Blogging update

It's been several months since I posted anything, and some readers have asked me about my plans. In short, I don't know.I've been blogging (first at No Longer Quivering, then on my own) for four years. I began with a heap of stories about fundamentalism and the act of leaving that I felt needed to be told. In 2009, I still felt like I had invented leaving the Message of the Hour, and was unable to talk to anyone in my new life about religion without inspiring pity or utter confusion. NLQ helped me find community, and my blog subsequently connected me with a group of ex-Message believers, … [Continue reading...]

The Fistfight Fallacy: rape culture’s ahistorical premise

Trigger warning: I'm fighting back against a rape apologist's claim, and some of this material may be triggering.Inevitably, when you write about patriarchy, you get "schooled" by some asshat who informs you that society itself is founded on the threat of rape. That men are bigger and stronger and have always been able to coerce women into sex, and that fact is the simple biological root of patriarchy that cannot be expunged by a bunch of PC feminist mumbo-jumbo. It's an argument that persists because I think a lot of people, even feminists, find it depressingly believable. But there are a … [Continue reading...]

Sexism, Judgment Day and Forgetting as a Survival Skill

Sometimes, my mind goes through a litany of abuse that I can't stop. From my father's intimidation to the men in trucks who ran me off the road making obscene gestures to the men who followed me through city streets swearing at me for ignoring their sexual advances. From my pastor screaming about uppity women daring to go to work to the mechanics who insist I don't know what I know about my own car. Most of the time, I can't stop this litany. It's like a ritual. My mind cycles through the list despite my efforts to turn it off. It doesn't want to forget. I want to forget.I've long … [Continue reading...]

A Sober Second Look writes about Islamophobia

I want to recommend this recent post on A Sober Second Look:A Sober Second Look: On othering and "feeling sick" Posters and commenters in particular in some of these [fundamentalist survivor] blogs (and others like them) sometimes use a sort of short-hand that expresses that certain ideas, practices and institutions are oppressive:a fundamentalist, controlling Christian community is a “fundystan” any oppressive, hyper-controlling church or group is a “taliban” conservative Christian teachings (especially on women’s roles) are a “mental burka” to question and reject said teaching … [Continue reading...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy, epilogue: What does leaving fundamentalism look like?

Occasionally, I get asked whether or not I ever actually left my old fundamentalist church. My story on No Longer Quivering followed my journey up to the first year of college. I've wrestled with how to explain what happened in a proper narrative form, because the circumstances that led to my cutting ties completely with the church ranged from financial to emotional to practical to ideological. There's not a clear, linear story from here on out, just a constellation. But I've decided that it's high time to tie up the loose ends and explain how, exactly, I cut and run.When I first went to … [Continue reading...]

Activism fatigue and the work of changing minds

I have been teaching as part of my graduate school career for more than a year now. It's intense work. Some find it invigorating and exciting; I find it grueling. Teaching engages the same part of my brain that writing about the Religious Right does; it forces me to listen carefully to ideas I find distasteful, to be willing to poke around in the nuts and bolts of those ideas until I've found the root of the problem, and then point others at that root and ask them to think about how to extract it. Teaching is about unsettling things and making people uncomfortable with their own … [Continue reading...]

What my feminism is, and why I’m not okay with “mansplaining”

I grew up on anti-feminist propaganda. I heard that they were ball-busting man-haters before I had any idea what that meant, much less thought about identifying as one of them. There's nothing remotely original about my journey from patriarchal indoctrination (having male friends because I thought girls were "boring") to ambivalence ("I'm not a feminist, but...") to acceptance of the history and meaning of the feminist identity. It took me the usual number of years to work my way through that mess, process the emotions, and embrace feminism as a name for something precious to me.As a … [Continue reading...]

We are not the enemies of our best selves

I've spent the past few years very plugged in to social justice media. When I get my news, for good or ill, it's about the progress or regress of the social issues I care about. The rest of the time, I don't pay attention. Issues that don't elicit an intellectual or emotional response in me don't rise to the surface, because they don't show up on the blogs I read or the pages of friends with similar interests. This model for receiving news has taken a bit of a toll on me lately. I'm tired; tired of reacting, of imagining, and of trying to solve the problems that stream in unceasingly from all … [Continue reading...] Purity Culture is Rape Culture

Trigger warning: The linked article contains a graphic description of gang rape. In fact, the warning applies to all of the links in this post.E.J. Graff at The American Prospect writes, in Purity Culture is Rape Culture: Too many people still conceive of rape as a man’s overwhelming urge to enjoy the body of a woman who has provoked him by being attractive and within reach. As is true in many “traditional” cultures, much of India still imagines that the violation was one against her chastity.... But conceiving it as primarily a sexual violation places the burden on women to protect th … [Continue reading...]

Secular fasting: finding spirituality in the process, not the goal

*Trigger warning: Personal talk about fasting with a (mostly controlled) eating disorder to follow. Please don't read if you think this could harm you. I do not recommend fasting as a healthy habit for eating-disordered people as a category. The work I've done over the years to know my triggers means I'm assured that fasting itself won't become an addiction or compulsion for me, but it might have done in years past. If you find something of value in fasting or what I've said about it, please use it in love and knowledge of - and respect for - your own body.I never fasted for religious … [Continue reading...]

Are you part of the pants, pants revolution?

2012-13 is the Winter of the Pants. Will you join the party?On December 16, 2012, Mormon feminists declared Wear Pants to Church Day, inviting participants to, well, wear pants to church, 'in solidarity with those of us who seek gender equality everywhere, including the LDS church. And when somebody asks you why you are dressed a little differently, take a moment to tell them. This is our opportunity to make it known: “We are here! We are here! We are here! We are here!”'The common reaction from the unchurched (or those in mainstream or liberal churches) might be "How can this possi … [Continue reading...]

We thought modesty made us timeless

I grew up wearing "holiness." I'll wait for a moment so you can finish making jokes. You know you want to.Usually associated with Pentecostals, "holiness" dress has several elements:Long skirts and dresses, usually floor length No close-fitting or "stretch" clothing unless it's oversized Uncut hair (no trimming allowed in my church) No makeup Minimal jewelryThe reasoning behind this uniform is that clothing should express your personality and your commitment to modesty (and by extension, your commitment to God and your future husband). It should draw attention to your … [Continue reading...]