JW attitudes on women - why beneficial

by tergiversator 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • tergiversator

    My secret wish, when I was about 10 years old and we were going through the Revelation book for the second time, was that one day we would show up at the book study and all the baptized brothers would be missing and they would let me read. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't mangle words like Thyatira and Laodicea nearly as badly as some of the poor brothers they roped into reading at times, who looked like they were being tortured during particularly difficult lessons.

    I liked to read, I thought. My older brother got to read a lot, even when he wasn't baptized. Why couldn't I?

    I think that all of these little restrictions on what women couldn't do - and it was such a long list - actually helped me immensely. I couldn't read at book study, I couldn't run microphones or help with the sound equipment, I couldn't work at the literature counter, I couldn't direct the group out in service on Saturday if a brother were with, even when we were out in my own territory and it was simply a matter of "you two take that street, we'll take this one", and on, and on. I laughed inside when people said the TMS trained everyone to be "public speakers"; all I felt good at was writing casual, conversational skits relating, say, school lasagna to the concept of sin. I felt quite ridiculous when we showed up at a service meeting one time, and this one pioneer sister, who had been a Gilead missionary and a Bethelite before moving to our congregation, had to rummage around for a handkerchief to put on her head before she conducted the service meeting as usual, because a twelve year old boy who had just gotten baptized arrived with his mother at the last minute.

    There were two main ways the attitudes toward women helped me:
    1. Since there weren't so many organizational things that could distract me during and after the meetings, I had more time to think about what was actually being said. I used to take annotations in my notes about little points that I didn't understand for a year or two before I left.
    2. It got me thinking really early on about things I didn't like in the organization. Even back when I knew it was the truth, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there was still this little problem of mine about accepting, in my heart of hearts, that I was somehow more imperfect or unworthy just because I was female. (All humans are infinitely imperfect, I thought; how did being female somehow make one even more infinitely imperfect? a higher order infinity, perhaps? It just seemed ludicrous.)

    When other problems came up, such as evolution or the old organ donor prohibition, and I began to entertain the notion that perhaps the organization wasn't correct, after all, it was such a relief to no longer have to pretend to myself that I was, in some vague spiritual way, supposed to be in "subjection" to men.

    Anyone else out there find that the attitudes toward women helped them leave, rather than keep them trapped?

  • outnfree

    I was fully prepared to start this response "WHY beneficial, indeed?" until I read your entire post.
    I was brought up by a rather domineering mother, so I rather liked the fact that the brothers were manly men, yet spiritual. But I must say, that I often thought myself more qualified to lead than some of the poorly read, unprepared, immature brothers who were called upon merely because they were male.

    Two other incidents stand out in my mind:

    1/ A newly baptised brother was out with us in a car group. We
    decided that we would work my territory because it was rather distant from the KH. When we got to the territory, I was checking over the H/H record and began telling people where they should begin working and suggested which side of the street I and my children would work, and then asking how the others wanted to work the other side. I was called up short by the brother who asked, "Excuse me, Sister xxxxxx, but shouldn't *I* be deciding who will work where? I think that's right, since I'm the BROTHER here." Don't ask me how I did it, but I meekly responded (though seething inside, knowing that MANY of the older, more experienced brothers would have just let me carry on since it was my territory and had already been partially worked...), "I'm sorry, Brother xxxxx, you're probably right. Please go ahead." (He was oblivious to the sarcasm.)

    2/ My middle school-aged daughter was giving me a hard time about attending family studies. We thought that perhaps a change of pace was in order. I figured she was bored by my way of teaching (later realized she was just bored! ). We discussed it and asked another sister if she would be willing to study with my daughter in the Knowledge book. She agreed and one study was held. Prior to the study, she mentioned that the Service Overseer was supposed to be informed about the arrangement. So I duly informed the Service Overseer that the sister of our choice was now conducting a study with my child. This brother asked me my reasons and then informed me that the Service Committee would have to discuss it, because the Society was strongly recommending that the heads of household (me -- the sister married to a non-Witness) study with their own children.
    Oh! I thought. Well, okay! I figured they would see the wisdom of her studying with SOMEBODY vs. her refusing to study with ANYBODY. But, no! The answer came back within a week that the committee felt that she should continue to study with me. The sister who had agreed refused to study with her without the brother's sanction. So it ended. My daughter never completed the Knowledge book, didn't understand why she couldn't keep studying with the sister just because those men had said so. After all, two grown women and she had all been in agreement that she could! The best I could do from then on was to have her read the daily text to me on school day mornings when she was captive in my car.

