sometimes trying to be helpful to women isn’t

It’s this kind of thing that really pisses me off. Someone alerted me that this image was being used on a Facebook page, One Million Vaginas. I contacted them and they appear to have taken it down. I don’t blame OMV, but the creator of this idiotic and misogynist meme. I even contacted imgflip but they were unable to help me find it amongst there millions of images. Not their fault either. It’s the creator I’m after.

But it is a mystery to me why some feminist sites like it.

The problem isn’t that they use my original art, Sophia “Trapped”. The problem is that they alter it without my permission, which is strictly against copyright laws.

But that isn’t what really pisses me off. The real problem is that in an attempt to advocate for women they actually demean them. Let me explain.

Anybody with any sense at all should realize what this caption means. It doesn’t mean that it is terrible that women are hated within religion. That would be a decent discussion. No! It means that women are stupid for being religious. It means that if a woman is in a situation where she is hated, it is her own stupidity that put her there where she essentially subjects herself to hatred and abuse. In a nutshell, it victimizes the victims. It blames the victims for being hated and abused. It blames Sophia for being there because she is within Christianity.

So the meme is not for women because it is against religious women. A good feminist advocates for all women, not just non-religious ones.

Some shallow-minded individual thought they he or she was being smart and showed their true disdain for women who are religious and therefore deserve everything they get.

I just wanted to make that clear. If you ever come across this meme I would appreciate your support for my art as well as for women and ask them to remove it. Thanks. That would be cool.

*** By the way, all my artwork, including my Sophias, paintings, cartoons and prints are 40% for a little while longer. You can even get a print of Sophia “Trapped” if you want! Go here to shop! Use the coupon code “graduate” (because my wife just graduated from university with her nursing degree)!

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • TiggyTiger

    What’s wrong with what they put?

  • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

    Did you read the rest of the post?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Ya, i thought my commentary made that clear.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chiefupstart Jeff Denton

    Because it’s exactly the same as saying, “There is no logic in women supporting a man that hates them unless they hate themselves.” See how that works?

  • Pat68

    I have seen one of my atheist Facebook friends share this meme before.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    I see how that works Jeff but it’s still sexist. A woman may easily leave a man. It’s another thing for a woman to leave a religion, especially if it is a part of her culture, like Christianity in the States, or Islam in Saudi Arabia.

  • sarahoverthemoon

    Also, many women who are with men who hate them are being abused. It’s not easy to just leave, and shaming that woman for not leaving is victim blaming.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Let’s blame the slaves!

  • Adam Julians

    “it is a mystery to me why some feminist sites like it … The real problem is that in
    an attempt to advocate for women they actually demean them”.

    Yeah I hear ya being pissed off – seems we both have been pissed off recently!

    I wonder why it is that you are pissed off, some femimists like it and tiggy wonders what is wrong with what they put.

    When I encountered sexism in the church, altough in my case it was a woman towards a man (me) rather than a man towards a woman, I pointed out the issue in the church and I was blamed. And it was hearbreaking. So I understand what it means for a victim to be vicitmised,

    I can see the point you want to make David, that the poster in it adding insult to injury for someone. And I understand you being pissed off with that.

    Could it not also be looked on in another way, that religion has caused Sophia to hate herself through the indoctrination and be encouraging women to escape and find freedom from such religion to a place of healing from self hatred and community that is more healthy than the opressive religious forces that are depicted in the picture. Just a suggestion.

    I don’t know it that helps with how you are feeling, but might explain why some feminists like it.

    Peace.

  • Adam Julians

    Is it always helpful to see women as victims? I hear the points below about a woman supporting a man that hates them, about a difference between a woman leaving a man and leaving a religion and it not being easy for a woman to leave a man and shaming a woman for not leaving being unhelpful.

    What I would like to see a little moe of is women who ahve been through this kind of ordeal expereincing greater empowerment by being called survivors rather than victims. I also thing there are steps to take that could resolve situations rather than leaving being the fist option. If there is repentance on the part of the institition or man that is being opressive and the woman perhaps haveing separated for a while and with healing and self- esteem gained from a place of safety and support can re-enter the relationship or institution in a healthy way then isn’t that worht considering?

    Sadly sometimes institutions or people (I call it people because sometimes women are the abusers and men on the receiving end of that) cannot or will not change and then the person on the reciving end of it is left with the difficult choice of remaining in relationship or leaving. Not easy in either case. Which is why there is such need for supportive people and communities.

  • Gary

    I totally get it David…and I would be pissed too. Not only have they stolen your image for their purposes…but they have changed your message into one of their own which is not true to your intent.

