My friend asked me to go to her church group on Tuesday mornings. For a few weeks I've been attending and reading the book and bringing snacks and taking notes and just being really dutiful. I like church more than I once did, and even though this isn't my church, I thought I'd give it my all.
I wasn't feeling all of the discussions over the last few weeks. I am an open person, so that means I have my own ideas, I respect their ideas, and don't have issue with our difference of opinions. Maybe this openness leads to my naivety, but I always thought most people were in agreement about basics: murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, be kind, don't hurt others, flowers and bunnies are good, etc.
Toward the end of this gathering, a woman began sharing a problem she and her husband had. The problem wasn't the concern, but she was frustrated because she wanted him to do something and he wouldn't, and she was struggling with his leadership role at this point in their marriage.
At the word 'leadership' I did the Scooby-Doo ears (see Kathy Griffin) and started to pay real attention. As if a common understanding ran through the room, all the other women started to comfort her--head nodding, small exclamations, general sympathies. The group leader quieted everyone and began to assure the ladies that we all struggled at times with our "subservient roles." (Real, real big Scooby-Doo ears).
I leaned over to my friend. "What is she talking about?" My friend nodded her head. "When we don't agree with our husbands and we struggle to stay in our subservient role." Me, again, "What?" She nodded again. "It says that in the bible."
Sigh. Here is my organized religion struggle. I don't follow the menstrating guidelines in the bible, and I surely am not following the subservient rule either. I just sat back in my chair and when the conversation winded down, I went to pick up my tray that had my snacks. Then they began to pray, so I stopped and folded my hands.
And they started to pray that they be more subservient!! My mouth fell open--not in a forced gaping mouth as I often do for effect, but a true drop of the mouth. I couldn't pray for this. I couldn't believe women thought this. I knew some men still thought this, but I believed women were all together on this (that's the naivety) and we were trying to change the minds of said men. No! Some women want to be subservient.
I wanted to intervene, to say something, to make them see. That would be fruitless, just as me going to that class again would be. So now I need to tell my friend I can't go to class anymore and I don't want it to be a mess. Part of me thinks I should stand up for women, that it is my job to take a step in the right direction for them, but I doubt I do. I can easily say it is because it won't help (which it won't) but it is really because I don't want a social confrontation and rift.
When I see her tomorrow, what I want to say is, "Unless you buy your slaves from Canada and not from Missouri and keep your hair long, I don't want to hear this subservient nonsense." But I won't. I will probably say, "I don't think that group is for me" and be on my way. Bad feminist.