Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am So Frustrated Right Now

There is a forum I've been a member of for a while now, starting at time in my life where I embraced a very patriarchal and fundamentalist denomination of Christianity. Even though my views on religion any many other things have changed over the years, I remained a member, because the main focus was on homemaking and there was a lot of good information shared there and a group of mostly very sweet and welcoming women. I had seen and heard complaints in the past from women who left or were banned about the board owner, and about how you were only welcome if you conformed with her particular views and prejudices, but I never really saw that, so I ignored it and figured it was the typical "sour grapes" that follow when people are banned from any sort of online community.

This past week, I've seen that people were right. I can't complain too much, I guess, because I am no longer the conservative Christian submissive wife type that the forum expressly caters to, but I still find the way it was approached hurtful and insulting. With no prior notice or complaints, I received a private message from the forum owner asking me to remove my blog link from my signature, and telling me she had gotten several complaints about it, with no explanation as to what the complaints were. I removed the link, but asked her what was so offensive, because I couldn't really find anything. (I was really confused by this, especially since none of the people who were supposedly offended ever bothered to contact me about it). After several days, the answer I got back was, "The imagery in the poem was disturbing, and not God trusting. Women who visited your blog also checked out your links, that is what drew the most criticism.".  (The poem in question was "Fight Like A Girl")

This both frustrates me and pisses me off. For one, I don't see what's disturbing about a woman standing up for herself, and I don't see how refusing to allow yourself to be beaten, raped, or disrespected would prevent someone from also trusting in God. Then again, if that is the worldview expected of "God trusting" women, I guess it explains why so many Christian friends and acquaintances of mine have been victims of rape and/or  spousal abuse, and then further victimized by shaming from a community which expects them to obey and submit not only to God, but in some cases to the very man who was the source of their abuse. Nothing specific was mentioned about the links, but as most of mine are either related to pregnancy or rights issues, I'd bet it was the feminist and reproductive rights blogs that chafed these people, and probably for the same reason. I just don't understand the mentality of a woman, or women, who'd get so out of sorts about a woman choosing to stand up for women's rights that they'd go and tattle to a forum admin and ask for censorship, rather than approaching the person they had the problem with first.
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