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10:33 PM on 11/17/2012
I grew up evangelical as well and remember experiencing a tremendous amount of shame during puberty. It's sad. There's nothing wrong with women. There's nothing wrong with becoming a woman.

I have a hard time believing that God did not create us as equals. If Esther had been a "complementarian" wife, her people would have been slaughtered. God thought a woman was good enough to carry his son, and God thought women were good enough to prepare him for burial after his death. God made it so that it takes a man and a woman to reproduce, which indicates equality to me.
09:43 AM on 11/21/2012
Right. I also remember the shame... Shame about being a sexual person. Constantly avoiding sexual situations because you don't trust yourself. Thinking that virginity is the end all be all of everything. Believing that you will get some sort of fairytale marriage if you just do everything right. Knowing you'll never do everything right because you're too much of a sexual person. Repeate shame cycle...

I always liked Esther. She did what needed to be done to save her people. Women have been working behind the scenes for thousands of years. We just don't have our history recorded in books. I've come to believe that God, if he/she/it exists, gave me a mind for a reason. That's to use it. If that makes some church goers uncomfortable, so be it.
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LiberalLee
Yes I am a witch. Deal with it.
07:45 PM on 11/17/2012
If all that doesn't tell you what an artificial and SUPER-ficial world the evangelicals inhabit, nothing else will.
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methodman
12:18 PM on 11/17/2012
If I were a woman I would read she = Sheol, Her = Heresy, Eve = evil Ma + Lady = maladies Who is kidding who The evangelical community hates women read between the lines and stop defending it. Proud Ex-Evangelical Proud Ex-Baptist and I am a man but I believe woman should have and deserve equal rights.
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methodman
12:09 PM on 11/17/2012
Make no mistake about it! The Evangelical mission is to divorce you from reality just so you can quote their talking points so that you become a weed to education and in society.
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Hales Swift
12:05 PM on 11/17/2012
Given the Mormon angle, the story about Mary asking Jesus to turn water to wine is of particular interest. In the Joseph Smith translation, which can effectively be thought of as a set of inspired alternative readings, Jesus' response to his mother is, "Woman, what wilt thou have me to do for thee? that will I do; for mine hour is not yet come." So Mormons believe Jesus was polite to his mother.
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Linda Kay Klein
11:19 AM on 11/18/2012
Interesting!
11:56 AM on 11/17/2012
I am an evangelical, complementarian woman, but I could not identify with the emotions that you described in your article, of being ashamed to lose your girlhood. I believe that God has very important plans and purposes for women, not just men, and I do not associate the transition into womanhood with becoming overly sexualized. I guess when I think of being a woman, I think more of the Proverbs 31 woman, not a sexual "stumbling block." In fact, the virtue that that woman posesses is something that I strive for. Clearly, womanhood has always had a different connotation for me than it does for you, and I am sorry that you grew up in an environment where you had so much trouble coming to terms with womanhood.
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08:31 AM on 11/17/2012
" Girls are told that if they become the wrong kind of woman not only will their eternal life be threatened, but the eternal lives of men and boys who trip over them on their path to God will be at risk."

This is almost exactly like telling the kids that if they're naughty, Santa won't bring them presents. You're not telling them about the reality of the situation at all. You rely on a lie to make them behave as you want, because for some reason you think that truth isn't the way to go.

The afterlife is the lie that the churches and holy mensch use attempting to control you, and make you do what they want. Do as they want you to, and the ethereal Santa will shower you with presents. Otherwise, you'll be trapped in an ever burning coal fire.
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SmileAndActNice
Utilitarianism, the -ism that works.
08:36 PM on 11/18/2012
It's worse.

It's telling then that if they are naughty not only will Santa not bring them presents but Santa also won't bring presents to their brothers and it'll be all their fault if their brother doesn't get presents.
06:23 AM on 11/17/2012
Whatever the source, the obscene fairy tale of Adam and Eve, casting Eve forever as the evil person, is the bane of all religions who replay that story in any form. Essentially, it casts half the human race--female--as evil and bad in every way. And thus females can be perpetually abused. Any woman who does not understand this is just plainly stupid. And any modern woman who does not defy and fight against the discrimination and abuse wherever it arises is an enabler. This is why religion should die.
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SmileAndActNice
Utilitarianism, the -ism that works.
08:38 PM on 11/18/2012
Um dude.

If eve hadn't stolen fire from the gods ... Knowledge of fire at least ... Then she and Adam would still be laying around immortal in paradise and *** we wouldn't exist ***.

She gave up immortality for us.

Thank you Eve for our lives. Thank you Eve for our minds.

She is the mother of invention. The mother of us all.

