I’ve always felt a bit offbeat so I’ve liked to express that in my wardrobe. I’ve always liked mixing different styles, bright colors, and vintage items. Sometimes these various looks have shown off my figure a bit and people around me have seen that as opening myself up to criticism. You might say I have a “fuller” chest and so sometimes I fill out a dress or a top a bit more than a woman who is the same dress size but has a different chest size. I had many occasions of feeling good about how I looked when I went out but then noticed some looks and whispers, so then the fear of being judged set in and discomfort ensued. I’ve also experienced more overt reactions such as being shouted to while walking down the street and being called names over the internet. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten easier to not care about what others think and to just wear what I feel happy in, but the annoyance with negative reactions still bubbles up once in a while.
There have been times where I have dressed more “normal” because I thought it was best to avoid judgment, but then I realized people were going to judge no matter what. People have been judging others for what they wear and how they look since the beginnings of civilization. It wasn’t that long ago that it was scandalous for women to show their ankles or wear pants in countries like the United States and Britain. Many women have had to fight for the right to wear what they want to wear, and it still happens around the world today. In countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, it is the law that women must be completely covered when out in public. So when I wear an outfit that shows off the ladies a bit or very short shorts or what-have-you, I’m expressing my patriotic freedoms and the victory over repression of women.
From my attitude, you may or may not have already been able to tell that I consider myself a feminist. But I have a hard time relating to some women that identify as it as well because we don’t seem to be eye to eye on what women can wear or look like. Some have been calling for less scantily clad women in things such as video games and advertising and I can partially see where they’re coming from. Yes not every woman can achieve the sort of looks popularly portrayed and there should be more of a diverse representation of women. But we also shouldn’t vilify that sort of image every time we see it. In my opinion, vilifying the image of large chested scantily clad (or unclad) women is another form of slut shaming. This past week with the controversy over the British physicist Matt Taylor’s shirt (#ShirtGate), one of my first thoughts was “then what are they saying about women that look like the ones on the shirt?”
One of the major issues that was said about the shirt was that the scientist was showing girls that women could still only be seen in that light in the scientific community. I was astounded that people thought to read into it that much. But also by saying that, aren’t they saying a woman who looks like that can’t also be a scientist or intelligent person? When a woman is intelligent is she supposed to be a plain Jane and not express herself if she so pleases? I think the feminine figure is very beautiful and I greatly respect fellow ladies that are brave enough to share it with the world. There’s often the stereotype that attractive women are often unintelligent or “dumb sluts”, so I think some radical feminists are shooting the point of the movement in the foot by getting outraged over images like that because they are helping to perpetuate that stereotype. Feminism has traditionally been about gender equality, not censoring images or shaming people. I felt awful for Matt Taylor when I saw his apology for wearing the shirt. I don’t think he had to apologize because an article of clothing does not hurt anyone. From my own times of being shamed for what I wore, I really sympathized with him. It was not calling for equality of the sexes, it was bullying similar to the slut shaming men do.
I do understand why there are many Christians that don’t take the bible literally, there are some positive messages in the doctrine and there are many positive stereotypes associated with being Christian in the western world. It’s also difficult for most intelligent people to not accept evolution and the Big Bang, so they pick and choose what’s metaphor and allegory, and what’s “real”. I get along with and respect many liberal Christians, even though I don’t really get it. I may really hate people like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, but I agree with them that it doesn’t make sense to say you’re a Christian if you don’t fully accept the bible starting at Genesis (I don’t think they fully follow it themselves, but that’s beside the point). This is one of the many reasons I am not a Christian, I realized it would be dumb to put my faith in a book I didn’t fully believe and agree with. I feel like it is intellectually dishonest to cherry-pick certain things just to fit my own worldview. I know many liberal Christians say that the story of the beginning is simply metaphor and accept evolution and the Big Bang, but I’m not really concerned about that part of the story.
Eve has always rubbed me the wrong way. It was confusing to me that Adam was intentionally created and then Eve was like an afterthought. Poor planning on god’s part, all the animals had mates but for some reason Adam didn’t, and his mate had to be made from a piece of him? God doesn’t sound too all-powerful in that instance. During my first reading of the bible on my own as a kid, I distinctly remember Genesis 3:16 giving me a sinking awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The verse is, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” It wasn’t the pain and childbirth part, I already knew pain was heading my way as someone of the female persuasion; it was of course the husband ruling over the woman part. I couldn’t understand why god would create women to be less than equal to men; it doesn’t sound that loving to me. It confuses me that some Christian women can identify as so and also have liberal leanings towards gender equality issues. Why identify as something that teaches that women are inferior in its holy book if you don’t feel that they are? This question also applies to liberal Christian men. With the verse I pointed to, some could say that it’s just Old Testament and things are different in the New Testament. But according to many Christian sects, Jesus is God, so following that logic Jesus would see women as inferior to men.
I’m only touching on the very surface of misogyny in the bible. I would mostly like to point out that the book starts off pretty quick with it. I have to greatly question the morality of the people that do mental back-flips to justify why it’s okay to say one type of person should submit to another type of person. Even if a Christian doesn’t take things in the bible literally, it’s hard to avoid the misogynistic messages. I also do not understand loving a god that does not love my sex.
One of the most annoying arguments I come across in the Christian vs. Atheist debate is “Hitler was an atheist”, and probably many atheists would agree with me on that one. I think this really bothers me because it completely neglects the fact that people have killed in the name of the Judeo-Christian god. It implies that those without the Judeo-Christian god have an easier time committing atrocious acts. The utter disregard for historical facts also really rubs me the wrong way. I usually respond by pointing to a picture of a “gott mit uns (god with us)” Nazi belt buckle or a quote of Hitler’s where he mentions his belief. A typical response to that is something along the lines of “he wasn’t a true Christian because of his actions” or “he just pretended to be Christian” and this is a logical fallacy called the “No true Scotsman”. The fallacy is an attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion by declaring there is a “true” form of a certain group or belief. Another example of this was a time when I said something about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and I was told on Twitter he wasn’t a “True Christian” because he killed animals, that Christians don’t kill god’s creatures. I tried to point out they were making this fallacy and they essentially gave me a “LA LA LA NOT LISTENING” style response. I’m pretty sure good ol’ Phil would have said they weren’t a “True Christian” too.
Besides the fact that there have been and are some pretty awful Christian people, I think many Christians don’t understand that as an atheist I don’t think that all Christians are bad. Just because Hitler was a Christian doesn’t mean I think all of them would want to commit genocide on an entire race of people. I also don’t think every Christian is a backwards and idiotic bigot like Phil Robertson. I may have many problems with certain Christian leaders and issues with the ideology, but it would be ridiculous for me to hate all Christians. Even though certain Christians don’t represent the entire population of them, and no single one does, doesn’t mean we can’t point to them as examples of what’s wrong with the religion. The same goes for other religions and cultures as well. There are probably many Christians I may agree with on certain things, just like I don’t always agree with every single atheist.
What disturbs me is when I get the sense from the Christian that says something like “Hitler and Stalin were atheists” actually thinks that there is a direct connection with their actions and lack of belief, otherwise they wouldn’t feel a need to mention it. It makes me wonder if they think I and other atheists could possibly be as evil as he was, that also feels implied with their need to mention it. “Hitler was Christian” is mainly uttered by an atheist in response to the “he was an atheist” argument and they are usually rational enough to know his religious belief was not the direct reason for what he did. At least speaking for myself that’s what I think and I hope most atheists out there are rational enough to recognize that. I don’t want people to make assumptions about me because of my lack of belief, so I always try to not make assumptions about people with beliefs just because of the many bad apples.