A term which brings similar images to many peoples’ minds. Usually, it’s the image of a green faced, wart-covered crone who rides a broomstick with a malicious cackle. Other images include colonial witch trials, and a young woman being burned at the stake. The history behind witch trials are certainly dark and full of fear. We can learn astonishing trends in society when one asks the question: “Were the witch trials a form of gender bias?” The perspective I’m going to discuss is that the “witches” in the witch trial were an excuse to execute women for sin.
The Salem Massachusetts witch trials took place between 1692-93. During them, over 200 people were accused and 20 were executed for witchcraft. 20 people might not sound too overwhelming. However, for a village of only 500-600 people, the deaths would have impacted most citizens. This American witch trial mirrors the European “witchcraft craze” driven by Puritans, who for almost 300 years executed over ten thousand people. The majority executed were women for suspected witchcraft.
Recently, I stumbled upon this image that one of my Facebook friends had shared. The second I saw it, my blood started to boil.
I have always had an issue with organized religion because women are put second, seen as inferior, and subjected to traditional gender roles. Growing up, my family always went to church and I was a believer. Now, I am not so sure. I definitely believe in a higher power, but that might be one God. Or, a hundred Gods. I really don’t know. However, I know that I am not a fan of traditional religion and the way women are treated.
*Please note that in this blog post I will only be discussing Christianity because that is the religion I grew up with and am comfortable analyzing.
I have a friend who has recently had an argument with her boyfriend.
You see, she was in a sorority a year before he joined a fraternity.
Before he joined a fraternity, the rule was that she couldn’t go to socials with fraternities since he wasn’t able to go with her.
Which she had no problem with, because he wasn’t going to socials at sororities without her. However, the week he pledged to a fraternity, the rules changed for him.
She still wasn’t allowed to go to fraternity socials, but he was allowed to go to sorority socials. This is when she wasn’t okay with the “rule.”
When she brought it to his attention, they argued for hours…
This is pretty typical in any relationship.
The male tends to set up double standards in the relationship. For example, a guy can go to a strip club and get a lap dance for his birthday, but God forbid a girl go to the bars with her friends to have a good time.
There are many myths about Planned Parenthood, and there are people who believe their clinics should not be established because they perform abortions. Before we continue, abortion is legal in the United States. It has been since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. Planned Parenthood provides women with legal abortions. Do you want women to die from coat hanger abortions? No? Neither do I, let’s move on. Some of the clinics only provide a medication abortion, a pill taken up to 10 weeks that blocks progesterone and causes the fetus to detach from the uterine wall, but other clinics provide surgical abortions. In case you were wondering, the Planned Parenthood in Pullman only provides a medication abortion. However, abortions are only a small piece of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. The most common reason people access Planned Parenthood is to receive STI testing/treatment.
What makes Planned Parenthood so amazing is that it provides a wide variety of health-related services, and not all of them are related to sexual health. Fun Fact: you can go receive a sports physical at the Planned Parenthood in Pullman, WA. Then again, if you do need some “down there” assistance, Planned Parenthood is a fantastic resource. They provide STI tests, pap smears, pregnancy tests, UTI treatment, and even vasectomies. That’s right, men, Planned Parenthood can be your health center as well! And it is starting to be. In 2014, PP clinics served 250,000 men, which is a 76% increase from a decade ago. The Pullman Planned Parenthood helps men with erectile dysfunction, male infertility, premature ejaculation, and routine physicals. Other Planned Parenthood Clinics can screen men for testicular and prostate cancer.
I’ve been pondering a theological thought lately about why God is not pictured in any form as a woman. I understand that a lot of this comes from the patriarchal structure of the post-Renaissance church where the degradation of women took root in most Christian churches, but what evidence is there that God doesn’t have a feminine side, or even parts that could be considered a “mother”. If men and women were both created in the likeness of God, then there must be feministic value to the persona of God itself. For women do not come from man, but man comes from woman. Being a Christian myself, I wonder why the God of my churches is not female in any way. One of the reasons that churches deter me is because of the lack of female presence within the elders and other positions important to the church. If I, as a woman, was created in the image of God, then women must be a part of God as well.
Easter has almost come and gone and I am once again reminded that I walk a thin line between my religion and my feminism. For the last month, I have been doing a lot more thinking about how sometimes my religion and my feminist beliefs conflict. I find it hard to believe that my God loves me but also doesn’t believe that I am a second-class citizen. Feminism and Religion have long been on separate paths but it time to see that the two can and should work together.
I would like to note that I don’t have many experiences with other religions besides the one I was raised in, which is Catholicism. I will try my best to bring in other religions and if I get something wrong please let me know.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a novel dating from the late eighties that I read recently with my book club. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the most fantastic book I’ve ever read, but it certainly made me think. It tells the story of Offred, a middle aged woman who is struggling to find her place in a society in transition. This novel was fairly dystopian, but what made it different than other dystopian novels that I’ve read is that I felt like this is something that I could see happening in my lifetime, practically at any moment. It was realistic, and it said something about American culture that scared me.Continue reading “Positive and Negative Liberty and The Handmaid’s Tale”→