Heritage Christian School recently wrote to parents, alumni, and supporters asking them to contact their representatives to oppose the Equality Act. This excellent and necessary video from Eliza Rose is the response to Heritage everyone needs to witness. Rose leads by defining some terms and explaining the false gender binary, and then gets into the misogyny, grooming, sexual violence, racism, religious manipulation, spiritual abuse, and weaponized shame at Heritage Christian School.
So to them, and you will see in the video, any folks that are LGBTQIA+, darkskinned, indigenous, non-Christian, struggling with addiction, rape, etc., those folks don’t matter.
Their stance is that they do all of this to “protect women”, but Heritage Christian, historically, does not protect women. In fact, they enable male abusers.
And it is because of the same religious manipulation tactics that justify coercion, abuse, and oppression and marginalization of trans folks.
You can’t create a reason to oppress and marginalize people and then say it’s okay because, “That’s what God wants.” That’s just not how things work.
The harm and miseducation that is being perpetuated by Heritage Christian School has caused many of us to need to seek therapy outside of the school.
What they’re doing is not helping children get an education. What they’re doing is enabling abusers, not teaching consent, holding victims accountable for the trauma they experienced at the school.
You cannot simply pray away abuse and abusive policies. You have to take action to end them yourself.
The history is grim. The culture of “praying away abuse” has lead several former staff and students to take their own lives due to inaction on behalf of the Administration members. Many of the students that did make it out have had to seek therapy with external resources as a result of the abuse that occurred on campus. We demand that Mr. Terry, Larry Curtis Meyers, and Dave Watt never be allowed back to work at the school or attend school events after continued sexual exploitation of students and forced-silence onto the survivors. The phrase “boys will be boys” should be abolished from all classrooms — as it encourages a lack of male accountability and is a formative function of rape culture.
This video also describes @TheElizaRose's experience being told by the physiology teacher, Mr. Stephen Terry, that all women have one fewer ribs than men. She talks about her cognitive dissonance and how she concluded that God did not want her to be a doctor.#ExposeChristianEd
American democracy is up against a relatively large, well-heeled, and highly organized Christofascist bloc whose rhetoric reveals their contempt for pluralism and democratic norms and their desire to impose theocratic authoritarianism on the rest of us. To resist, we need to know how to understand and contextualize that rhetoric. Many of us who have lived and left right-wing evangelicalism and who have been trying, in some cases for years, to expose the Christian Right as authoritarian and abusive, are ready to serve as interpreters.
“Needless to say, racists don’t spend a lot of time hunting down reliable data to train their twisted models. And once their model morphs into a belief, it becomes hardwired. It generates poisonous assumptions, yet rarely tests them, settling instead for data that seems to confirm and fortify them. Consequently, racism is the most slovenly of predictive models. It is powered by haphazard data gathering and spurious correlations, reinforced by institutional inequities, and polluted by confirmation bias. In this way, oddly enough, racism operates like many of the WMDs I’ll be describing in this book.”
Racism makes bad decisions and bad policy. Your careers, my reps, provide ample example. Russia and white supremacists are still interfering in our systems (many of us in infosec and tech offer continuous witness), but Congress and POTUS are more concerned with baseless, performative racism than with fortifying our infrastructure and protecting our citizens against a hostile nation-state and domestic Christofascist terror. Your performances in hearings with Comey, Hayden, Watts, et al demonstrate your loyalties. Those loyalties are not to our country or Constitution. They are loyalties to party, power, patriarchy, and supremacy. A government made of such loyalties is an enemy of the people.
I think we can’t keep going with a system that allows the minority to run the country, especially a racist minority, a misogynist minority, a fundamentalist minority, a cruel…minority.
How long will the majority consent to be governed by the minority?
You represent the most intolerant and cruel of our deliberately poisoned body politic. Beneath respect and beyond moral rehabilitation, you merit not even the pretense of respectability from the constituents you marginalize and endanger. You are not civil. You are not respectable. You are not acceptable. You are not okay. You do not know how to behave in polite society.
