Let’s talk a little about women, or to be more specific “real women” or “good women.” I spend a lot of time browsing through the Quotes section of Pinterest. Occasionally I come across a quote or meme that will annoy me. Quite often they have to do with categorizing women using terms such as “a real woman” or “ a good woman,” the implication being that if you are not those things, you are somehow not “real” or “good.” I usually shake my head and then move on from them, but every once in a while, one will just make my blood boil and I’ll repin it with comments of outrage to my feminist board. Such was the case when I saw the image below extolling the virtues of being a “Women of God,” that is until someone questioned why I find it offensive. Having been a so-called woman of god for a large part of my life, I understand the bullshit that is implied, hell not even implied it’s right in your face that if you’re not of God, you’re somehow lacking. Just take a read… Now let me just say that my during my childhood, Sundays were spent at one church or another until my Mom chose the Mormon church, where I was baptized at age 8. Though I wavered some in my teen years, in my 20s I committed myself to the religion and was a devoted, active member until I left at 27—a long story for a future blog post—which I guess technically means I was a woman of God. Over sixteen years have passed since I decided to leave the Mormon church and religion as a whole, but I still maintain many of my friendships from those days. While these days there are many differences between those friends and me, many having to do with the fact that my life hasn’t included marriage or motherhood, there are also many similarities. We bring to adulthood many shared experiences. Our connection is primarily limited to Facebook, and I’m sure they’re as annoyed by my liberal views and occasional profanity, as I am by their conservative views and regular mentions of God and Jesus. I don’t judge them, and I don’t think they do me. But then I see words such as the ones above, and I wonder. Those words are familiar, maybe not in exactly that order, but their meaning rings familiar. They are messages that I often heard in church. Thoughts I probably believed about myself 16+ years ago. It was that very message that was at the forefront of my mind in the year or so before I decided to walk away from the church. The message that God and religion made me a better person was a comforting one at one point in my life, but as I got older, it created more questions than answers for me. “Better than whom?” “Better how?” “I don’t feel like I’m better, am I just not good enough?” So as I read those words today, and as I come to learn more about myself and my core beliefs about life, I realize that I want to be a good person not because I believe in a god, but because good is just simply good on its own merits. I am not perfect by any means, but I can use profanity and seem coarse, while maintaining a tender heart. I can be rude and then remind myself that rude was what I did, kind is who I am. I can seek fame and fortune, and maintain my faith in the beauty and gift that is life. I can be all of those things that seem to contradict themselves because above all I am a beautifully imperfect real woman and that’s what makes me human.
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