Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In which I rant

I worry that agnosticism coupled with budding feminism has turned me into a bore. I have become quite a bit more sensitive to male privilege, especially when that privilege is endorsed by religion. I read about and talk about these issues more and more. Unfortunately, most of my family and friends are tolerant but uninterested. They don't share my outrage and are (most likely) too polite to risk an argument. My attempts at conversation are turning into lectures, which is not at all what I want.

At the same time, I am frustrated by bigoted and sexist attitudes among my family and friends - attitudes that I trace back to the religion I was raised in. I see them clinging to a faith that I can't share; I don't understand why they stay when, to me, logic dictates that they should go. I assume that they are afraid; that threats of damnation are enough to keep them yoked. It is especially frustrating to see women accepting and reinforcing the idea that they are less important than men, pushing themselves and each other towards marriage and family because they have been told that it's their highest calling - told so by men - and then berating themselves for selfishness and other perceived faults when this achievement of marriage and family is not fulfilling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against marriage or children, but I think people (especially women) can afford to put it off for a few years. I've known too many girls who never bothered to develop any skills because their entire purpose in life was to get married as soon as possible and raise a family. These girls had no one telling them that they were just as capable as the boys and could achieve just as much. How much talent has the world squandered by not encouraging the girls?

I think these topics hit me so hard because I never did achieve that so-called highest calling for women: finding a husband and raising babies. Now, in my mid-30s, I'm angry because I spent so long clinging to a hope that one day, some man would give me value; beating myself up because I didn't think I was pretty/nice/thin/interesting enough. But even while I craved the validation that would come with it, I was so very afraid of being forced into a mold of the perfect wife and mother. I worried that I could never be enough.

I'm angry today because I didn't realize that I *did* have value. I had it all along. Humanity, sentience, intelligence; this is what gives me value. Not my weight, not my appearance, not the approval of men. And yet, I'm still inhibited and uncertain. I stumble over words, I start sentences with "Ummm...", I don't assert myself. Most importantly, I don't try for the things that I want. Logic and action are separate entities. Maybe in that way, I do still have a kinship with people who can't abandon their faith.