  • Caryn LeMur

    First, I would like to explore this conversation further. However, there seems to be no setting in Disqus for ‘send me the comments, all of them as they are posted, to my yahoo address’. Instead, I come back in 2 days, and find the conversation/comments. And… the liveliness of the blog discussion is lost.
    I do not check this NP site 4 times a day or more… I check all my emails 4 times a day or more.
    Soooo, how does one set ‘send me all comments and replies to my yahoo’ in this Disquis?
    Help? Caryn

  • Caryn LeMur

    Next, no matter if I use one or two ‘hard returns’ to format my paragraphs, Disqus smashes them all together, making the reader work twice as hard… not good. How does one set the ‘hard returns’ in their text?
    Sincerely; Caryn

  • keithdavie

    David, I was quite surprised by this one. Not by the image or message, but by your reaction to it. Reading through the meme, several times, I still couldn’t come up with your reaction to it.
    Not to say that it couldn’t be seen as damning of women who are religious – obviously from your reaction it could be. But no matter how I look at it, I see a damning of the institutions within religious organizations that objectify and demean women, not of the women themselves.
    Perhaps I have a strong naive streak to my soul. Or perhaps there’s a bit of love missing from your reaction? Maybe – just maybe – the person who used your work in this way really did have their heart in the right place, and it’s your vision that is clouded?
    Just a thought.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Hi Caryn: Go to http://disqus.com… you may have to log in. Under personal settings and email notifications click on “notify me of replies to my comments”… or “subscribe to threads I comment on”… Thanks! :)

  • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

    There is also an RSS for just the comment feed, at the bottom of the page. and a link to “subscribe via email”– that might work?

  • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

    That was my initial thought, as well, the first time I saw one of these floating around FB. I gave it a cursory look and interpreted it as criticizing misogynistic religion. And, as David pointed out– that’s a good discussion point.

    I think we can all agree that the point of this image is to show how
    women can be victimized by misogynistic interpretations of Scripture,
    and that it’s a shame that it happens.

    But after reading this post and re-reading the image’s caption, I realize it’s two parts that take it from that simple point to one that blames women (i.e. the victims) themselves:

    1) rather than simply saying “there’s no logic in supporting a religion…”, it specifies “there’s no logic in WOMEN supporting a religion…”. This puts the onus only on women to support or reject a misogynistic religion– not on ALL of us, as humankind, to do so.

    2) “…unless they hate themselves”. Again, this is placing blame squarely on the victim. Would anyone dare say such a thing to a woman unable to leave an abusive relationship? Maybe on an academic level, when studying the psychology of it, we might point to self-esteem issues and the like. But would we use that to shame women further? No, we show support and encouragement for such women, because they are the victims, plain and simple, and their abusers 100% to blame.

    So while yes, the meme DOES attack religion for demeaning and victimizing women (which was the original point of the original cartoon), it ALSO attacks (or at least shifts blame to) the victim herself.

  • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

    Could possibly be a browser issue? I just wrote a long comment with plenty of line breaks and they show up fine, but I do recall having encountered this issue on another website, earlier on. Try another browser, or update your current one?

  • Caryn LeMur

    I am not so sure I agree with the slave analogy for an abusive relationship. I lean towards the dance partner analogy in abuse relationships:

    - the lead partner must realize the ‘dance steps’ and determine if he/she wishes to stop the dance;
    - the follow partner must also realize when they are within the steps of the dance, and often walk away from the dance floor.

    If I counsel a couple that dances, then I offer that each of them must take responsibility… and if not both of them, then one must take responsibility to end the dance. I teach them that they will also grieve the loss of the dance (sounds crazy, but the abuse-dance has become normal to them…)… and that they will be in shock/denial, anger, bargaining, and even depression as they learn a less destructive dance.

    In that sense, the woman that is with a man that hates her, must accept some ‘blame’ (though I prefer the word ‘responsibility’). She must see the dance steps on the floor (in her mind, of course), and see how she is taking two-steps left, and then right, and then a turn… all the signals that the abuse dance is ok, is normal, and needs the partner to continue. Teaching each person to take responsibility is not ‘victim blaming’ – but if she (or he) refuses responsibility, then the victim (be it male or female) is to blame.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Caryn LeMur

    Honestly, I do not have a strongly negative reaction to the slogan that was added to David’s cartoon. I have worked in logic systems for 28 years; I have been a follower of Christ for longer.

    I offer that there are systems of logic and systems of hope. Much of my computer training, evidence training, etc. is built on systems of logic. However, I lean towards a statement made by the author of the Letter to the Collosians: that your faith and love spring from the hope that is within you. Thus, a religion is not built on a system of logic, but is built on a system of hope – the hope of avoiding divinely inflicted pain and/or the hope of gaining divinely given blessing/closeness (for traditional American Christianity) [or the hope of avoiding bringing shame to the family and/or the hope of basking in the applause of the family unit (for forms of Islam) ].

    This is not a difference of using either using ‘meters’ or ‘inches’. By analogy, a system of logic uses meters; but the systems of hope use musical taste. The difference between using a system of logic for a measurement of correctness vs. using a system of hope for a measurement of correctness, is immense.

    Thus, I logically agree with the slogan added to David’s cartoon. But… since the slogan is discussing religion by using logic, I shrug off the slogan. So what? We do not use logic to discern the pulsing beauty of a concerto in D Minor on oboe…. nor do we use logic to determine the correctness of religion.

    We use a system of hope – try these questions: Does the religion give hope? From that religion do faith and love spring forth? Does the religion give despair? From that religion do fear and self-loathing spring forth? Does the religion give the hope of a reduced burden or an increased burden (on the devotee)? Does the religion give you the hope of authentic internal peace by transforming you internally or does it give you good citizenship by conforming you externally? Does the religion favor titles and being applauded by men, or does it give you the hope of being receiving God’s applause? These are questions based on a system of hope, rather than a system of logic. [And indeed, these are many of the questions that Jesus addressed while on the earth.]

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn


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