Other People’s Experience isn’t Yours
Whatever it is that you’re talking about, please take a step back and realize that even if they live in the same country as you do, there may be a large difference between how they were raised and experience the world and how you do.
My most common complaint about fetlife is the Americanization of a Canadian site and how often it’s expected that my views should be the same as yours. We may be similar, but we’re not the same.
Then I get the Christian brigade who want me to have their faith, to which I say that’s how I was raised. But I’m like the devil quoting the Bible. I know the words, I used to have the faith. But I don’t anymore. And that goes beyond annoying for me when I see people judge others who aren’t and never were Christian by the articles within the Christian faith. The world is not homogenous.
And today’s women think we all have to be bold and confident and wear immodest clothes. If any at all. We don’t. Some of us were raised in very sheltered ways that would seem like we were frozen in the 13th century. And what you display is so shocking and would get us excommunicated, our kids ripped from our arms, divorced and separated from our families. Never able to see them or talk to them again. Dumped into a world that we were told all our lives is evil, and near suicidal in our feeling alienated and struggling just to breathe.
Most of us are somewhere between black and white, or we have close loved ones that are and we watch as they are hurt, in the news and social media, and in real life.
As I’ve said before, I was raised in a very small hamlet. Surrounded by extended family at church, at school and at home. All I knew of the world was that it was evil. And in the paper and on the news were really good examples why this was said from the pulpit. There was war, greed, and so many other evils it was right that we were told to keep ourselves separate. So we did as the bishop, elders and pastor told us to. We did as our parents said with our little rebellions in a way they would likely never find out. Or away from home. So we weren’t taken from all we knew.
As I’ve said before, in my rearing gender was something that was very linear. Girls and women did the housework and gardening, boys and men did the outside work and dealt with the evil world so we were safe.
Women wore ‘modest’ clothes, kept to ourselves and were limited in our interactions with anyone who could tell us that we were being stunted and harmed by those who claimed they were protecting us.
If we disagreed, if we failed to follow their lead, we were punished. By our peers, by our family. If we weren’t quiet, and respectful of them, we weren’t divorced. We were shunned, kicked out of the family and our entire world was taken from us. We were taken from ourselves.
This is the context of culture and faith to many women around the world. Jews, Muslems, Hindu, and yes some Christians (Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, Mormons…)
So restricted and kept subservient to their whim by our gender.
And after we do leave, we don’t always throw away what was confining us. But we do often stay very firm in what gender means to us. We fought hard to raise our voices as girls and women, to re-parent ourselves and do the work.
We fought hard to be girls and women. So when we speak about who we are, we speak as girls and women. Which may seem abrasive to you, esp if you’ve had your own struggle of acceptance in the broader world (ie race, gender, sexuality). But, just know….
it isn’t about you!!
It’s about finding us. We don’t hate you. In fact we get intimately how hard the struggle is to be just who we are against a hostile world.
We’re finally finding our voices and we need to talk and feel about it to be free. For the first time in our lives.
I hope you’ll pardon our stepping on your toes and try to remember what it felt like when you were working toward your own freedom, instead of calling us names and telling us we’re doing something wrong.
we need to be girls and women!
And we need to shout that that is ok from the rooftops till we believe it for ourselves. We don’t all have the same journey to that place as you do.
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