Monday, June 19, 2006

Entered Without Comment

Note: This is the response I recieved from Heather after posting something several pages down. It's more than interesting enough to warrant being posted in its entirety.

Andreas,

Let me preface this note by telling you . . . this is a rant. I have a smile on my face as I write, but a rant nonetheless. I have never in my five years of attending Christ Church heard or seen such chauvinistic, patronizing, and derogatory statements about me, let alone from someone I've met briefly one time (at the V2020 potluck if you recall). Actually, I've never been so insulted (for my choices as a woman) in my life, though Bill London's off list emails to me take a close second. You demonstrate such thorough ignorance combined with a provincial impulse to judge someone that you know only by their gender and their religion that it's hard for me to know where to start. Rant, rant, etc.
When I hear people like H., who's married to the son of our local theoconfederate pastor, is happy in her marriage despite having no recourse outside it, no way to leave him if he becomes abusive, and no way to support herself if he chooses to leave, I believe her.
Do you realize how insulting that all is? No recourse if abused? Implying that abuse in my marriage (with which you are not acquainted) is a real possibility? I feel stupid even answering this but...

1) I have the church elders, who would (as I've seen them do in the past, and as they are currently doing in the present) intervene on a wife's behalf even though the abuse is non-physical. Abuse of any sort ( physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual ) is not something ignored in the church despite what you seem to be asserting outright and what you may have read written by other ill informed Idahoan sorts like yourself.

2) I have family. My father-in-law would resign from the pastorate if he had a son who was abusive to his wife. I have a fully functional family on
both sides and would never be left with out recourse.

3)There are the police. Yes, I live in the same town that you do, and we have a police department. I know how to dial 911. Your wife and I share that protection. No way to support myself? Sheesh... I'll address this below.
It would be difficult for Nate -- I have no reason to believe is personally worse than anyone else -- to be cruel to her on purpose.
On purpose? Nice qualification. The things you are implying about my husband and the nature of our relationship both in the paragraph above and paragraph below are nothing short of ridiculous. You are not only flat out lying about two people you evidently know nothing about (read -- zippo), you are insulting my intelligence as a woman. You're not writing this about an abstract theoretical Christian woman. You are writing this about me. While I can't account for all the stupidity to be found in the confines of Christendom (and there's a lot), I can give account for my life, the lives of my friends and family, and what is taught at my church. Within our church there is little thing called accountability. But, I'm already tired of trying to start my explanations at square one . . .
But insofar as he is not domineering, he is not domineering at his discretion, and can start or stop at his discretion. The rules that apply in the outside world stop at the door of his house: he is the king of his castle. All the decisions of the household, all the final say, belongs to him. He may choose to stay or he may choose to leave as he pleases. He's the source of financial stability in the household. If he is abusive and she chooses to leave, she has the Hobson's choice of leaving her children behind in a financially stable houshold or taking her children with her to face the job market with a nonexistent or spotty resume.
Let's go here, shall we? Since you insist. In the first paragraph you asserted that I would have"no way to support [my]self if he chooses to leave," and then again talk about a "nonexistent or spotty resume." Ignoring the bizarre falsehood about the nature of my marriage, do you know me? Do you know anything about me, outside of my gender and affection for the Apostle Paul? I don't remember you asking me about my personal history the one time we met, and yet you're willing to say these things publicly about me. Do you realize how hard it is for me to take you seriously on anything you say at this point? I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in History and an emphasis in Latin American Studies. I've taught English as a Second Language in both the US and Chile. Twice, I've worked for the Oneill Corporation in Western Europe (Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and England.) Se habla Espanol. Spent time traveling in Indonesia (studied the Indonesian language as well), Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Mexico, Costa Rica, Israel (I have family in Haifa), Ireland, and all over the USA. I was a sponsored surfer and as a result, I've modeled products in advertising that was used in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. I've worked as a freelance writer for national and international magazines (not the Co-op newsletter), worked as a software tester and technical writer and I currently do web work on the side. Nate's been encouraging me to start writing again (though it will be tougher for him to convince me now that I've read you -- my resume is just too spotty ). I could continue but I hope you see my point. Ah, you may say, but what about the rest of those poor folks who have grown up in Wilson's world? Let's say a little about women in the family I married into. All daughters and wife are college educated. My mother-in-law taught English lit and other various subjects from the time her kids were in school until the present. She still teaches occasionally. She wrote an English grammar and is always plunking away at other writing related projects. My husband's older sister, besides mothering five wonderful kids, has a design company and has had various art commissions since I've been here. His younger sister has a floral and housewares shop downtown and two small children. That Wilson. Always trying to keep his women folk down. Would you like the breakdown of my friend's degrees and work experience? Do you need to hear about studies in Australia? France? Central America? Do you want to hear about a female certified paramedic, an M.D., a young woman working with African orphans? Do you know what percentage of women at Christ Church work outside the home? Do you actually know anything about Christ church women that you haven't read off some insecure "man's" blog?

I'm tempted to start in on the whole stay at home mom thing as well but I'll steer clear for now.
Insofar as he is a good husband, it isn't because of, but, rather, in spite of the unfair and anti-egalitarian privileges he has been given. It's where he rejects the fact that he can act with absolute impunity, rather than where he accepts it."
Let's bring the rant in for a landing. Theme: you know not of what you speak, and, to paraphrase Solomon, even a dope will be thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut. I remember my father-in-law once referring to you as nice but ill-informed. I've seen the ill-informed part, but where is the nice? I met your wife briefly, and she was pleasant.. But I'm concerned. What recourse would you have if she left you? Would you be able to support yourself?

Two things to close. One -- just to satisfy curiosity, have you ever worked outside of Idaho (excluding WA, of course)? I'm wondering because you're seeming so -- ahem, cough, cough -- damn provincial. Two, one of the things I respect about my husband (and one of the reasons why I know he's not a chauvinist) is because he is able to take correction from women and cheerfully admit when he is wrong. You embarrassed yourself on your blog on this front (though you've given a number of my girlfriends a good laugh), let's see you do the same.

Cheers,

Heather Wilson

PS: If you'd ever interacted as I have with reconstructionist or real neoconfederates (as I have in my youth) you'd know neither is an apt description of my father-in-law or church. It's like calling someone a communists 'casue he thinks Marx had anything of value to say or cited him once in a term paper.

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