I see what LHG is saying. Let's put it this way, teenage girls in the org either have two options they are "encouraged" to do. The first option is of course to PIONEER and not get an education or have a career and of course the second option is marriage in which they are not expected to work. Women are taught complete dependence on men in this religion. So if at any time Christlike hubbie decides to walk out the door then where does that leave the woman who got married very young with no skills? To be independent in the org is viewed as negative in general but when you push that on women you are really putting them in a vulnerable position. I have worked since I was 18 and continued working after having my daughter and I was met with hostility......there was this underyling feeling that I had no business working. They resent any kind of independence but especially from females.......If you look at the numbers of male/female pioneers you will find the majority are women and that they are young women who just graduated from high school at that. So yes I do feel women are exploited in the JW religion and definitely put in a very vulnerable position.
Blondie's Comments You Will Not Hear at the 07-11-10 WT Study (WOMEN SUBMIT)
I've only read page 1 of comments so far (going back to read in a second) but just had to comment on the part where it said about walking hand in hand with your marriage mate. I realise it could be taken figuratively as in making a partnership, or also in the physical sense - yet - we are all told now NOT to touch our partner during meetings ie. hand on the back, hugging etc.
I married a JW (very slack one) and we legally divorced last year - but not scripturally. The elders never hassled me about it but they kept reiterating over and over how I could never marry again because in Jah's eyes I was still married. Nevermind that my now ex never supported the children or I materially, financially, emotionally or spiritually. In fact, he emotionally abused me beyond belief and twice before he left us, physically hit me. Yet all of that was swept under the rug and he didn't even get so much as a slap on the wrist.
I feel that for marriage to be a partnership you each have to view the other as an equal. Unfortunately with JW's, the woman is never viewed as equal, rather inferior and the 'weaker vessel'. And while some sisters may have decent husbands who respect them and their views, the majority out there have overbearing husbands who bring out the 'be in subjection' or 'I am the head of the house' rant when it suits them.
Meangirl...I totally get you I have worked since I was 14 and even went to College and got a degree...but it was not met without 'words' from elders and their wives, and anyone else who cared to offer their opinion where it wasn't wanted. I was berated, looked down upon, talked about and even told to my face that I should not be working or getting a degree but rather should be pioneering, that the end was near and I was wasting my time pursuing 'material gains'. I was doing nothing of the sort. I was merely helping support my family (we were fairly poor) and getting an education so I could better my prospects.
Meanwhile 'well meaning' sisters were forever telling me I was 'past my used by date' and 'on the shelf' when I was only 16 ! Once I passed 18 without a boyfriend, they all but gave up asking me at every meeting 'do you have a boyfriend yet' . When I married at 24, they all congratulated me and said 'well now you won't have to work'. Um yes I had to, even while pregnant, because my lazy ass of a husband refused to. Til the day he walked out, he didn't work but I worked full time. Yet everyone has the nerve to tell me when he walked how I now had to remain faithful and not ever date or marry again .
Funny, but the elders and bros and sis that used to condemn me for getting an eduction now praise me for having something to support my children with...especially as their good for nothing father doesn't support them but is still playing the good witness boy in another country .
Wantstoleave I am sorry you had to go through that. Hugs to you. My father left my mother when I was 17 and I saw what she went through and I made up my mind right then I would never be completely dependent on a man to provide for me. It makes no sense to depend on another human for your material needs except to me in a child/parent relationship. If men were asked to put themselves in the same kind of situation as women where they completely trusted another human for their survival as in food, clothing, shelter, etc. they would absolutely not do it and I certainly wouldn't blame them but because we are women that is supposed to make sense to us???? The society conveniently forgets Psalms 146:3" Do not put her trust in nobles. Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs." Hhhhmmmmm, that certainly could apply in a marriage in the orginzation where women are expected to be in complete subjection to another human and be completely dependent upon him for their material needs. Or this is off topic but it just hit me this could also apply to the governing body as well who constantly tell us to trust them and follow what they say.......sorry just occurred to me. However, the bottom line is women are DEFINITELY EXPLOITED IN THE JW RELIGION AND NOT VIEWED AS EQUALS!!!!
I'm thinking of you today, Blondie, as hubby asked me to finish up his "study" on "reaching out". He was stumped by paragraph four, as it is not at all clear what priviliges baptized men are to reach out for. Perhaps because the mundane tasks would look too ridiculous in print. The few that come to mind are bathroom cleanup and parking lot direction. Three guesses which one the men line up for.
I took a look through your comments on women. Bravo for providing a more comprehensive list of womanly leaders in the bible. You are so right that the congregation does not know how to respond to strong women in secularly powerful positions. I remember being asked by a pioneer lady what it was that I did for a living (I was a Manager responsible for over thirty staff in a Government office) and she mentioned that the disability package was great. As I gazed at her, I pondered at the irony that I had lost my lone Jehovah's Witness employee to that self-same package, as soon as she finished her six month probation period. Think about it. She can pioneer full-time at about 2/3 the salary of actually working! Kudos from the hall.
What similar reward does a woman like me receive from the congregation? I get clucked tongues because I work so hard I cannot make the meetings. My JW hubby expresses similar sentiments regarding my sister's career choice, a family Physician. He reminds me that health care professions won't be needed in the new order.
The concept that secular work can be vital, interesting, contributing to society is something completely alien to the JW experience. At least they would never say so out loud.
Bring back the Amazons.
Blondie - wow!!! You've outdone yourself, this time... EXCELLENT analysis; you brought out many points about the bible and attitudes towards women within it that I was unaware of.
I would still rather have been a Sumerian or a Babylonian woman, if I had to live in that time period, though...
HadIT = great comment!! Thanks for picking up on that article Blondie quoted, and hi-liting that point... " For this reason the paradise of Eden was the place of the perfect marriage, between the perfect man created in God’s image and likeness and the perfect woman who could faithfully reflect man’s perfect glory, to God’s praise. ..." And as HadIt says, " That is INFURIATING!! They twist the scriptures so badly...[!!!] "
This focus on "headship" within the organization... Replace "headship" with "chain of command", and I think you'll perceive another aspect of the WTBTS' mentality. For that matter, it is an interesting aspect of the Israelite mentality.
I've long observed that the Israelites were extremely war-oriented. Any nation focused on gaining territory and goods via warfare, will be more effective if it is rigidly organized. If one looks at the Mongols, the Huns, the Vandals, and so on; these groups didn't become "world conquerors" until they were unified and organized under a strong leader.
A strong or rigid, hierarchical organization is usually the hallmark [pun intended!] of a group with a militant mentality, or world-conquering ambitions...
"But lets just say an alien was sent to earth to live as a woman but had to choose a religion which to be born and raised in. From the choice of muslim, hindu (caste system?), various christian fundis, catholic (no birth control), mormons, or JWs - the fact is one could do a lot worse than JWs..."
Just N From Bethel - Duuuude!!! Wiccan would be better!!! Also Neo-PolyTheist with a focus on Goddesses!!
(By the way, I find your comments refreshing, frank, open, and thoughtful..!)
Thanks Zid - I like your name. I think even Judaism pre-Judean Kingdom wouldn't have been so bad. If any man started to give their wife crap, she could've just claimed that in a vision she'd been appointed a judge. After condemning that lying b%stard to cities of refuge for 7 years, she could've then had some peace.