You are pariah. Wherever you go, you will be seen and rejected for what you are: racist, misogynist, eugenicist, ableist, bigot, traitor, gaslighter, liar. There are social costs for intolerance. There are costs for imposing your dark, dystopian vision of “one kleptocracy under God” upon us.
I think it’s important for liberal Americans who do not come from a patriarchal religious background to hear our stories and to sit with that shock. Why? Because I remain convinced that if American civil society and the American press fail to come to grips with just how radically theocratic the Christian Right is, any kind of post-Trump soft landing scenario in which American democracy recovers a healthy degree of functionality is highly unlikely.
To put it another way, you may not come from Jesus Land, USA, but Jesus Land is coming for you. We will all be subjected to theocratic dystopia, to “one kleptocracy under God,” if we don’t stop the Christian Right. The Christian Right has been able to acquire massively disproportionate power in part because the press has allowed evangelicals’ slick, code switching PR spin doctors–such as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell “journalists never ask me about my view that feminism is a heresy” Moore–to frame the national discussion of evangelicalism. The result is that the readers of major news outlets are presented with an unrealistically benign picture of a darkly authoritarian, cult-like branch of Protestantism. That’s one reason I’m writing this essay.
The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of (mostly white) conservative Evangelicals hold to a fundamentalist, authoritarian version of Christianity that is incompatible with pluralism, but for that no less “really” Christian, as “real” Christianity comes in both reactionary and progressive versions. Combined with political power, conservative Evangelicalism threatens democracy and human rights, and to continue to treat conservative Evangelicals as if they are operating in good faith within the acceptable boundaries of American democratic norms will serve only to normalize extremism, allowing Evangelicals to further erode our democracy. And pretending that “real” religion is incapable of being abusive and anti-democratic only serves to deflect from the rot within American Christianity that we as a society need to face.
I remember when civility worked. Important People debated if the US should torture. If "enhanced interrogation" is torture. If torture is effective. After the torture, torture leaders got cushy jobs & retirement. Worked for everyone except victims, rule of law, & accountability.
If this administration stole *your* child, would you be calling for civility? No, you’d want Americans to do everything they could to get your kid back. The calls for “civility” are rooted in the white supremacist view that “these aren’t our kids.”
1. You really want to know what grinds me gears about a good portion of "the resistance?" We are literally going through the early stages of ethnic cleansing, yet people are urging that we play chess against an opponent that has flipped the board over & set the house on fire.
Sex ed is a topic of discussion in our community right now as the school district takes input on updating the curriculum. The talk is, predictably, preoccupied with online predators and sexting. These are certainly valid concerns, but the conversations don’t get very structural.
And this is where ironic lampshading comes in, which is when media makers deliberately call attention to a dissonant or overly clichéd aspect of their own production. Rather than writing different punchlines the writers attempt to duck any criticism by pointing out the sexism inherent in their own jokes themselves.
The technique of making something super obvious to viewers meant to let us know that the writers are self-aware and to make us feel like we’re all in on the joke. Most comedy writers know that retrograde style bigotry is no longer acceptable on primetime television, but they still want to use sexist, racist and homophobic jokes as an easy way to get cheap laughs. Ironic lampshading provides a clever way for them to keep getting away with it.
The problem with this comedic device is that, by itself, it doesn’t critique or challenge sexism homophobia or racism. It’s simply acknowledges it in a humorous way. Acknowledging bigotry is not the same as critiquing bigotry, especially when the punchlines end up making light of serious social issues like sexual harassment.
But it’s just TV, you say? Well, the President of the United States is a sitcom misogynist performing his act for rallies full of people. They applaud his toxic worldview like laugh tracks to a sitcom.
