Worthwhile Reads: Modesty, Fear, and Exploitation

Sierra on Modesty and False Empowerment

If other people can’t listen to your ideas because they’re too focused on your breasts, they are the ones disrespecting you. Changing yourself to suit them does not change their basic lack of respect for you as a person, it just satisfies their demands and causes them to stop pressuring you. That’s not empowerment, it’s just the relative absence of shaming.

A Sober Second Look on How We Were Sold On Patriarchal Religion: Reason #142

In a word, fear.

We were afraid of so many things: Hell. The Day of Judgment. Temptation. The end of the world. What if our kids refused to pray once they reached the age of 10. The angels cursing us. Losing our faith. Our kids trying drugs. The coming of the Dajjal (AntiChrist). What the community would think if we did X, or said Y. Ideas that threatened our view of the world. (Unwed) teenage pregnancy. The Torture of the Grave. Our kids leaving Islam. Celebrating non-Muslim holidays. God’s anger. The future. Conspiracies by the “enemies of Islam” against Muslims. The persecution of the believers that will come at the end of the world….

Looking back, I’d say that most of what we were afraid of was ourselves. Our own shadows. And that our fears were masterfully exploited, in order to control us.

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://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

    For the record, we fundie Jews have a similar brand of crazy:
    http://thelakewoodview.com//reader-submitted-from-bnos-yaakov/

  • Steve

    Fear and guilt are really what most of organized religion is about. Not just when it comes to patriarchy and authority, but everything about them. At least the Abrahamic ones.

  • Ismenia

    I’m always very dubious about claims that covering up = respect. Most occasions I have been hassled by men I have not been wearing revealing clothes. The time I had a man come up to me in a shop and ask to have sex with me I was wearing an old pair of jeans, a polar necked jumper and a heavy winter coat. I’ve had men beep the horns or shout things when I was wearing a long coat and a hat. By contrast I seem to have less trouble when I’m dressed up to go out or wearing my summer dresses.

    My sister, who likes to dress “provocatively” (intentionally, she likes to have an effect on men) gets approached by strange men far less frequently than I do. My mother says its because she comes across as more intimidating while I am more approachable and also more polite.

    • Conuly

      Apparently, dressing in more revealing clothing reads as being more confident. People don’t mess with confident folks.

  • ScottInOH

    I wasn’t paying much attention and totally thought I was reading a quotation from a conservative Christian site in box #2 until I read “Our kids leaving Islam.” More evidence for your argument that various fudamentalisms are essentially the same underneath!


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