Mike thought the depiction was "unfair." Unfair to whom exactly? Satan? Then he accuses me of coloring a whole group of people. What group is that? Christians? Because I know Christians who don't believe in Satan, so I don't see how this picture can be construed as coloring all Christians. I heartily applaud religions that are moving toward a more egalitarian worldview, but why is the fact that some religions are making positive changes make it not okay to call attention to those who aren't?
I found this statement interesting: "While I get the medium of picture/caption isn't geared toward nuanced conversation I figured that I would at least get a head nod that infact there are people out there in their respective faiths that would like to work to see this attitude go away. Its a shame we couldn't even agree on that." Well, Mike, it's a shame you couldn't be more clear about what you meant. When you start out saying that it's "dated" and "unfair," it sounds an awful like you're saying that there's no problem and therefore no need to discuss anything.
And I've got a bone to pick with this one too: "So I guess your experience of religion trumps all of the people in the christian church." Well, um, last time I checked, this is my blog and I do an awful lot of talking about my own experience. And thank you, Infidel753, for pointing out: "Funny acoustics in here. It almost sounds like there are people telling you that your actual experience of life doesn't count or is 'unfair' to talk about because it doesn't fit in with their view of the world."
I appreciated Jonathan Blake's comment, that the picture is not so much satirizing a religion as much as an attitude, an attitude that does in fact still exist and needs to be challenged.
As XR4-IT pointed out, "Religion may not be the only anti feminist influence, but it has been a major player."
Patrik, Patrik. (Patrik and I go way back.) I'm developing a love-hate relationship with your comments. ;-) Mormons definitely hold onto patriarchy and traditional gender roles more than most of Christianity, I'll give you that. (Although Mormons are certainly not the only sect to have a problem with this.) I think it is wonderful that your mother is a nurse and your wife is a teacher, but I hardly see how that proves that neither of them felt constrained by traditional gender roles. Before you get mad, let me finish. If, in fact, these women did have an opportunity to consider any and every possibility for what they could or should be and then decided that they would truly love being a nurse and a teacher respectively, then I'm very happy for them and their accomplishments, and they should be commended, and definitely be paid more. Teachers and nurses are both underpaid and under-appreciated professions, largely because they have been regarded as "women's work," and therefore not important and not deserving of recognition or fair monetary compensation.
Now about stay-at-home moms. There is nothing wrong with a woman (or a man, for that matter) deciding that she wants to stay home and devote all her time an energy to raising her child. There is everything wrong with a woman being told that that's what she should do, and that she's a bad mother or a bad woman if she chooses otherwise. And again, motherhood should be acknowledged and recognized as a valid profession and I dare say mothers (or whichever parent is the primary caregiver) should be monetarily compensated, as happens in many European countries. Parenting is absolutely real work.
Which brings me to what I thought was an excellent comment from TheOtherOne:"Do they even notice that these people subtly redefine "feminism" as a woman seeking out non-traditional gender roles?" Thank you! Feminism is not just about women having the option to pursue non-traditional paths. It's also about women being validated, affirmed and appreciated when they do traditionally feminine work (mothering, teaching, nursing, etc.).
Finally, Leif, it really has been a long time since we've talked, and I very much appreciate your comment. I think it's fantastic that you're working at the school and trying to give some hope to the kids there. The town where we grew up has a problem with kids not feeling like life has a lot of possibilities more than many other places, I think. Religion is part of that, but there are other factors as well, as you point out.