Setup, punchline, applause. What we’re applauding are the pathologies we see in our schools. Treating women as pieces of meat who primarily exist for male pleasure is a message that comes at us from every level of society, including the bully pulpit (giving a new connotation to the phrase). When misogynists like Trump watch TV, they see people laughing along with characters doing what they do in real life. Marginalizing and harassing women is mass entertainment played for yucks, and we see the effects. This is our national pedagogy.
Normalization: The cultural process by which a particular attitude, ideology, or behavior becomes established and entrenched in social life. It’s the cultural process through which we come to expect and accept something as natural and normal.
“Toxic masculinity,” on the other hand, is a loose term that’s used to refer to a subset of those behaviors which are harmful or destructive. It’s often used as a sort of shorthand to describe behaviors linked to domination, humiliation, and control.
It’s marked by things like emotional detachment and hyper-competitiveness.
It’s also connected to the sexual objectification of women, as well as other predatory sexual behaviors.
It’s also linked very closely with aggression, intimidation and violence.
The way we ‘turn boys into men’ is through injury: We sever them from their mothers, research tells us, far too early. We pull them away from their own expressiveness, from their feelings, from sensitivity to others. The very phrase ‘be a man’ means suck it up and keep going. Disconnection is not fallout from traditional masculinity. Disconnection is masculinity.
Anger often hides depression and profound sorrow. Depression often masks the inability to grieve. Males are not given the emotional space to grieve. … Males are still being taught to keep it in and, worse, to deny that they feel like crying.
Unable to cope with the loss of emotional connection, boys internalize the pain and mask it with indifference or rage.
The open expression of vulnerability is extremely gendered in Western media culture. Being emotional, especially crying, is seen as stereotypically feminine, as “girl stuff.” We’re all familiar with the stereotype that women are “over-emotional” or “irrational” or “too sensitive.” Now of course, that stereotype is complete nonsense. Everyone has these emotions and everyone has these feelings.
We’re taught that young men should bottle up most of their feelings. That anger or aggression may sometimes be permissible for some men in certain situations, but that vulnerability is strictly off limits because it’s been culturally associated with weakness. But on Steven Universe vulnerability is not equated with weakness, instead it’s simply equated with being a human being.
The lesson here is that men and boys don’t need to protect their loved ones from things that might scare them. Men don’t have to weather the storm alone. Instead we can work through life’s struggles together with our friends, our lovers, and our families.
It’s going to take a long time for us to collectively unlearn these harmful notions about detached manhood. But Steven’s open and emotionally expressive version of masculinity, that’s an inspirational example for us all.
Long before he donned the mask of Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker is instructed to wear another mask: a mask of emotional invulnerability.
I want to underscore the message being presented here. Anakin’s feelings of pain and loss are understandable and completely normal. But instead of getting the emotional support he so desperately needs, this child is instead publicly shamed for expressing his feelings of grief and sadness. And that’s because emotional detachment is valued above all else in the Jedi Order. Young Jedi are instructed to sever all close emotional connections to the people they care about. They must learn to hide their feelings from others, to deny their emotional selves, and to always present a stoic exterior to the world.
Jedi philosophy gets it entirely backwards. Emotional detachment doesn’t prevent men from turning to the Dark Side. Emotional detachment is the cause of men turning to the Dark Side. In the end it’s the Jedi and their philosophy of emotional detachment that’s ultimately responsible for the creation of Darth Vader.
Listening to the teachings of Yoda and Obi-Wan is a guaranteed recipe for creating lonely, angry, broken people.
Living Privately. — Building and maintaining a sense of what to show in each social environment. — Discovering and creating new environments in which we can show more of ourselves. — Assessing where you can grow new parts of yourself which aren’t (yet) for public display.
