Carousel

We went to the steam fair
you and I
You said:
“Let’s go on the merry-go-round”
I sat on a horse called
Chance
you sat on another:
Temptation.
We journeyed ’round the carousel
tracing the cyclical monotony of
love
whilst  The Enemy sat behind us
on Lust
and goaded us to go where we shouldn’t.

The Value of a Female Virgin

I used to be really proud to be a virgin, and most of the time I’m happy that I’m yet to succumb to external pressures, whether it be kissing, touching or other sexual things. I never really questioned why I felt proud, or why I, as a woman, was made to feel as though it was something I should wear like a badge of honour.

I still think it’s a good thing to save yourself for someone special and to make the commitment to only ever be with that person; to be in a courtship and exercise the art of self-control; to keep promises. But the double standard in our churches in regards to male/female virginity has really started to grate on me. Always, a woman’s virginity is valued more than a man’s. Society in general has an issue with female sexuality, hence the slut-shaming that women face when they admit to liking sex, and the appraisal men receive upon acting in the same way. But the church has this thing of thinking women are “precious” and “sacred” and it’s more damaging than men will understand.

If we were to look at countries where war rape is rife, we would see that it’s not just the rapists that are at fault, but the men in the victimised communities as well. These communities place such a value on women’s sexuality, branding them as “their women”, that when the rape takes place it not only shatters their morale but bruises their manhood: another man has tampered with their goods. And in this battle of the egos, the woman becomes collateral damage. In this same way, by owning the sex lives women in church, the church brothers leave them open to attack from people from outside; profane men who are craving the appeal of a virgin, and would like nothing more than to “show her a few things”.

This is also detrimental to our young men. When sexual purity is taught in church, if it’s implied that a woman’s virginity is more important, we’re going to implant a warped view of sex to the men.

I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately, mainly because I’m starting to see women my age feel doubly guilty when they do “impure” things. This battle to be the Ultimate Proverbs 31 Woman, to be strong even when we ourselves are struggling with our own lusts and sexual sins. The thought hit me this  week because there has been a bit of talk recently about the church men going through hell during summer when most women begin to dress in less clothing than they usually would. I’ve been talking to a few female friends about this issue and none of them can actually understand what the big deal is; women have always had to repress their sexual feelings because they’ve always had to be more chaste than men. So we either struggle in secret or don’t struggle at all. It makes me wonder whether these viewpoints further establish the notion that a woman’s body is a bad thing. A weapon that has been the downfall of men and it needs to be kept in check. This may be one of the reasons why people are more concerned when a woman loses her virginity; she used her sinful body to lure a man into a trap.

Who knows? I’m sure there are many reasons why this viewpoint exists. But I’m weary of letting people know I haven’t done anything before. It may attract the wrong crowd.

Something Slightly Annoying…

Feminism. I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while. When I say to Christians that I’m a Feminist, they seem to have a problem with it. I’ve always wondered, is it un-Christian to believe that the sex you were born into should NEVER determine how much freedom and respect you’re allowed to have? I understand that there’s a lot of ignorance surrounding the subject: before I did my Sociology A Level I assumed that Feminists were just angry man-haters. Then I discovered just how unfair this world is to women—through unequal pay and glass ceilings to more extreme cases: Female Genital Mutilation; prostitution, female trafficking and the atrocious hold the Taliban have over women in the Middle East. I saw a documentary a few years ago where the women in Afghanistan were so distressed by their mistreatment and abuse that they were killing themselves by self-immolation.

And let’s not forget that 400, 000 women are raped a year in the Congo. Ah, and in our wonderful, forward-thinking country, the conviction rate for rape cases is 6%. Result!

When I think about these things, I get so angry and I just can’t understand why everyone isn’t a Feminist. Christians should be getting involved with it, letting the world know that these things just aren’t on.

But what do you do when you’re part of one of the world’s oldest misogynistic institutions?

