Content Note for misogyny and misogynistic slurs:
I didn’t know I was going to be introducing a new series tonight. But this is what happens when you listen to Taylor Swift on repeat, drink alcohol, and try to write a blog post at the same time after a long week of dealing with sensitive male egos. Sort of. I realized a while back that I’ve never explained the story behind the blog title! Not that I needed to, because if you read it long enough, I guess you figure it out?
But just for fun, if you’re unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, allow me to VERY quickly summarize it before continuing: Basically, it’s a story about a guy convinces a girl to be in a relationship with him and then marry him even though she’s reluctant and he works at “taming her” to become the ideal wife via psychological manipulation. It’s super fucked up, and I actually refuse to read all of it. But a good modern film adaption is 10 Things I Hate about You which surprisingly is a movie I love.
Flash forward to a couple years ago, and my brother-in-law was telling me about how HILARIOUS it was. Which made me realize that how fundamentalism re: the patriarchy views women and folks assigned female at birth (AFAB) is PRETTY MESSED UP. (Little does he know that conversation sparked the idea for title of this blog.)
Enter: Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off because y’all. This is not ok. Not only do men in fundamentalist circles think this is not a serious issue, they’ll often laugh at how women are treated in entertainment and at how women are treated in relationship to themselves. Like, we owe them something just because they’re men and we should all think they’re fabulous. But oh, if we reject them for someone else (or heaven forbid, a woman), we are a slut/pervert/ugly, etc.
WHAT’S WORSE is hearing this from your own father, brother, cousin, uncle. Maybe this is why certain passages of Scripture are interpreted with that bent. For instance, I Corinthians 6…you know that verse about our bodies not being our own but God’s? Apparently there’s something in the fine print: “and also your body belongs to men.” It’s not just this passage but mannnny like it that are interpreted this way for women to be subservient to men. And I used to think it made sense until I realized the folks telling me that’s “clearly what the bible said,” were all men. Our world has been dominated by men from the start. We have to respect our fathers, our husbands, and apparently all men. Or do we?
Is that really what God intended when he created humanity? That some of the humans create this hierarchy of power and control over others? I DON’T THINK SO. MAYBE I’M WRONG but I feel like humans use God as an excuse to do shitty things to each other. “God told me you would be the person I’d marry.” Or “I believe it is God’s will for us to date.” Or…”I don’t think God wants you to do…” You get the idea.
ANYWAY. It’s been a real messed up week dealing with the patriarchy in the form of the president, my dad, and an ex-boyfriend who randomly started talking to me again after a break-up (his not mine; we broke up like 3 years ago). Turns out you don’t owe anyone your emotional labor and attention even when you’re conditioned to do so.
All my life I’ve been told I have to listen to men because God. Said. So. What if…what if the god we’ve been given isn’t actually the God who is. What if God and the Bible were never meant to be used as tools men could use to control us? What if the Bible was never meant to “tame” us but to help us love each other better? Maybe we should just love each other.