Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Walk the (Hard) Line

Does any of this sound familiar?
1.“…various conservative {preachers} …thunder against ‘naked’ or ‘half-naked’ women roaming the streets.”
2.“Women would be pulled aside and warned if their clothing was deemed inappropriate.”
3.(Describing men’s haircuts) “Short, neat hair is approved; ponytails are definitely not.”
4.“…what is … acceptable was … mostly clean-shaven male models sporting short hair.”
5.“The dress code crackdown is always beefed up at the beginning of summer when temperatures soar and people wear cooler clothing.”
6.(Describing cheerleaders) “They bounce and flip and throw each other around and you see so much of them. They want you to see.”

To those of us either currently or formerly in Fundamentalism, it probably does. I know I frequently heard similar ideas when I was a Fundamentalist - from preachers, teachers, books, camp counselors, school administrators, etc. In fact, #6 is quite conceptually similar to many a sermon I heard warning of the dangers of immodesty.

This list is not from American Independent Baptist Fundamentalist literature, however.

The first five are descriptions of statements from Iranian Islamic clerics and government – one of the most abusive, repressive, misogynistic regimes in our current world political system.

The last one was spoken by a character in a John Grisham novel. This person is a serial rapist and murderer.

When I realized that my cultural rhetoric had more in common with rapists and hardline Muslims than the culture of the average person I came in daily contact with, I knew I needed to get out. Something was very, very wrong.

Perhaps one more quote from that first news story would help enlighten us about the wrong:
“Dictating public behavior and enforcing the strict dress code – especially for women – have long been a way for the regime to demonstrate its control.”

Yes, that’s what it’s really about. Control. Not godliness. Let there be no mistaking the purpose.


#’s 1, 2, 3 -
#’s 4, 5 and final quotation -
#6 – “The Confession” by John Grisham, p. 48

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