TruthSeeker0

My slow liberation from the patriarchy

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You can take the woman out of religious patriarchy, but you can't take the patriarchy out the woman, at least not very easily. That's what I've learned in the last two years. I want to speak about this topic, because I've considered myself a liberated woman (even before I left religion, as ironic as that is). But sometimes, you don't see the ropes, until there's another mind shift, and only then do you see the ropes that were tying you down. I want to speak in particular to any women out there, particularly those of the ex fundamentalist variety. Maybe they might benefit in some small measure by this insight.

 

The patriarchy is so invisible sometimes, that even we women don't recognize it, or how it works. In particular, it's difficult to see if it has been upheld in some ways by the women around you, who have played a large role in your life. I have a relatively forward thinking mom. She always impressed upon me that it was OK to desire the best of both worlds, a career, a husband, and a family. However, even if it wasn't said, it was taken for granted that every woman in the church wanted a husband and family. You were abnormal somehow if you expressed another wish. I was one of the ones that actually wanted a husband and family, so I never struggled with that issue. I always struggled more with what I wanted in building a career. But I excelled in education and I loved learning and would have continued down the academic path as a career, if things hadn't become so challenging on some levels.

 

Anyway, fast forward to my mid 30s, and deconversion, at which time I started to pick apart the patriarchy on a whole other level, and recognize how religion had influenced and ordered my life. One of the first things I did relatively soon after escaping the church was join the dating world. That can be summed up in one word: disillusionment.

A few people close to me questioned this. Didn't I want to find out who I was without religion first? Why didn't I take some time? I myself figured I was doing it because, well, I could (dating outside of the church was outlawed and I had no interest within the church).

Well, fast forward one year later, and another mind shift, and I can tell you guys, I'm unsure how many fetters of the religious patriarchy are left to tie me down, but some clearly were. It's so difficult to recognize how deeply we have internalized all the messages in religion, culture, the surrounding world around us. I somehow thought I was immune to all the messaging in the church that a woman is less/diminished without a man in her life, but no, I had internalized that on a deep level, and the first thing I wanted to do after getting the hell out of the church was find myself someone, and prove that I was an equal to all those women (and the system as a whole) that had made me feel less than. In hindsight, it's so easy to recognize this motivation. But, I've only been able to recognize it now that I've made a more conscious decision, because I really want to, to exit the dating scene and focus on my own life and finding my own happiness.  It really doesn't matter how much of a liberated woman you tell yourself you are. You're only liberated when you begin to truly believe that your value isn't tied to any other person, or relationship. And the patriarchy, particularly the religious variety, will have you think otherwise.

 

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Excellent! There is a saying that the unexamined life is not worth living. Finding out what you are about, what makes you resonate, is key to enjoying life.

 

I've seen women leave husbands after years of marriage because they had married out of expectations. They said that they needed to explore who they really are inside. One lady discovered she was gay, another is straight but needed a new direction in life that her previous husband wasn't part of. The church is so big on ROLES, but that is such an antiquated view of life. We have so many options available today. So here's to you finding yourself!

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On 10/5/2018 at 1:13 AM, Fuego said:

Excellent! There is a saying that the unexamined life is not worth living. Finding out what you are about, what makes you resonate, is key to enjoying life.

 

I've seen women leave husbands after years of marriage because they had married out of expectations. They said that they needed to explore who they really are inside. One lady discovered she was gay, another is straight but needed a new direction in life that her previous husband wasn't part of. The church is so big on ROLES, but that is such an antiquated view of life. We have so many options available today. So here's to you finding yourself!

Thanks! It's actually pretty thrilling and exciting to look at life in an entirely different way than I have previously. But it also makes me sad for all the women (and men) out there that are still stuck in these roles and haven't realized that they don't have to play them, and that their lives aren't failures in any way if they don't live up to cultural or social norms or expectations. The key thing here is not to give a fuck about the messages that the surrounding society or people give you. First it was religion, but now I'm finding that I've started re-examining/critiquing my views and expectations in a lot of other areas. The really great thing about it is that risk taking, and daring greatly, as Brene Brown puts it, aren't nearly as daunting anymore. Half of our fears/limitations are likely based on "what should I do?" instead of "what would I like to do?"

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14 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Half of our fears/limitations are likely based on "what should I do?" instead of "what would I like to do?"

 

Let's engrave that one on a brass plaque!

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Even after my husband and I worked together to reconfigure our marriage, he still has to remind me sometimes that we don’t have to have the same opinion. I don’t have to stroke his ego. Dismantle the patriarchy!

 

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Hi, TS0!

I too thought I was fairly progressive. However, patriarchy and misogyny have a way of infecting the deepest processes in our psyche. I suspect I'll be "housekeeping" my brain until I die!

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On 10/6/2018 at 8:50 PM, TruthSeeker0 said:

Half of our fears/limitations are likely based on "what should I do?" instead of "what would I like to do?"

 

On 10/6/2018 at 9:05 PM, older said:

 

Let's engrave that one on a brass plaque!

 

Yup! I'm afraid that with most of the major decisions I've made in my life, my primary way of determining what to do next is to ask "what should I do?" That isn't necessarily a bad question, but I've mostly answered the question by imagining what is expected of me, rather than what I actually wanted. And often that imagining is just that... imagination! Who knows whether people really expect one thing or another, or whether anyone cares!? It's a stupid way to do life.

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1 hour ago, Lerk said:

(Is there no way to delete a reply?)

 

 

Not as far as I know.  But you can edit a post to remove everything except maybe a "Deleted!" or "Duplicate Post!" note.

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