I find that in my church, every time we mention men and women, men is said prior to men. More sadly, there are only religious clothes for men. I don’t have any. We can only stand aside and watch them participate in the ceremony. I don’t necessarily like those clothes. I also think these traditions are beautiful. People are so so so nice to me. But at the same time I feel enormously uncomfortable by the exclusion of women, and the secondary status of women in this religion.
When I was 16, just 3 years ago. My female Youth Pastor pulled me aside at a youth retreat in which we were about to go play games in the gym upstairs. She told me to change out of my yoga pants because they were inappropriate and showed off too much of my butt. I told her it was my body and I didn’t really mind. She then yelled at me and continued to explain that the boys would come to her and tell her that when the girls dressed in this manner it made them have sinful thoughts. That I was the distraction. That I was causing the boys to sin. I told her they need to control their thoughts then. She said no. She said that boys naturally have these thoughts. That this is normal for boys to do and we need to help them by covering our bodies. In which my Aunt promptly agrees with her statements. They made me question my budding feminist beliefs at the age. They made me think maybe they were right. That maybe boys couldn’t control these thoughts. They made me feel so ashamed of myself that I went and changed. To this day the memory will just pop up into my head and it makes me feel disgusted.
I am tired of the misogyny in church. I was told by a saint of God (Mother in TPM church) not to wear half-sleeve shirts (sleeve more than 5 inches down my shoulder), as they show my hands!! From my elbow to fingers. Apparently, we girls, who are only good for reproduction and doing chores, should take care to not be a temptation to boys. Well, teach them not to be tempted. By our hands.
I was helping out at the local food pantry stuffing boxes of food for people who couldn’t afford to buy enough food for a Thanksgiving dinner. Anyway, one of the jobs is to unload the cans of vegetables and whatnot from the trucks. I have always preferred to do the more “gritty” work – I suppose that’s what you’d call it – like setting out tables and chairs or moving bags of dirt around. I’ve never really liked decorating tables and “making things pretty.” So as I was helping to unload the many boxes of canned yams and corn and green beans, an older lady told me to stop. She said that I should “let the men do the heavy lifting” and asked me to help put bows on all the boxes instead. I immediately was offended. Of course I didn’t say anything because I thought well this lady is from a different generation – her views on women’s role in society is different. But it’s always bothered me to this day and it’s been about 3 years since it happened.
Often our church office administrator will receive phone calls from someone asking to speak to the pastor. When the call is forwarded to me, the pastor, the person calling sometimes says, “oh. May I speak with the Senior Pastor,” implying that as a woman I couldn’t possibly be the senior pastor. I experience this as well when meeting someone for the first time and answering the question, “what do you do for a living?” Even though I answer, “I’m a pastor,” the person will assume I mean children’s pastor and will ask me questions about the children’s ministry of the church.
My family is Mormon, and has been all my life. The Mormon church is extremely sexist, from shaming girls into being more modest to only allowing men to have “the priesthood” (basically the spirit of god), which causes all Mormon boys to have this feeling of superiority. I’ve lost count the number of times this specific boy from my church has harassed me at church dances. He even found out my schedule at school (No way in hell did I tell him) and has followed me at school a bit. It got to the point where I slapped him across the face with my shoe at a dance and he STILL follows me around. Nobody does anything because “he probably likes you!!!” and Mormon boys are taught that women are essentially objects. A lot of our activities at youth group are cooking, sewing and learning “how to be a good wife and mother (i shit you not, that was an actual lesson). Little do they know i’m gay and an atheist lmao
The first time I was catcalled, I was just 12 years old; I was a tall child, but I was clearly not of age. I remember walking into church with my mom- I was waring a knee length, brown floral dress and my hair was in a single braid down my back. The church was buried in a neighborhood and there were men drinking on a front porch across the street from the entrance of the church. They began to call out to me in Spanish- inviting me into their home, their bedroom, their lap- anything that would make my head turn. I immediately felt ashamed, humiliated and embarrassed. My mom told them off and asked me to keep walking. I remember her shouting across the street, “She’s only 12 years old! She’s only 12 years old! Doce años! Doce años! Please leave her alone!” The men simply snickered and continued drinking. Unfortunately the harassment has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. Will there ever be a day when I can walk down the street in peace? When I wont question whether or not my clothing choice is an “invitation” for harassment?
My husband is in graduate school working on a PhD in software engineering. I have a masters degree in genetics. We are currently living near his school and plan to move after he finishes. When we talk to other people about our plans for after my husband graduates, too many times the person we are talking to (particularly men) asks my husband (not me) where HE wants to get a job and where HE thinks we will be moving once he finishes school. They act as if I don’t have a degree, I don’t have career options of my own, I have no say in where we move, and I am invisible. The worst part is wanting to say something but not knowing what to say or feeling uncomfortable doing so. It’s like being belittled twice, first by someone else, then by me.
My story isn’t as tragic and overwhelming as some of the others on here. I’m lucky to have been raised by a single, working, military woman who taught me to be strong and proud of being a human being. But since we have moved back to Tennessee and are checking out Christian churches I’ve notice a lot of small and subtle things. I work at Hobby Lobby and have had little stereotypical comments made by management, coworkers and customers. All our cashiers are women and only two of four of our staff of fifty are African American. At church just this Subday we were talking about the biblical view on divorce and they kept talking about the Samaratian woman with five husbands. It took 30 minutes and another girl to ask, “what about the men? The are sinning if they commit adultery and remarry right?” Even at my cousin’s wedding they kept talking about “wife submitting to husband”. What about him!? This guy is great but why isn’t it important to verify that it’s wrong if he isn’t commited either! Like I said not too noticeable but still present.