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Spinoff: religion and choice - Page 5

post #81 of 243
Quote:
Yes, but we do have a standard--treating other people as we would like to be treated. Keeping someone away from non-Christians, or spanking them, or whatever the case may be, is not mistreatment if the person agrees to it. But to impose your will on someone is not treating them as you would like to be treated (no one wants to be confined or hit nonconsensually).
I can think of lots of examples where imposing our will on others is considered the loving and right thing to do. Let's take the example of a teen who has acted out at school and gets detention for an afternoon. The teacher who imposes the detention is treating the teen in a way that the teacher themself would not want to be treated. The teen doesn't consent to it. Does that mean school detention is mistreatment and unChristian?

A parent might tell their ten-year-old that they cannot see an R-rated movie while at the same time get mad at anyone who told them they could not see the same movie. Does that mean it is unChristian to restrict kids' movies?

Now, before you say but that's different, those are children: I would say that the relationship set up in the Bible between husbands and wives has many similiarities with a parent/child relationship, or at least that it can reasonably and sincerely be interpreted that way. The wife is told to submit to her husband. Women are not to teach or be in authority over men. Women are told not to speak up in church. Women are called the "weaker vessel" (which yes I know could mean simply physically weaker but it can also be reasonably interpreted -- especially in the light of the story of Eve and Paul's other injunctions about women -- to mean spiritually weaker). The man is called the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of the Church.

Now I expect you will say, but the submissive wife relationship is consensual whereas the parent/child relationship is not; but to be honest I don't see anywhere in the relevant scriptures where Paul says "wives, submit to your husband if you think it is the right thing to do". It is presented as a command and the Right Way For Christan Wives To Act.

Now I understand that this is not how you see it, and I am not trying to change your mind. Actually I feel a little weird because I am in the position here of arguing a viewpoint I personally don't believe in. But I am trying to get you to see that your personal interpretation of this is not the ONLY valid interpretation. There is plenty of Biblical and commensense support for the interpretation that the husband is commanded to act as a benevolent authority over the wife, which would give him the right to discipline or restrict her if he felt it beneficial for her.

Quote:
but is there a *need* to use violence and coercion against your wife or children when no one is in danger?
I think the people who support this sort of thing would argue there is a spiritual danger. Like keeping your wife away from the non-christian neighbor or forbidding your children to study evolution because they could be spiritually led astray.

Quote:
"Submission" does have that negative connotation for many people. I don't think we're redefining it, though, just using it in a different sense.
I'd say it has that connotation for pretty much everyone except those within the circles that advocate submissive wives. I've thought about it and I can't think of a single instance where the word submissive is used in everyday life where it doesn't carry the connotation of an unequal relationship. Can you?

As for using it in a different sense, that's fine but when you use it with a different sense than the commonly accepted you should expect that people won't understand. Like, in this day and age, if you happen to be feeling particularly happy one day and tell your friend "I'm gay", of course she will think you are talking about your sexual orientation rather than your mood, regardless of what the dictionary definition is, KWIM?
post #82 of 243
Sorry, I was trying to fix this post and accidentally posted a second time.
post #83 of 243
Originally Posted by Shirelle

In particular, when dealing with the issue of submissive wives...many of these wives are making a conscious choice to be submissive. It may bring them a peace and fulfillment that a feminist just doesn't understand.


Why isn't this post condescending of feminists?
post #84 of 243
not condescending toward feminists, just stating a fact
post #85 of 243
So, are you guys all saying either you are submissive or a feminist?
post #86 of 243
Non-mod comment:

There's a book on Muslim women in Egypt (I know, bear with me) called Politics of Piety that argues that Muslim women who *choose* to become more religiously focused, including adopting more traditional/restrictive gender roles with their spouses, covering their heads, emphasizing modesty, etc. are actually acting with a great deal of agency. (The book has some really interesting parts but she alternates chapters of very dense theory with chapters of fascinating fieldwork, so it's an uneven read. Saba Mahmood is the author.)

I don't know enough about wife-submission practices to cite evidence which would actually back up this kind of claim, but it's possible you could make a similar argument, that women who *choose* to adopt religious practices that include submission are actually exercising plenty of agency.
post #87 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by tayndrewsmama
So, are you guys all saying either you are submissive or a feminist?
Good question...I wonder if the two can coexist in the same body...if a feminist submits but no one is around to dominate her...did it really happen?

all that perfectly good leather gone to waste.

I have been perusing this thread, my interest is piqued.

