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Archive for April, 2012

Neither A Slut Nor A Whore

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Okay, so I promised myself I wouldn’t write about religion or politics anymore, but this renewed War on Women infuriates me.

The extreme Christian right has recently pushed through laws mandating state-sanctioned medical rape (a transvaginal sonogram) in order to get an abortion in Texas; Topeka, Kansas has decriminalized domestic violence; Republican congressmen want to redefine rape, and Colorado Republicans want to make taking the morning-after pill a first-degree homicide. I’m waiting for the ultra-conservatives to start promoting Christian burhkas.

I was baptized in the Protestant church and was fed their toxic, anti-woman dogma since I was a baby. I received the same brainwashing in school and in society. Gradually, over my lifetime, women’s rights progressed. But now, the extreme Christian right has dredged up all this old toxic waste again, lobbed it straight at us and—in parts of the country—have dragged women back to the cave. And I want to beat them all bloody for it.

What the toxic programming has done to my mind is criminal. No one should have these thoughts about themselves. No one deserves these messages. Pets are treated better. I’ve been in therapy for five years trying to rid myself of the poison. And it’s still an on-going battle.

I was taught that I was dirty because I was a woman. I was taught to be ashamed of myself. That everything was great until The Original Sin when women (Eve) ruined the entire world. I was taught that I was a weak moron who wasn’t capable of doing anything but pressing buttons on a typewriter, a dishwasher, or making babies. I was not expected to do well in math, science or sports. I was not encouraged to get an education. I was not encouraged to take care of myself, only others. If I wore a short skirt, I deserved to be raped. If my husband hit me, it was my fault. I had no value unless I was married, and single women were the most pathetic creatures in the universe. Women were harping, gossiping, shallow, vain idiots who needed permanent guidance—children who couldn’t handle responsibility or make decisions.

I was taught that sex was dirty. If I touched myself, I was a slut. If I had sex, I was a whore. If I used birth control, I was a super big whore because I’d planned on having sex. I was taught that good girls hated sex—even with their husbands. Yet I couldn’t say no because I had no rights over my body, I was my husband’s possession. I was supposed to endure the act, find no pleasure in it, and never respond. If I enjoyed sex or had an orgasm, then I was the biggest slut of all. The only reason I should ever have sex was to have babies. If I got pregnant, I was redeemed, but lost all my power and was sentenced to a lifetime of toil, servitude and hardship. If I had an abortion, I was a murderer and deserved to go to Hell.

Basically, I was taught to hate myself. The only way I could redeem my worthlessness and make up for my shameful womanhood was to sacrifice my entire life by serving a man and having children. Only a man could validate my existence.

As a result of these teachings, I’ve always felt defective and ashamed for being a woman. I’ve always been ashamed of my sexuality. I’ve always felt like I was worth less than zero and had to sacrifice every ounce of my energy and every bit of my soul to reach zero. And there’s no path to positive worth. Simply because I’m a woman.

The sole intent of the brainwashing I received was to warp my self-image and make me more susceptible to subjugation and control. The current agenda of the extreme conservative right serves the same purpose: to make women hate themselves.

So when men like Rush Limbaugh call women whores and sluts for using birth control, and Rick Santorum states that he wants to ban birth control because its “unnecessary”, and that mothers shouldn’t have jobs outside the home, these “Christian” men might as well be taking a baseball bat to Grandma’s skull. Might as well knife their twelve-year-old daughter in the gut. Because that’s the kind of psychological damage they inflict. That’s the reality. Putting their own vile words into God’s mouth is the worst kind of violation. Abusing women in the name of God is blasphemy. Promoting the loathsome view that women are subhuman sex-starved breeding stock who must be tightly controlled by a strict father is the same anti-woman agenda sold by the Taliban, Islamic extremists, and the Vatican.

This renewed War on Women is clearly a last gasp effort of a dying breed of terrified old men who have been in control forever and will do anything and everything to ensure they don’t lose their power. The original He-Man Woman-Haters Club.

Certainly, they are making progress in their current war. Some states might actually ban birth control. Abortion might become illegal. But neither change will last. The future is already in motion. More women than men are graduating from college. More women than men are becoming doctors and lawyers. More women are working today than men. Many young women watched their fathers divorce their mothers, leaving their mother destitute because she’d sacrificed her future to raise her children. And many young women have Deadbeat Dads. Girls today do not want to be like the victims of my generation. And they’re ensuring their lives will be different.

With more money comes more clout. With more women lawyers, there will be more women judges. And if the old white male fear-mongers think those ladies won’t have the self-esteem and resources to fight an anti-woman agenda, they’ve got another think coming.

The extreme right is wrong. The Original Sin wasn’t when Eve disobeyed God and bit the apple of Knowledge, it was when men turned their backs on women.

©2012, Janet Periat

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