Evils of Religion: 19 December 2011

And since I mentioned the quiverfull movement yesterday, I’ll discuss it today.

The idea that the sole purpose of a woman is to have children and serve her husband is vile. It’s still alive in fundamentalist religious circles, but the quiverfull movement is particularly bad. It teaches female children that they are worth less than their brothers. It gives the husband complete control over his wife and children, and allows him to enforce that with brutal violence, starvation, hard physical labor and emotional abuse, all backed up with quotes from the bible.

NOTE: I was hoping to link to several articles showing examples of these behaviors on the No Longer Quivering site, but it is having database troubles as I’m writing this, so I can’t find the articles I was looking for. I may come back and edit this if I remember to. If anyone who is reading this is interested in the specific examples, just leave a comment and I’ll try to dig them up if the database is working again.

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The difficulties of *isms in an professional environment

At my current job, there are many racist people. There are many sexist people. Homophobia is almost ubiquitous. These are people who have been at the company for 20 years and those that started 6 months ago. They say things like “Stupid girls”, “dumb bitches” or “East asian males are all slobby, inconsiderate, and ignorant.” They make fun of foreign names and men who are slightly feminine in their demeanor. Unfortunately, they are all people who I have to work with if I wish to stay employed.

I’d like to think that HR would do something about it if I brought it to their attention, but the sad truth is that they are there to protect the company from lawsuits not to protect the employees from harassment. In reality, the perpetrator would probably end up with a reprimand in their permanent file and I’d end up with a note about being a trouble-maker in mine and, come lay-off time, we’d both probably be among the first out the door. In the meanwhile, however, I’d still have to try to do my job with the whole department less willing to speak to me or work with me.

So how should I deal with this as a low-level wage slave with no support from anyone in power? I am ashamed to admit I was terrified the first few times I encountered these attitudes and just froze in shock. But, since I’m me, I can’t be happy just listening to this dross and not fighting back. I can’t go through official channels without risking becoming homeless, so what do I do?

I’m not sure how wise it is, but I’ve been trying out sarcasm and mockery along with gentle reproach depending on the situation. A couple of weeks ago, I walked into a rant about how stupid women were and spent the rest of the day pretending I was really stupid to annoy the ranter. He’d say something to me about X and I’d just say “What? What’s X?” When he got really angry at me, I said “Well you already think all women are stupid, so what’s the point of trying to be intelligent when you’re around?” I don’t know how effective it was, but I haven’t heard him ranting since.

If I overhear someone unfairly complaining about someone not fitting into some mold that they are unfairly trying to shove someone into, I usually just say “He’s a good engineer and I like him.” The response is usually along the lines of “Well yes, but he’s so effeminate” Then I can say “So what? He’s a good engineer and a good person.” I live in such a backward place that this usually means they’ve never thought up a response to this and don’t say any more on the subject.

Does anyone else have any other ideas?

Evils of Religion: 17 December 2011

Many things have been done to keep people considered unworthy by religion ignorant and powerless. Everything from killing people who translated the bible into the local common tongue to attacking girls who dare to enlist in school with acid.

Here’s another vile thing: Man cuts off most of his wife’s right hand because she wants to go to school. The victim, Hawa Akther Jui, is learning to write with her left hand.

Evils of Religion: December 15 2011

What is it about religion that makes people value clumps of cells more than a fully grown woman?

It’s been a bad year for women’s bodily autonomy

I’ve often wondered, if I hooked myself up to a pro-lifer physically in such a way that it would kill me if they broke the connection, what would they do? Go around for the rest of their life tied to me? Or would they think it would be ok to kill me? I’m so much more than I was as a fetus.

There’s not anything in the bible about abortion. I often wonder where they get it from, too.

Why President Obama is misguided about Plan B

I can see where he’s coming from here. I disagree with his principles even here, but he’s missing the main point.

President Barack Obama said Thursday it was just common sense to keep girls under the age of 17 from being able to buy a morning-after contraceptive pill off a drugstore shelf. Citing his own two daughters, Obama said: “I think most parents would probably feel the same way.”

I encountered a lot of this in California, when they were trying to pass amendments to restrict abortion access to minors. I find the idea that parents ought to control their post-pubescent daughters’ sexuality creepy and repulsive, but I don’t think it’s the main issue:

Not all girls will be safe if they tell their parents they’ve been having sex.

The under-18 access to birth control is not there to give an out to privileged girls who don’t want to talk about these things with their parents. It is there to prevent at-risk girls from being beaten, kicked out of their houses or sent off to christian prison camps.

By focusing on what “most parents” would feel, Obama is forgetting about the most vulnerable teenagers. He’s treating his own daughters as if they were less than they are, but putting whole populations at further physical risk and he ought to be called out on it.