Ultimately I think it comes down to, not what parents should be allowed to do, because parent instill all sorts of whacky ideas in their kids heads (take DH, for example whose mother brainwashed him to believe that flan is horrible so I can't even get him to TRY the stuff), but really what we are discussing is what is the RIGHT and moral thing to do...am I wrong? Not really the stuff of law making when you get down to this level, but moral code development, no?

My take it on it, and how I will raise my child/ren is this: "Here is what I believe, I really think it's really a wise way to live my life. Here are the reasons why. As you grow up and explore further into this great world you will discover other ways of believing...try them out, explore them, and talk to me about them. I will discuss with you why I think they are not the life style for ME, and you can tell me why you think they might be for you."

This to me seems a reasonable way of dealing with spirituality in my household. Whether or not my child follows MY belief system is about as up to me as whether or not my child becomes the profession I want him to be. It's not really fair to withold options, IMO.

I think, maybe, if you believe that your way is the ONLY way to everlasting happiness and a fulfilling life, that it is more convincing in the long run to SHOW your children that through example, then to prohibit them from experiencing other options.

I think ultimately religious choices are chosen freely by adults, but the power of cultural indoctrination is not to be overlook...take Brasil as a case study...the relgions of Bahia is a crazy mish-mash of beliefs, the native tribal beliefs, mixed up with the colonists catholism, smashed together with African religions of the slaves, and no one ever fully willing to give up their cultural roots...no one ABLE to give it up, so much a part of them do they feel it is.

Same can be said for the devout catholics in Ho Chi Minh who still make buddhist offerings to their ancestors...some parts of a religion become so built in, you don't even question it anymore...

Personally, I don't EVER want my children to live in a world where they are asked to stop questioning, KWIM?
post #88 of 243
I, as a feminist, am insulted.

VERY INSULTED.
post #89 of 243
I think key to feminist philosophy are choice, empowerment, and mutual respect.

Women have historically been oppressed by patriarchal systems and we haven't had basic civil rights long enough to be able to sit by in comfort while entire communities of women are born and raised thinking they must submit to males.
post #90 of 243
If you are choosing to submit, with the stipulation that there be NO abuse whatsoever, are you really submitting?
post #91 of 243
Something just came to mind wrt Egyptian women gaining more agency while returnint to traditional customs of covering.

I have noticed a member, Mahdokht. She is a Muslim woman who wears Hajib. She is very outspoken and seems to have some feminist ideals, yet she is also a strong and able spokesperson for traditional Islam.

I'm thinking there may be an element of Islamic teaching that isn't like traditional Christian teaching wrt women. I know, for a fact, that Muslim women cover out of modesty while Christian women who cover thier head do so out of submission to their husband or father.

I wish someone with more knowledge (will Mahdokht take the bait?) would address and contrast these issues.
post #92 of 243
I've written before about a friend of mine who is a covered Muslim woman, philospher, thinker, feminist, teacher. She taught me so much and I miss her . She moved away. But she was certainly able to maintain a beautiful adherence to her faith, and also use her wits and feminism to base her thinking upon. Being a practicing Muslim woman and a strong feminist are not mutually exclusive. Her covering was a part of her devotion. Somewhat akin to the coverings of Monks. She was not covered in *reaction* to males or lust or whatever (she was single and lived in a little cabin in the woods near me and rarely went into town for any reason but to teach at the college). She was covered as a reminder to herself to listen to her soul and care for and cherish her body.
post #93 of 243
Cougarmilk, you could PM Mahdokht and ask her to join the conversation!
post #94 of 243
Ok
post #95 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougarmilk
Something just came to mind wrt Egyptian women gaining more agency while returnint to traditional customs of covering.

I have noticed a member, Mahdokht. She is a Muslim woman who wears Hajib. She is very outspoken and seems to have some feminist ideals, yet she is also a strong and able spokesperson for traditional Islam.

I'm thinking there may be an element of Islamic teaching that isn't like traditional Christian teaching wrt women. I know, for a fact, that Muslim women cover out of modesty while Christian women who cover thier head do so out of submission to their husband or father.

I wish someone with more knowledge (will Mahdokht take the bait?) would address and contrast these issues.
if you search "hijab" or "modesty" there have been some fascinating discussions about the use of hijab by muslim women and modest dress in other faiths and the scripture/verses behind it, etc. great reading.

OT sorry
post #96 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
If you are choosing to submit, with the stipulation that there be NO abuse whatsoever, are you really submitting?
hmmm, good point.