God is for women, obviously. God loves women. But in the Dark Ages and other times when Christianity was the main religion in this country, you would have thought the opposite. It was well known back then that women were sinful by nature; seductive little creatures whose only purpose in life was to lead men astray. You can even look for examples in the Bible where women were abused due to the religious nature of the time: the woman who was caught in adultery and thrown in front of Jesus to be stoned couldn’t have committed adultery by herself, yet there she was, surrounded and humiliated by men who should have known better. This is the problem with religion: it’s a man-made concept, so you get people who’ll twist God’s word to their own ends. Sadly, women have always had the short end of the stick because of it.

What I don’t like is when people in church outwardly deny that these things happen. It’s almost stupidity.

One of my biggest gripes in church these days is the whole ‘women you can’t wear this because the men can’t handle  it’ thing. I’m not being unreasonable–I understand that men are wired differently; that they’re Visual Creatures™ and get more easily aroused than women, but it’s really frustrating that when I’m picking out an outfit I have to think about all the men that might be aroused by it. Surely the onus is on the man to control himself? Some guys just get lazy, they don’t take responsibility for themselves and blame the woman for every lustful thought that goes on their heads. I thought men were supposed to be the Leaders, the Heads of the family? What kind of leader blames the woman for all his wrongdoings? It’s especially annoying when you’re curvy and certain clothes would just automatically look more sensual, even if you don’t mean it to. Yes I know there are some women who dress for male attention—actually, I think we all do, at least sometimes. It’s nice to get male attention (and I mean from a gentleman. Most of time some intimidating man just comes up to me and starts pestering me for a number, and once I was followed halfway home before he left me alone. But when a gentleman does it, it’s nice: a guy just held my hand once and told me I was beautiful. It was sweet…)

I’m gonna be completely honest and say that I like things that show a little bit of cleavage—if I’ve got the boobs for it, why not?

I had a long chat yesterday about this topic. I suppose my problem is that I keep refusing to see it from the Man’s Perspective. My friend said that if I really thought about God in all these gender politics, then I would automatically think about the guys I might make things difficult for and I wouldn’t mind if I had to cover up a bit. I honestly hadn’t thought about it in this way before. It’s just that, when I hear people say “you’re going to cause your church brother to sin”, all that goes through my head are those misogynists who believe that the woman is to blame if she gets raped. Surely if she just wore a long skirt then the poor man wouldn’t be forced to do that to her? ‘Cause men are different from women, aren’t they? And, like, you know—women in burqas have NEVER been raped, right??

*Sigh* I’m rambling. Mutual understanding, Baker, mutual understanding. I would never want to make a guy feel uncomfortable–honestly I wouldn’t. I’m just tired of women always bearing extra burdens. And I’m becoming a bit of a broken record nowadays. I’ve discussed this with people time and time again and it’s always me against five or so others and I end up feeling inadequate. It’s got to the stage where someone might say something slightly inflammatory about dress, or women, and people just stare at me, waiting for an entertaining rant. I don’t want to become a predictable joke, so I’ll just leave it for now. I was worse before, believe me. In fact I think at one point I was guilty of misandry (although I still don’t see what’s so bad about wanting men and women to be equal and I don’t think my thoughts are extreme).

Ah, and one more thing:

WOMEN LIKE SEX TOO. Remember that it’s always been seen as un-ladylike for a woman to talk about sex, to be openly sexual. Men have always had sexual freedom–why do you think when a guy sleeps with ten women he’s a hero and a woman is a slut if she does the same? Look at it Biblically as well: how many women did Solomon have at his yard again? Hundeds, right? Don’t let tradition turn into quasi-scientific facts. Men, just because you’re allowed to be open about sex, doesn’t mean us women don’t think about it or that we don’t get turned on; doesn’t mean women aren’t visual creatures either.

So next time it’s SEC Sports Day, and y’all start strutting around the park, six pack and all, think about how many of your church sisters you’re causing to sin.

Mutual Understanding, yeah?