Are JW women repressed in the org?

by Tina 67 Replies latest jw friends

  • Flowerpetal

    My daughter went to college. She is 22 and single and not interested in getting married yet. She has been to Europe 3 times with friends.
    My son is planning on college when he is done with high school.

    If I wanted to attend a college, all I have to do is announce it to my family. My hubby would not feel the need to go tell the elders what I am doing. One time while my daughter was in college, she missed some meetings for a semester. (Min School and Serv Meeting) and one of the elders asked me where she was and I told him.

    All he said was "that's not good...that's not good." I let it go because first of all, I didn't owe him an explanation and second, she was committed to this class already, and it was only a temporary missing of meetings--not like she was going to stop attending the meetings altogether.

  • RedhorseWoman

    FP, I know that you feel that being "allowed" to attend college proves that a JW woman is not repressed. However, the point is that a woman should have a "right" to go to college, and not have to worry that perhaps the men in her life are not as willing to give her permission as those in yours are.

    You see, your personal experience does not negate the fact of the overall thrust of the organization itself to keep women in a repressed state. If your husband, or the elders in the congregation, should take a hard line on higher education for women, either you or your daughter would be "marked", and you would just have to accept it.

    Your own personal feeling that you wouldn't want to be an elder or a ministerial servant does NOT negate the fact that a woman could NEVER have either of these positions, even if she were totally qualified, both spiritually and mentally.

    Many slaves were "allowed" privileges. That does not mean that slaves were not a repressed people.

  • DevilsAdvocate_DA


    After reading all the below/above material on this subject, repressed or supressed women in the WBTS, I and my wife will have to agree with Flowerpetal.

    In my household, as I assume in Flowerpetal's, there is no BOSS. I and my wife for the past 35++ years have been intelligent enough to know that a pair of mules (male/female) work together to accomplish a good job well done.

    I have NEVER (to my knowledge) ever repressed or supressed another man's woman. Neither do I repress or supress my dog.

    The matter remains, IF other men in this organization, wish to show their non-intelligence by putting their better half in a repressed or supressed position, well, that is their opinion, but not mine and I put my foot in my mouth by saying, it is not Flowerpetal husbands.

    On a personal note.

    Life can be beautiful if all of us can only come to grips with the fact, grant your fellow man (male/female) the diginity they deserve and everything works out. Problems will come, like a big root that gets into the plow, a good team of mules will plow right thru it.

    Enough said.


    P.S. I am NOT trying to contradict the other posters on this subject, for they do have VALID points. I personlly have seen with my own eyes what has been typed. Each congregation has its' own set of "demons".

    But if they would only apply Gal 5:22-23 we would not have this problem to be talking (typing) about.

  • RedhorseWoman

    DA, that's great that within your own family and within FP's family there is equality of the sexes. However, will your wife be allowed to be a ministerial servant if she should so choose? Does your wife make unilateral decisions when necessary, or must she check with you her "head"?

    Many slaves were treated as family members by their masters. That did not make them anything other than privileged slaves, however.

  • Flowerpetal

    Thank you RedhorseWoman for acknowledging at least, that I have personal experiences.

    And yes, Devil'sAdvocate--you read correctly...there is no BOSS in my home. When my hubby was an elder, he didn't go around trying to suppress or oppress or repress other sisters in the cong. It is true that there are some ignorant men in positions of responsibility, and sooner or later, they might be on the receiving end of something very ugly caused by their attitudes and behaviors. I also agree with the rest of what you said.

  • Tina

    Hi da,
    That's good to hear,but as RHW stated your personal experience doesnt negate what happens in congs around the her posts and you'll see what I mean-she said it very well,I cant add to it. We're talking global here,not the few exceptions to the wts rule,regards,Tina

  • Sassenach

    Hi Flowerpetal and all

    I just wanted to add my comments here. The magazines and the talks I have heard acknowledge that women are subservient to men. That the man is the head of the woman and she must be in submission to him. I read one article that said even if a woman is more intelligent than her husband, she must respect him as the head and humbly remain submissive. The jw women I know acknowledge that woman are subservient, but say "but we are happy". They don't pretend that woman are given equal treatment, but excuse it by using scripture to support it.

    I heard an experience one time at a convention. A daughter spoke of her abusive father who was in opposition to the "truth". The elders encouraged her mother to remain with him and be submissive. The touching end of the story was that after all those years of abuse, the family was rewadred when the father became a witness. Now if that isn't a recommendation to accept abuse, then I don't know what is.


