to be more successful, not less.

  • 43. DSimon  |  September 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    (Could someone please fix the blockquotes in my above comment delete this one?)

  • 44. prairie nymph  |  September 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Good point DSimon.

    I meant to point out that men are also subject to censorship if they choose to step outside of the line that upholds status quo. They just often have different rewards and punishments for it.

    If a father in foot-binding China were to rebel and demand that his daughter not be crippled, he would also have consequences. His daughter would have more, perhaps, but imagine the social fallout he would have. Could he rebel? If he couldn’t, could the mother or the daughter rebel? What would be the consequences for them?

    If a person is going to truly stand up for someone who is being abused, that person will often receive similar abuse. People don’t like to do that. A white person who married a black person in certain places and times was treated by society like a black person.
    Often men who treated women as equals did recieve fallout. Look at how our society treats stay-at-home dads.
    In my church, a man who believed women shouldn’t be submissive was never allowed into a leadership position and often looked at with suspicion as ‘effeminate’. That is a consequence.

    Read _Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman_ by Phyllis Chesler.

  • 45. Cheeseman  |  September 27, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Yawn. Who cares. Cheap energy has allowed bitches out of the kitchen. Soon they’ll go back and be the foundation of families and households as nature intended. Fight it if you wish, but its genetic destiny.

  • 46. Celsium conversion | Averyentp  |  May 31, 2011 at 11:29 am

    [...] Hip-Hop, Religion and the Subjection of Women « de-conversionJuly 27, 2007 … Where should the finger point when blame is being distributed for the subjection of women? Surely there is someone to hold culpable for such an archaic view against half of the world’s population. … Do we blame the men who hold to these views? Yes, of course. However, the truth is that they are only acting… [...]

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Attention Christian Readers

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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