When a woman gets hacked, she’s got a lot more to lose, and if Mat Honan were a woman, you can be almost certain that his experience of getting severely hacked would have been different. Not only would a girl go through everything Honan experienced, but on top of all that, she would also be subjected to gender targeting and all the ugly stuff that goes along with it. Think about your intimate photos of yourself, ranging from swimsuit shots and selfies with cleavage to the photos and videos that are meant only for the eyes of a person you trust. Such photos, in the hands of someone who doesn’t care about you or your safety (or worse, someone who gets off on hurting women), are disastrous, no matter how proud you are of your body, how sex-positive you may be, or how comfortable you feel with being sexy and strong at the same time. In this chapter, I’ll show you how to take charge of a situation in which your private content has been posted online maliciously or an attacker has otherwise attempted to compromise your reputation. This happens to people of all genders, but not as much as it happens to girls. Our gender makes us targets. Being “online while female” isn’t fair, but it’s a fact. Here’s how you can fight back.
According to security experts, today the industry is dealing with a password reuse crisis. In the past few weeks, account breaches have been reported by LinkedIn, Tumblr, VK.com, Fling and MySpace – bringing the total number of compromised accounts to more than 642 million.
“We know that attackers will go for the weakest link and that is any user who reuses their passwords. It’s a major problem,”
Social media sites are littered with seemingly innocuous little quizzes, games and surveys urging people to reminisce about specific topics, such as “What was your first job,” or “What was your first car?” The problem with participating in these informal surveys is that in doing so you may be inadvertently giving away the answers to “secret questions” that can be used to unlock access to a host of your online identities and accounts.
At most schools, student identities are protected by weak passwords trivially derived from usernames and reused everywhere. Once someone gets ahold of your email password, they can reset your passwords elsewhere and pwn your life. When you reuse passwords, a data leak on a forgotten site can be escalated into a takeover of your email and your identity.
Does your school reinforce harassment and rape culture with its dress codes? Yes, it does.
“I am not a distraction.”
It’s the statement that’s become a rallying cry across the burgeoning movement against inequitable school dress codes, a movement propelled largely by the young girls who are so often targeted by policies that label the parts of their bodies ― whether covered by yoga pants, spaghetti straps, gym shorts, leggings or tank tops ― as “distractions.”
But recently, Evanston Township High School in Illinois gained accolades for releasing an updated dress code that explicitly forbids body shaming and aims to diminish marginalization of students based on their “race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size.”
Students, parents, and others have a number of concerns about public school dress codes and their impact on female students. One concern is that many dress codes are explicitly gender-specific, targeting girls but not boys, or are at least selectively enforced such that they impact female students disproportionately. Student discipline includes removal from class, receiving detention, being sent home, or forced to wear a “shame suit” indicating she has violated the school dress code. Female students are powerfully affected by these policies and many express a profound sense of injustice.” The consequences of being “dress coded” have a negative impact on student learning and participation. Beyond the immediate disruption resulting from removal, detention, and the like, studies suggest that a preoccupation with physical appearance based on sexualized norms disrupts mental capacity and cognitive function.
Consistent with the research on sexualization of girls, many are concerned about the larger symbolic messages that dress codes and their enforcement send to students and society. A common thread among school justifications for sex-specific dress codes is that provocative clothing will distract their male classmates or make male teachers feel uncomfortable. A number of commentators thus maintain dress codes communicate that girls’ bodies are inherently sexual, provocative, dangerous, and that harassment is inevitable. Dress codes and their enforcement can impose sexuality on girls even when they do not perceive themselves in sexual terms. Gender study scholars report that dress codes generally have negative ramifications for women, sending a message that exposing the female body is bad. Laura Bates of The Everyday Sexism Project characterizes the dress code phenomenon as “teach[ing] our children that girls’ bodies are dangerous, powerful and sexualized, and that boys are biologically programmed to objectify and harass them.” Thus, dress codes can constitute a type of “everyday pedagogy,” reproducing normative gender and sexuality preferences.
No student should be affected by dress code enforcement because of racial identity, sex assigned at birth, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious identity, household income, body size/type, or body maturity.
School staff shall not enforce the school’s dress code more strictly against transgender and gender nonconforming students than other students.
