Being a feminist in the JW religion

by Chemical Emotions 39 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • LongHairGal

    Chemical Emotions:

    I also hated reading the misogynistic articles in the literature and I do feel the bible is misogynistic. I am a single woman who works full time. I am certainly no "weaker vessel" since I do support myself. I do not and did not answer to a "head", since I am the head. Only inside the boundaries of the kingdom hall or in some car group did I sit back and let some "brother" take the lead. (I was only too happy to do so because I couldn't stand the ministry). As far as my private life goes, I kept my business to myself.

    Too many men in the religion have serious issues and this is why they keep stressing "subjection" and "weaker vessel" and terms like that with regard to women. Is this the only way they can feel good about themselves?

    New Chapter:

    I agree with you that it was totally out of place at that wedding talk to discuss the bride's monthly cycle. These boneheads don't realize we are in the 21st century, and this unnecessary information is just plain tacky, not to mention condescending. Was it ever appropriate at any time to discuss such a thing publicly? Talk like this is only appropriate for a pre-marriage private meeting. This would ruin my mood. (Why would anybody want to get married in a kingdom hall, JW style, and subject themselves to such ignorance?)

    I hate to tell all the men out there (JW or not) who are laboring under a delusion that women can't function because of their monthly cycle, but I functioned just fine and this is just nonsense.

  • BluesBrother

    Can you be a J W feminist ? No . The two things are completely opposite and incompatible

    I have also heard some cringe making J W wedding talks....I believe the Bro who took ours, many years ago, slipped in some odd comments but on the day it all went over our heads and I would not have known what was said...Someone gave us a tape recording , but we never felt a desire to play it

    Re the scripture ! Peter 3.7 - A onetime C/o (Tom Maltby) once read that and emphasised that it said [about wives]

    "YOU husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with them according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one, since YOU are also heirs with them of the undeserved favor of life, in order for YOUR prayers not to be hindered."

    He said that husbands should honour and value her as if she was a valuable weaker vessel, not that she necessarily was one. He said that some women were as "tough as nails" NB Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister at the time....

    I thought that was going to be a new-light on the verse, but I never heard it again

  • designs

    Jesus, if his claims of identity have any merit, should have included women in his group of 12 but he didn't. Paul got a little closer with a Deaconess. Churches with female pastors or Bishops are considered 'Liberal'. JWs are not going to break any new ground on Civil Rights or Equal Rights its just not in their Playbook.

  • cantleave

    The WTS is the only group to use it to Justify mysogeny

    Please insert the word NOT

  • Scully

    Even though I grew up in the JWs, my parents always expected me to be able to function independently. They wanted me to go to college after high school and have some kind of career to fall back on. I got a lot of flak for it too, and eventually quit college because of the conflicting demands on my time. I wasn't able to keep my grades at a level that I wanted to achieve while still being an active JW. Something had to give.

    I wasn't much liked by the JWs, because I had strong opinions about gender equality, and because I balked whenever a male JW attempted to 'put me in my place'. They ignored the JWs' own Headship Principle™ and tried to reprimand me directly rather than speaking to Mr Scully. I'd always remind them that they were out of line and if they saw something that I was doing that was really needing correction, they should be talking to my husband out of respect for his Headship™, but that it probably wouldn't be of any use, because Mr Scully didn't have a problem with things I was doing, and since they were Matters of Conscience™, they needed to mind their own business.

    Eventually, I woke up to the reality that a woman needs to have her own independent income stream - should I ever find myself widowed or otherwise alone with children to raise, I wouldn't have been able to manage on a low-level retail income to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, and I certainly couldn't rely on the JWs to provide assistance (being the stellar examples of christian love that they are ). I went back to school, contrary to the chiding I received from JWs we knew, who kept bleating about how Armageddon™ is Right Around The Corner™, and that I was wasting my time in college. That was over a decade and a half ago, and in the interim we left the JWs and their nay-saying and dream squashing. We're much better off in so many ways, and far happier than we ever were in the JWs.

    The ban on blood transfusions, in my professional opinion, exemplifies the Organization™'s misogyny at a visceral level. Consider the fact that the first fractions to be allowed were clotting factors used for the treatment of haemophilia. Haemophilia A (deficiency of Clotting Factor VIII) is a disease that almost exclusively affects males, at a rate of 1 in 5000-10000 live male births. Haemophilia B (deficiency of Clotting Factor IX) affects 1 in 20,000 to 34,000 live male births. Using the most conservative of those statistics, there are roughly 1000 male JWs (given a total population of 7.5 million JWs worldwide) affected by haemophilia, whose lives are vastly improved with the use of clotting factors to treat their condition.

    On the other hand, obstetrical emergencies, including DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) which is the result of out-of-control Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis + Elevated Liver enzymes + Low Platelet count), as well as postpartum haemorrhages, antepartum haemorrhages, abruptio placentae and uterine rupture, are life-threatening emergencies that have claimed the lives of more JW females in the developed world than is warranted in the 21st century. The only treatment for DIC is completely replacing the woman's blood volume with transfusions, sometimes the patient's blood volume needs replacing several times over. I've seen patients who spent weeks in ICU and had over 50 units of blood transfused. But they lived.