I think there must be a big difference between behaving submissively for fear of consequence, then there is in chosing to be led by a trusted partner because you feel it is a peaceful path for your life.
post #97 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber
hmmm, good point.

I think there must be a big difference between behaving submissively for fear of consequence, then there is in chosing to be led by a trusted partner because you feel it is a peaceful path for your life.
But therein lies the rub. If said partner is trusted, peaceful and respectful, then why would he feel the need to *lead*? As a trustworthy and respectful person myself, I would want to be with someone who trusts herself and feels an autonomous love for herself enough to feel confident in her own life choices. I would be wary of dating someone who wants me to lead her. In fact, as a sign of respect for her, I would not date her and instead encourage her to find empowerment and trust in her own abilities.
post #98 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
But therein lies the rub. If said partner is trusted, peaceful and respectful, then why would he feel the need to *lead*?
I have to be honest with you. There is only one reason that I can possibly think of as to why people like to do this.
post #99 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougarmilk
Something just came to mind wrt Egyptian women gaining more agency while returnint to traditional customs of covering.

I have noticed a member, Mahdokht. She is a Muslim woman who wears Hajib. She is very outspoken and seems to have some feminist ideals, yet she is also a strong and able spokesperson for traditional Islam.

I'm thinking there may be an element of Islamic teaching that isn't like traditional Christian teaching wrt women. I know, for a fact, that Muslim women cover out of modesty while Christian women who cover thier head do so out of submission to their husband or father.

I wish someone with more knowledge (will Mahdokht take the bait?) would address and contrast these issues.
Thank you Cougarmilk, your words were very kind. Thank you, as well, for the invitation to join this conversation. I had actually been avoiding this thread because I thought, from the title, it was about a different subject.

With regards to hijab, as is the case with so much of Islam, I believe that the true purpose, its spiritual benefits have been buried under sexist and oppressive interpretations. For sure there is a strong component of sexual modesty in the concept of hijab, but the more research I do the more I find that there are other reasons in primary sources that have nothing to do with male sexuality. For a better understanding I recommend Chilla Bulbeck's "Reorienting Western Feminisms" it rocked my world back when I read it 7 years or so ago. I HIGHLY recommend anything by Bell Hooks as well.

I am reluctant to call myself a feminist outside of the Muslim community, and even then I use it carefully. Usually I do it to shock with the intent of getting attention so that I can confront issues of sexism in our community. Outside of that purpose I am reluctant to embrace that label because of the way feminism has been used as a tool of white supremacy and cultural imperialism. As a black woman and a Muslim woman I am very raw from my interaction with feminism and how it marginalizes, degrades and sometimes even demonizes the voices of women whose liberation struggles don't adhere to a very specific set of ideals. I suppose, though, if I were to ignore all that stuff and just look at the very basics of feminism I am most certainly a feminist.

hmmm i posted a poem i wrote on this subject on my blog. I'll post it here too:



*edited*

As far as submission goes, I am not a submissive wife. I do not believe that my religion demands such a thing. I know that there are many amongst my co-religionists who would disagree with me. I respect them, love them and respect their right to worship how they see best.

I used to have some very negative views of submission, until I met a submissive wife on a messageboard who was involved in a non-religions sub/dom relationship. She was submissive because it was in that context that she felt best. I wish I could explain it as well as she did, but she just lifted a veil from my eyes.

This was one of many important lessons for me on the same theme. I've realized that if I am truly going to live a life based on the kind of compassion I aspire to, I must realize and respect the tremendous amount of psychological diversity that exists amongst human beings. Some people-- many but not all of them women--feel most comfortable being submissive. I would be miserable in a submissive situation because I am by nature (well, probably nurture but at this age that's potatoe patahto for me) more dominant. In fact, I don't think there are too many men out there who could "top" me.

No relationship is 50/50 all the time. Sometimes my husband takes the lead and sometimes I do. There are some aspects of our lives where he dominates and some where I dominate. We do so because we strive to complement one another's strengths and weaknesses to keep a peaceful home environment that is conducive to spiritual growth and self-actualization. I think that it's possible to have a situation where a woman is submissive and still maintain that kind of environment.

The question often comes up about why a man might want a submissive woman. Well, what if he fell in love with her? Should he let go of that love because she prefers to let him dominate?
post #100 of 243
mahdokht, my respect for you just went even further through the roof. I am so grateful for the honour of reading that poem. That's one fine peice of writing.
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