Students should not be shamed or required to display their body in front of others (students, parents, or staff) in school. “Shaming” includes, but is not limited to:
kneeling or bending over to check attire fit;
measuring straps or skirt length;
asking students to account for their attire in the classroom or in hallways in front of others;
calling out students in spaces, in hallways, or in classrooms about perceived dress code violations in front of others; in particular, directing students to correct sagged pants that do not expose the entire undergarment, or confronting students about visible bra straps, since visible waistbands and straps on undergarments are permitted; and,
accusing students of “distracting” other students with their clothing.
We sexualize and racialize bodies through dress codes that target specific people while simultaneously maintaining that these one-dimensional standards are universal. All the while, do we ever consider exactly how a dress code benefits student success and the greater good of education? I was once suspended for wearing my hat in the hallway. I missed two days of school and the only learning I soaked in was that the school and the real world were two distinct places in which one of them pissed me off exponentially more than the other.
We should be thinking about ways to engage all learners in education. We should teach that there is a time and place for particular aesthetics, but I question whether or not that should be done through a dress code policy. Perhaps explicit teaching practice that fosters student awareness on the complexities of cultural appropriateness, spatial or social awareness, and for lack of a better term, “playing the game of school” (which translates into the “game” of life, at least, arguably, from a cultural standpoint) is a better route to take. If you think a dress code is appropriate, bring every stakeholder to the table and have an honest discussion. Do not rely on the so-called gaze of the powerful and privileged to dictate what is and is not acceptable. If we allow this, it is clear how and who such a policy affects.
Anything that erodes bodily autonomy reinforces rape culture. Bodily autonomy is a human rights and social justice framework that can unite movements.
Because I wrote a book about women’s sexuality, a journalist recently asked me,”What do women need, for really great sex?”
I said, “Basic bodily autonomy.”
But I want to amend that answer.
First, what do I mean by basic bodily autonomy?
It’s not just control over the decision of whether and when to have any kind of sex - though it is that; the conservative, low estimate is that one in four women will experience sex and relationship violence, compared to one in six men.
For great sex, women need basic bodily autonomy - not being punished (raped or mudered) or judged or shamed, either when we say yes or when we say no. And that will only happen fully when men stop measuring their own worth in terms of their access to women’s sexual bodies. So we need that, too.
“Bodily autonomy,” as an abstract philosophical principle, dates back at least to the ancient Greek philosophers. Over the centuries, legal scholars and political philosophershave thought hard about the relationship between rights and laws, the individual and the group, and the sovereign state and the autonomous individual. In American activist circles, bodily autonomy is most often invoked around the fight for reproductive rights. But what I haven’t seen is an effort to harness this principle in a way that binds our seemingly separate movements together.
Let’s start with the disability piece. I’m the father of a boy with Down syndrome. My concerns for him and for the extended disabled community include opposition to institutionalization, forced sterilization and other eugenic practices, involuntary surgery, mandatory drug regimes, denial of rights for disabled parents, protection for disabled children from violent caregivers and teachers, and lack of accommodations for non-typical bodies. In each case, these issues require a government that refrains from coercing disabled bodies and protects disabled bodies from private coercion. Bodily autonomy extends over these seemingly quite disparate issues.
Evangelical churches, with their insistence on a God-given patriarchal system in which women are believed to be created as male helpmeets, are also facing a potential tsunami of online and private allegations about sexual abuse. After the Harvey Weinstein celebrity revelations prompted the #MeToo movement, two ex-evangelical women started a #ChurchToo movement. The women, Emily Joy and Hannah Paasch, both 27, told Newsweek that after they started the hashtag, they were inundated with thousands of public and private messages from women and girls describing abuse from pastors and at fundamentalist Christian schools and colleges, mostly swept under the rug.