Honor thy mother.
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Guys POV
I'm just here for the sideboob
10:11 PM on 11/18/2012
I think you're confusing Eve with Prometheus.
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Lisa Jey Davis
11:50 PM on 11/16/2012
Very interesting article! I too am an ex- of sorts... though I wouldn't say Evangelical.. more so an ex in the "born again" "bible is the word of God" realm... not that beliefs have anything to do with it... But I entered that world as a good Catholic girl, and found very many women just as you describe. I was the one who resisted hugging everyone during the "peace offering"... like 'I don't know you... why would I *hug* you'... But since then, I've found I am more of a girly girl than I ever would have expected. I am silly, goofy and outrageous, and I get away with it mostly because I am a girl... and that is completely fine with me! I never felt squashed into girlhood by my Christian community... I felt squashed in GENERAL... and as someone else said, who was raised by a Pedophile... these themes are not exclusive to Evangelicals... They are laced throughout our society, and always have been.. Women are fine, in their place.. whatever that means given the specific scenario... I say BE... just BE you. Count all the risks and still be who you are, because in the end, it won't matter what the hell anyone thinks!
10:09 PM on 11/16/2012
Love this article! Keep writing Linda...
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Debra Eve
Blogging at Later Bloomer -- stories to inspire ad
07:09 PM on 11/16/2012
The most insight Twilight analysis I've read. I applaud your courage and intelligence in writing it, Linda. I'm not from an evangelical background, but I know many women who are and you've nailed it. Like others, I encourage you to expand this into a book. Brava!
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12:32 PM on 11/17/2012
I second that rave review...as a recovered evangelical girl, I had the same insights into this series.
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Linda Kay Klein
11:11 AM on 11/18/2012
Thank you Debra Eve, bemidjigreen, and all those who suggested that this become a book. It is support I needed to hear! As it turns out, a book about my research on evangelical and ex-evangelical young women in their/our twenties is something that I have been working on for some time. You can read more about my process around the book at my blog www.manmadegirls.com.

Warmly,
Linda
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Seth Peck
04:43 PM on 11/16/2012
Thank for writing this, it paints a very different perspective than most ex-evangelical articles do.
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Andygirl A
angering at least one person a day since 1996
04:00 PM on 11/16/2012
I think I echo the other commenters here when I say this was an excellent article, very thought provoking, and should be a book!

I grew up Mormon and this spoke to me in many ways. but I was always the bad girl, never good at fitting in and suppressing myself. I had opinions, I was intrigued by sex, I tossed around profanities, I wore tank tops and bikinis (gasp!). and I was the girl they warn Mormon boys about, the temptress, the Eve. women are only two things in the Mormon world: innocents and mothers. as a girl, you protect your own virtue and the virtue of boys. as a mother, you protect your family's virtue. no room for someone who is neither.

but I didn't find the forever girlishness you describe and I haven't read the Twilight books. my memories contain innocent girls who can't wait to turn into mothers and who skip that whole womanly, sexy thing entirely.
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SmileAndActNice
Utilitarianism, the -ism that works.
08:42 PM on 11/18/2012
I always figured that if we're made to test men's self control them we have an obligation to do so.

=D

Seriously. Their entire argument is that we are tempting .... Never mind that men are also tempting ... Well god made Us this way. We are precisely what we are meant to be. So you are cheating on your divine test if you don't face and master the temptation.

Tsk tsk.
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Andygirl A
angering at least one person a day since 1996
12:09 PM on 11/19/2012
it's only an excuse so men don't have to take responsibility for their actions. that harlot tempted me! boohoo. nonetheless, I don't believe sex is evil much less that women are the root of it. and I like your style! I'm always living up to that obligation. hah!
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Brittany Binowski
Bringing sincerity back since 1988
02:04 PM on 11/19/2012
You grew up Mormon! Interesting...I must say that that religion has interested me quite a bit as of late. Growing up, I went to a Christian private school (6th-12th grade) and attended Catholic mass with my mom. I always thought Christianity was so boring. Like Christians could choose to believe anything -- literally anything -- and that's what they believe? Having the ability to become a god yourself just seems so much more...I don't know, liberating? I like it..

That being said, their stance on women's issues or roles in society is still confusing. Not a Mormon thing per se, but a Christian thing in general...

I guess I just never understood the religious perspective that women are dangerous. We're people after all. And what Eve did in the garden has absolutely nothing to do with me....

Can't a woman be sexy and responsible and virtuous at the same time?
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Andygirl A
angering at least one person a day since 1996
06:50 PM on 11/19/2012
oh yeah. I studied religions (among other things) in college and I still find the subject fascinating, but after many years, I've come to atheism. I still err on the spiritual when it comes to life and death and chi, etc (I tend to lean Toaist), but ideas like virtue and evil and sin, etc, are so rooted in religious dogma that I just prefer not to think in those terms. I think one can be a good person and have a moral compass sans fear of punishment from some god. I actually think making mistakes are important for human growth and acquiring knowledge and that sex is one of the most human and spiritual activities there is. we can be responsible (like you said) and live lives of altruism and goodness sans a deity and, quite often, moreso.  but, as the Dalai Llama said (paraphrasing), whatever boat gets you across the water. :)
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pennywhite
02:05 PM on 11/16/2012
This article could be a book. I hope you are considering it. I was not raised evangelical, but I was raised by a pedophile, and have experienced many of the same conflicts you described. I don't think this phenomenon is exclusive to the evangelical community, although it may be more pronounced there. More, please!
01:59 PM on 11/16/2012
In the Catholic world I grew up in there was more emphasis on us all becoming as neuter as possible...not strong men and women, but rigid and neuter persons. I think that you do have to rein people in, but probably not to that extent if you want healthy people...and it is pretty clear that we did not produce exclusively healthy people.