  • waiting

    Just thought I'd look this thread up - been busy at work, missed it.

    I think a lot of our jw experience depends on where we live - and the society at large around us. I live in the Southern USA. Not a mecca for women's liberation, and/or equality of the sexes. And this is true within the congregations also.

    When a letter was read to the cong. some years past by the PO, another elder was sitting and actually had the WT letter for reference. The PO distinctly said that the WTBTS would assign us surgeons for bloodless surgery. I knew it was a mistake - didn't even make common sense. But the sitting elder did not correct him. After the meeting, I quietly asked the sitting elder and his wife how a correction to that comment would be made since it could be a life or death issue for the person needing surgery.

    His comment was that if needed, an announcement would be made at the next meeting. I asked what about the persons who were not at the next meeting - but heard it at this meeting? I asked why he did not correct the PO by raising his hand, and directly read from the WT letter?

    He asked me if I had asked my husband that question before coming to him, an elder. I said no - my husband had been handling the sound equipment. He said I was out of line, and that submissively I needed to ask my husband that question at home, and then if still curious, I could ask an elder.

    I spent many an hour looking up information on this subject - found something in about 1958. Obviously not much written on women speaking up with questions.

    On correcting an erroneous or downright stupid comment from any baptised brother during the WT study: It is stated in some old WT that if you can directly quote the study word for word, then the WTBTS, and not the sister, is doing the correcting.

    Not so hard to do, but I was one of the few stiff-necked sisters to do it. Gave para., line, words. One sister said she appreciated it - I said she could do the same thing with the WT permission. She said no way - elders didn't like sisters who did this.

    I said I did it. She said the elders didn't like me either. Oh well.

    waiting - who felt repressed for 30 loooooong years.

    ps, btw - my husband's not the typical southern male - thank god.

  • IslandWoman

    Hi waiting,

    It's true, our experiences in the JW congregations are influenced by the congregation or area we live in.

    The PO of my congregation was not afraid to take advice from women and follow through on it. He at times put sisters in charge of certain projects and did not appoint a male "head" for that project. He wisely put to use the "valuable" resource at his disposal. He recognized their intelligence and varied abilities to get a job done as well as their individual abilities to take the lead.

    What he made for himself was a small army of women who loved him
    and would "go to the ends of the earth" to help him out. He showed us respect and love and it was returned two-fold.

    If only there were more like him!


  • GinnyTosken

    1 a : to check by or as if by pressure : CURB <injustice was repressed>
    b : to put down by force : SUBDUE <repress a disturbance>
    2 a : to hold in by self-control <repressed a laugh>
    b : to prevent the natural or normal expression, activity, or development of <repressed her anger>

    Are JW women repressed in the org? Perhaps the answer is an individual one, depending on what each woman wants.

    When my son was small, his daycare provider was a Muslim woman. She was very kind and often invited us to go to mosque with her. I decided to go to see what it was like.

    The men went upstairs while all the women and children trooped downstairs to the basement. Most of the women were in traditional dress, with their heads, arms, and legs covered. We watched the services through closed-circuit TV.

    I was rather aghast at this blatant differentiation between the sexes. After the service, another visitor asked questions of a woman who had converted to Islam. Didn't she feel repressed? Oh no, she answered. She felt very secure and happy and felt certain that she was behaving in the way God intended.

    I think for some women, having a head is a comfortable arrangement. Not everyone wants to be the boss. I think it is sad that men are not able to avail themselves of this comfort. How wonderful to hand over those troublesome decisions to someone else! How freeing to remain in a childlike state of freedom from responsibility!

    For me, this headship stuff was torture. I would have liked to be a microphone boy, but I could not. I could read maps better than most brothers I knew, but to correct them and offer directions would have been considered uppity. On the few occasions I tried to date JW men, my father repeatedly counseled me to defer to these men and especially not to make jokes at their expense. I knew from the Family book that I was supposed to find a man I could respect. This didn't seem likely in my congregation. I felt my choices were either to stifle my personality and try my best to hide my intelligence or remain single. I opted for the latter.

    While not all JW women may feel repressed, I think JW women in general are repressed as long as they don't have the same choices as men do for self-expression and for using their skills and talents. If a woman would make a great presiding overseer or even circuit overseer, she should be able to do that. And in all fairness, if a man would prefer to stay at home with the children and clean house and not worry about the bills or repairing the car, he should be able to do that.


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