Any appropriate response to #ChurchToo and the problem of sexual assault and abuse in religious communities necessitates the total dismantling and rejecting of purity culture. Lest my words not be taken as radically as I mean them in my heart, what I mean is that we absolutely must stop believing in and teaching that:
A. Total sexual abstinence is morally mandated and required by God until marriage
B. Being heterosexual and cisgendered is “God’s best” and LGBTQ identities are a symptom of “broken” sexuality
C. Women have the responsibility to dress modestly to avoid causing others to stumble
D. Men are to be the leaders in the church and the family, and women are to follow their lead
The heartbreak, the dysfunction, the mental illnesses, the broken families, the lost lives of queer kids, the shame and self-loathing that sticks with you for life no matter how far away you get. Purity culture has blood on its hands – which is why calls to “reach across the theological aisle” are as offensive as they are ludicrous. You can’t “work for change” alongside those who don’t believe you’re fully human or that you’re fundamentally broken because you’re not like them – especially when they are so unwilling to admit that that is what they actually believe that they would rather call their hatred “love” than admit that their theology mandates behavior that is the farthest thing in the world from loving. We can’t agree on basic terms and definitions with Christians entrenched in purity culture – we are not even using the same words to mean the same basic and essential things. Concepts like “love” “God” “Jesus” “knowledge” “right” and “wrong” lose all meaningfulness in the rubric of purity culture that sorts the morality of actions based on whether they align with one’s narrow and limited interpretation of a holy text, not based on whether they contribute to greater human love and flourishing. And ultimately, if we don’t have that, then all we have is the empty promise of being rescued from a made-up hell in exchange for 70 years of being miserable and making others miserable here on earth. And that’s not good enough for me.
This purity culture has deep, oppressing consequences. When women fight for access to birth control by citing non-contraceptive uses-polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, amenorrhea-as if a prescription for its use to simply enjoy sex without getting pregnant is a moral failing-we see the reach of this problem, of how we think about women’s sexuality. Women who’ve suffered female genital mutilation are victims of this virginity fetish, too.
Rape culture and purity culture are two sides of the same coin, where women lose no matter the outcome of the toss. And God forbid a woman find herself in a situation where there is no escape, where the safest option of the moment is submission: she’ll be whispered about and judged by both sides, and when she’s not dismissed as a liar, she’s considered a whore. There is no room for context or understanding-only guilt, shame, and blame. When the choice is between being physically or morally devalued, silence can seem the wisest, least threatening choice.
But the purity movement isn’t all witty underpants and daughters dancing on their fathers’ shoes. The same tenets that underpin purity culture-namely, rigid beliefs about gender and sexuality-are also the features that sustain rape culture. And the negative outcomes are as multifaceted as my purity ring: sexual shame, self-loathing, fear-based morality, and marked ignorance about sexual concepts.
One researcher describes the cost of purity culture as deep sexual shame and self-loathing so intense that she compares it to survivors of childhood sexual assault. An alumnus of a radicalized Christian college reports that the majority of women who graduate from the school cannot label their own anatomies or explain the basics of sex. For young adults kept woefully ignorant by abstinence initiatives, more advanced topics like consent and coercion are even more obscured.
In assessing the efficacy of purity vows, the findings are also grim. Researchers using those tallied pledge cards report no differences between virginity pledgers and control adolescents in terms of sexual behaviors. It turns out true love doesn’t wait-and it also doesn’t use condoms. Adolescents who sign virginity pledges are much less likely to use birth control or condoms and are at increased risk for both pregnancy and STIs.
One team of researchers, tasked with evaluating the arc of abstinence-only initiatives, decries abstinence programs as a threat to adolescents’ fundamental rights. They also note that the programs “reinforce gender stereotypes about female passivity and male aggressiveness,” highlighting a distinct similarity between purity culture and rape culture.
Billy Graham gave misogynistic evangelical purity culture his considerably authoritative imprimatur, contributing to the psychological scars left on many ex-evangelicals who are now speaking out against the community we were raised in.