    In an article published in the BJOG, it was determined that JW women are six times more likely to die in childbirth than non JW women. The statistics included a 130-fold increased risk of death due to major obstetrical haemorrhage.

    Yet the WTS continues to deny women the self-determination to choose life-saving treatment, while men whose lives were at risk due to haemophilia were the very first ones for whom the WTS approved the use of blood fractions that would save their lives and improve the quality of their lives.

    I've said this before and I'll say it over and over again until the day I die:

    If it were MEN instead of women and children who were dying in childbirth for lack of blood transfusions, you'd see the WTS change its tune on blood transfusions in a heartbeat. I believe, in my heart of hearts, that this evil policy demonstrates more clearly than anything else how little value the lives of women and children have in the WTS.

    This is why JW women need to become feminists - so they can advocate for their own lives, so they can advocate for the opportunity to raise and love the children they bear, so they can keep their families intact. They need to become feminists and, if they choose to remain JWs, they need to advocate for change that will save their own lives, their daughters' lives, and the lives of their Sister™ JWs. They have to stop allowing JW men to tell them how to live and how to die for this belief system.

  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    As to the weaker vessel scripture, I also have heard it explained to mean that a woman is a precious treasure to be treated with care. That's a nice thought but somewhere in that explanation is always the underlying principle that women are fragile and not as strong as men. Then, when compared to the other ways women are spoken of in the Bible, you get the overwhelming impression that women are viewed as playing second fiddle to men.

    I have always had an incredible respect and admiration for women. I don't see gender roles in set terms of stronger/weaker or first/second. I see two sets of unique traits and fascinating characteristics. Because of this, I've always disliked the male dominance in the WT Org. I really think that if women were allowed to do more in the congregations, the Org would be a better place. It bothers me to see strong women force themselves to be submissive to male leadership in the congregation. Often, in field service, I would be the only brother in a car group of sisters. I would ask their opinions on how we should approach a territory, when we should take a break, or what type of ministry we should try that day. So many times the sisters would repsond, "You're the brother. That's your decision. We'll do what you think is best." Although I appreciated the undeserved respect, I often said, "You have just as much say as I do. What would you like to do?" They would act shocked and slightly delighted. I would think, "How many times per day you have to supress your thoughts and feelings because a man is present?" This problem extends way beyond the WT Org and into modern culture.

  • LongHairGal


    Bravo on your very good post that tells it like it is! We have something in common: they didn't like me either because I was outspoken. Only in my case there was no Mr. They have no respect and think if there is no man they can just go charging in like a bull. I kept them at a distance because they do not respect boundaries.

    As for what you said about how "..if MEN instead of women..were dying in childbirth for lack of blood transfusions you would see the WTS change its tune on blood transfusions in a heartbeat...." I totally agree and on the same note I also feel the religion's stand on "marry only in the Lord" would be totally different if the demographics were reversed in the religion (more men instead of women).

    They would be singing a whole different tune.

  • Chemical Emotions
    Chemical Emotions

    leavingwt: I don't like the bible. Sure, it says some ok things, but for the most part I do believe that it is misogynistic. I do believe that the WTS stretches some scriptures, though, to put women "in their place". I hope I'm not offending you, but that's how I see it. I would never consult the bible on gender issues.

    designs: What are women even allowed to do at Bethel, usually? I can't remember most of the things they can do.

    Curtains: Thank you! Exactly what I'm talking about!

    NewChapter: Thanks. I'm sure I'll be venting occasionally, and especially when I go to the upcoming convention!

    cantleave:"The bible is such a vague, contradictory collection of books it can be used to support any position. The WTS is the only group to use it to Justify mysogeny. Others use it to demonise homosexuality and others to promote racism. What a loving God, producing a book to cater for all prejudice!"

    My feelings exactly.

    Scully: I like your comments!

    I didn't realize that the weddings were so bad. I've been to two, but I don't remember a speech that included MENSTRUAL CYCLES!

  • NewChapter

    Longhairgirl: I agree with you that it was totally out of place at that wedding talk to discuss the bride's monthly cycle

    I just see it as a symptom of a system that thinks nothing of degrading women. They wouldn't want to be guilty of creature worship, so maybe it was necessary to put the bride in her place. I don't know. I do know I was pretty stunned. I'm not prudish about these things. Discussions about menstruation do not embarrass me. But obviously this was inappropriate. It wasn't in a KH, which explains the elegance, but an elder gave a talk. Of course the robots all raved over what a beautiful ceremony is was. I cringed all night. Perhaps he could have evened the scales by discussing the groom's wet dreams or something similiar. Of course we would all be very shocked if THAT happened.


  • NewChapter

    I just remembered an article I read in a WT. It discussed the situation where a pregnancy could lead to the imminent death of either the mother or child (this is imminent, not a feared future death). They said these situations are extremely rare, but they did happen. (that's true) But if the decision would have to be made in an emergency situation, then the decision was to be made by the head of the household! The assumption is that the HH is the husband, or possibly the woman's father. It was not HER decision. I remember being extremely disturbed at this, but I never knew personally of such a situation so I was able to push it away.


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