Worthwhile Reads: On “Honoring” Women

You should read Darcy’s insightful piece, “You’re Not Being Insulted, You’re Being Honored.” Here’s an excerpt:

Because … it’s not hurtful to be told you cannot have your own vision or calling for your life, you must take on the vision and calling of whatever man you are given to.

It’s not insulting to be told that your natural gifts, talents, dreams, and desires are never to be fulfilled because you have a vagina and must spend your life fulfilling someone else’s. That these dreams and talents are from Satan, a distraction from what you really should be doing.

As if changing the definitions of words and actions, and saying these over and over again, changes the words and actions themselves and causes us to believe that up is down and right is wrong. That disrespect is actually honor and being put down is actually being lifted up. That being limited and bound is actually being freed and valued.

The Cold, Unforgiving World of Geoffrey Botkin
What Courtship Was for Me
What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
When Marriage Looks Like the Only Escape
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot.com jw

    Your post reminds me somewhat of when a couple get married the next question is are you going to have kids. This is the vagina thing isn’t it? I thought I would never get married. I never wanted to because I saw how my parents marriage ended and what happened there. I was content to stay single. I told people that for me to get married the girl really has to sweep me off my feet and then it happened all the way to the Philippines. I was married at age 32. Now I get these questions of if we are going to have kids or not. I find it annoying and depending on who asks me and how it is asks I will either answer in a polite way or a confrontational way.

    Libby, let me put the ball in your court now, you have a little one and I believe you are pregnant now? The reason you are having kids is……?


    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      I’m not sure why you phrased your question like a “gotcha” question. I’m having kids for many reasons. I’m having kids because I like kids. I’m having kids because they’re fun, adorable, challenging, and rewarding. I’m having kids because I like the idea of a family life that involves children, with all of the looking at pond water through microscopes and playing Risk late into the night that goes along with that. I’m having kids for lots of different reasons, but I think what is important is that I’m not having kids because it’s some sort of default or because it’s “what I’m supposed to do.”

  • AnotherOne

    @JW, I’m confused–why would you ask Libby about her reproductive choices after saying that it annoys you when people ask you about yours? Perhaps I misunderstood your comment?

    • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot.com jw

      I ask because she has already had a child and she says growing up quiverful the parents teacher the girls how to be good wives and moms, etc. She left this all but she still had a child. I wondered about her reasons for motherhood and if it had any ties to quiverful or something totally different.

      I don’t have any kids because I don’t know if I could handle kids personally. Whether my wife and I have any kids we really don’t know. I am thinking we may never have kids but life could surprise us at any time.

      Now, I hope my question isn’t too in your face. At time I may have a tendency to ask an innocent question but it appear to be too bold and too in your face and not realize it. It tends to be how my mind thinks.

      • Rosie

        As a childfree-by-choice person, it does seem funny to me that strangers think nothing of asking why I don’t want kids, but so few ask those with children why they DO want kids. As if having kids is somehow the default option for adults. (Same for getting married, before I actually got talked into that one.)

  • David K

    Seems a lot like Orwellian Newspeak. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Doubleplus ungood.

  • Emma

    Last fall, I wrote a huge paper on the disability rights movement (I have a mild muscular dystrophy myself). And I have to say, your criticisms of the concept of “honoring” women reminds me a lot of the criticisms of the medical model of disability.

    If you’re not familiar with the medical model, here’s a brief model. The medical model views disability solely as a medical condition that requires medical treatment. By contrast, the social model views disability as a social issue, where many (if not all) of the problems are caused by social prejudice and barriers. Take the example of someone in a wheelchair who can do a deskjob, but cannot get to work. The medical model would say that there is nothing to be done until we develop medical treatments enable that person to walk again. The social model, on the other hand, would say that it’s society’s fault for not having wheelchair-accessible streets, transport, and buildings that would allow a person in a wheelchair to get to work.

    The parallel to “honoring” women comes from the fact that, historically, the medical model has usually advocated putting disabled people in institutions or hospitals where they’ll be taken care of for the rest of their lives. The social model argues that taking care of the disabled is not only inadequate but insulting, and we need to make accommodations that will let disabled people live as independently as possible. It’s a lot like the difference bewteen CP/QF folks, who argue that women are “weaker vessels” that need to be cared for and protected, versus most normal people, who advocate women being able to take care of themselves.

    Admittedly, the analogy is imperfect. Women don’t need accommodations to work and live independently the way a lot of disabled people do (other than perhaps more parent-friendly work policies). Plus, there are probably some people with disabilities who are so severely impaired that, barring better medical treatments, they’ll probably never be able live independently. Still, the parallels are interesting.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      That might be true for the older generation of doctors but at least in my classes we are teaching a model that’s a mixture of the old medical model + the social model + “I don’t know how it’s called in english but implies grade of functionality with adaptations” method when evaluating not only disability but older patients and mental illnesses. In general stuff that was considered an illness or a disability, it isn’t considered so now if the person is capable of living a normal life (in the socioeconomiccultural standard of that person) with the adaptations necessaries (wheelchair ramps in buildings, …). Their lives might not look exactly the same as the norm but if they are fullfilling for the individual then they are normal.

      English isn’t my first language so this might have come out wrong.

      • Emma

        You’re right, I should have specified that I meant the old, pre-disability rights movement medical model. My experiences with with disability specialists have been excellent (I have a myopathy, and was born post-ADA).