    So the first incident really gave me pause, the second incident gave me more pause AND just sent my daughter completely out of the organization. She is a clear thinker (more astute than I!) and, like you, 'tor, never could understand why girls couldn't read and women couldn't give talks or have any positions of responsibility. And I was at a loss to explain it to her, at least, with any degree of credibility!

    So, definitely, the Watchtower's attitude towards women wears thin to thinking men and women.

  • mommy

    I completly agree with both you woman
    I have a bushelfull of experiences, but that would take up too much space. SO many people comment about the woman being the weaker vesell, but time and time again it has been proven that this is not true. Both with wit and strength. Maybe because the bible was written by men, I really don't know.
    Thanks for your comments, this is interesting. Sorry I can't share more on this subject, my mind is not cooperating with my fingers today, and I continue to draw a blank.lol

  • Flowerpetal

    Well there are some men who have very strong egos. I was shocked that an elder I like very much as a brother behaved strangely about directing how a territory and who was going to work with who was done, when the territory did belong to a sister. I thought to myself, what difference does it make who does what?

    But I have been reminded of some articles from in the Wt magazines in past years which have implied that it is the woman who doesn't know how to handle money, is a spendthrift, and must be curtailed in expenditures. Well the opposite is true in my house. I am the conservative spender.

    But now I see articles and in public talks about marriage relationships, that lots of times it's the woman that can handle household money and bill paying a lot better than a man. Maybe some angry sisters wrote to the society to protest! I was ready to write them until I saw the attitude starting to change.

  • tergiversator

    Hello, Flowerpetal,

    I have to say attitudes have gotten better, as they have generally in the world at large. But you get some of the most outrageous comments from older brothers who just... don't... get it. Just a few years ago, during my senior year in high school, I remember one brother, ministerial servant, not actually that old, who was talking to me about doing well in school. He said at one point that "those books won't matter so much once you find the right brother." I was quite outraged, naturally.

    The fact that there are these silly restrictions about who directs who in the territory, etc, do make it difficult for many of the brothers to see any reason why they should change their attitudes toward women, though.

    -Tergiversator, of the When Do I Stop Being a Newbie Class?

  • patio34

    Good comments. A sister here once said about a woman 'losing privileges in the cong' and she said 'what privileges does a woman have?'

    Don't you think the WTS just follows what 'worldly' people in general learn? For instance, it used to always be drummed in to spank children (use the rod!) and then about 10 yrs ago, the backpedalling really started, because the world in general saw it as negative.

    Other things too, such as the treatment of women. But, the WTS is always w-a-a-a-y behind!

    IMO, they read a lot of the new books every year and journals, collect a lot of the info, search in the bible for any relevant verses ('you can prove anythng by the bible') and then publish a series of articles. Of course, the ending is always 'all these problems will be solved by God's kingdom.'


  • waiting

    hey patio,

    . A sister here once said about a woman 'losing privileges in the cong' and she said 'what privileges does a woman have?'

    ROTFLMAO!!!! A TRUTH from one of Jehovah's Witnesses!

    Of course, the ending is always 'all these problems will be solved by God's kingdom.'

    Of course the problems will be solved. God's going to kill 99.9+% of the persons on earth. War, crime, famine, polution, etc., effectively stopped through effective massive killings. Theocratic Warfare at it's finest.


  • IslandWoman


    This subject is very near and dear to my heart and I know it must also be to many JW and XJW women.

    The Apostle Paul put in place restrictions upon women that Jesus did not! It was to a woman that Jesus first appeared after his resurrection, and it was a woman that he sent to tell his brothers of his resurrection. What greater news could be delivered? The most important announcement that could ever be made was assigned to a woman!

    Yet, so called religious men ignore this and put in place what "tickles" their ears, the words of Paul!


  • Tina

    ohoh IW is here,there goes the board LOl,,guess what IW,get a thick skin here because there are no moddys to run too,and no FD to whine too,,,,,,,still have that obssession w/ Farkel? LOLOLOL T

  • expatbrit

    God, I love a good cat fight! Where's my video cam?


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