Of all the things I find troubling in fundamentalist any-religion, I think the fact that there are any women that subscribe to these faiths is the most puzzling. Whether it is fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Hinduism or even Jewish fundamentalism (yes, that is a real thing) these religions hold women in lowest possible regard. Why any woman would willingly belong to a faith that insists “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” is confusing to say the least.
Until you think of it in the context of how much freedom can be found in giving it up. Whenever anyone writes about pro-authority attitudes we often miss how seductive the idea of not making your own decisions can be. After all, if someone else is calling the shots, then you are not responsible for your own actions at all. Women in these faiths are not alone in that regard, fundamentalist men have, the insistent anti-government attitude of Christian Fundamentalists in America aside , an almost pathological regard toward authority. The fact that they choose an authority that can never be held up to any test is that much better for them. Their leader, God can never be proven wrong, and so long as they follow him, neither can they. Nor can they be blamed for their actions, as it was all God’s plan.
It’s seductive, it really is, and not just in the point of view of politics or group dynamics, but on a personal level. You never have to worry about making a choice because your pastor/cleric/rabbi/husband/son has already made it for you. I admit it, I’ve fantasized about it, how nice it would be to have all my decisions already made for me. How pleasant would it be to just be a thing, the extension of another, validated by my usefulness to them? It is, however, just a fantasy and ultimately, in submitting, I would still be enabling a system that caused harm to others. I would still be an accomplice, just as responsible for my inaction as I might be for my action.
Hopefully this will get through to even one person who is in this position. I hope it convinces them, if not to leave the situation, to empower their daughters to leave. It would be nice if rather than put their heads in the sand, comfortable in their own ignorance, they stood up, gave a good long though to what was best for them, their children and their community, and told their husbands “that’s nice dear, but there will be no submission today.”