Sunday, May 27, 2007

Romance Novels Can Change A Life

From Hirsi Ali comes this quote in a Jerusalem post article

"I could never comprehend the downright unfairness of the rules, especially for women. How could a just God - a God so just that almost every page of the Koran praises his fairness - desire that women be treated so unfairly? When the [Islamic teachers] told us that a woman's testimony is worth half of a man's, I would think, Why? If God is merciful, why did He demand that His creatures be hanged in public? If He was compassionate, then why did unbelievers have to go to Hell?"

In her words, "The spark of will inside me grew even as I studied and practiced to submit." Ali credits Harlequin romance novels for her initial mental deliverance from submission. These books, with their passionate loves and steamy sex scenes were her first glimpse at the possibility of freedom. The novels showed her that the emotions and desires she was told to repress were natural and could even be beautiful and right.

John C Wright, author of fabulous SF novels, in a blog entry on the article, says this:

The next time someone looks down upon romance novels as popular trash, just pause a moment to remember Hirsi Ali, who was lured toward a love of freedom by reading books about love.

The Romance, as an art form, is a Christian invention--even the name speaks of Rome. Marriage is romantic, and therefore a wild adventure: one may chose one and only one woman for life, and there is no backing out of the choice, or putting asunder what God joins together. It is dramatic the way all sacred things are dramatic. Polygamy is a matter of the convenience of the man, or a means of using women to signify alliances between families, or to breed heirs. It is less romantic than horse breeding. It is a trade, but less romantic than horse trading, with the bride's future as the trade goods.


Anonymous said...

Why can't a woman become Pope? Why did God make Eve at Adam's request instead of the other way around? Why do we call god Father? Christianity is at best male oriented, and at worst, mysogenistic.

The snarkster

Mirtika said...

It's not mysoginistic if a man dies to save my soul. :) If God says my husband is to love me so much he would lay down HIS life for mine.

Having roles does not make for misogyny. Men considering women inferior and hating women makes for misogyny. God does not hate women. But he gives men and women roles. And there are also punishments that were distributed for the fall, some fell to men, some to women. But hey, others have argued this far better than I.

All I know is that I've been in the church environment all my life, and I've seen a whole lot of happy women fulfilling their purposes, so it can't be that bad.

BTW, if men actually obeyed God when it came to how to treat women, misogyny would evaporate. It's men getting all up in their "I'm the big cheese mode" that does that.


Mirtika said...

I'm not Catholic, so I don't believe the Pope is the vicar of Christ or the head of the church.

HOwever, I do believe that overseers (whether you call them bishops or priests or pastors) is a role that has been set aside for men. Women can be evangelists, prophets, deaconesses, healers, and teachers to women and youth, missionaries, etc.

There are many roles in the church. The ones who gripe about what they can't do, probably have a pride or sin problem that is more important to attend to than a problem with the structure.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mir,

If you're happy, I'm happy. But I would point out that there are a lot of Muslim women who are happy as well. I mean if you're cool w/ your role as wife #4, then I am too...


Anonymous said...


The only roles I can think of that any Christian church offers exclusively to women are:

1) wives and mothers
2) nuns (unless one of the above)

I can think of roles exclusive to men. There is no daughter of god. And even his son's mother had to be a virgin. Roles/shmoles, it's not a level playing field. Too much womb envy going on.

aspiemom said...

This was a great article. I'm forwarding it to a friend who writes "romance" novels. (Here I use the term very loosely).


Mirtika said...

Snarky, the role of wife/mother is preeminent. But I"m talking of roles in the church. Pope/priest are church roles in the Catholic Church. So, I responded with roles women can hold, Biblically, within the Church in service to the church and have since the dawn of the Church. Women who only can think in terms of "I want to be priest", need to consider that if God does not allow it--and they are free to debate the matter Scripturally, of course--then they must find another way to serve. In the Protestant area, that's easier to do, since we don't have a priest, per se, with "Holy Orders" and the ability to absolve, etc. We have people who serve using their gifts, and if their gift it teaching or prophesy or healing or giving or mercy or tongues or administration or helps or evangelism..all those are open to women. Apostle and pastor are not. But that's a limited limitation. There are more areas of service open to women than NOT open to women.

As far as Christians and Muslims, we're not executing women for stepping out of bounds. That's a key point. Harsi Ali has death threats on her. There are plenty of nuns who want to be priests, advocate and march for it, but no one puts a fatwa on them for uppity women.


Mirtika said...

Oh, and I don't much care if a culture based on Islam wants to allow polygamy, as long as the women want it. :) If the woman says, "No, I don't want to marry that old fart and be his fourth wife," then I think she should be able to marry someone more to her liking. But, hey, not my culture.

However, if you're going to stone a woman for showing her face, or stab a woman for wanting to have a boyfriend, or burn a woman for speaking out against the constrictions imposed on her sex, yes I'm going to have a problem if women are being killed because they simply don't want to follow the strictest interpretations of Islam.

I'm big on freedom of religion. IF someone wants to leave my church and go study in an Ashram, well, Im sorry to see them go, but if they don't believe what the Church teaches, they don't belong there. They SHOULD go on a seeker path. Maybe it will lead them back to us in better, more deep form. :)

IF someone wants to convert to Islam and wear a veil. Their choice. But if someone wants to leave Islam and be Buddhist, and that means they get killed for it, or have a fatwa on them for it, I have a problem.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts Mir,

I persoanally agree that Islam is a dumber religion than Catholicism (although does not have the witch burning history) and is probably the dumbest religion of all because of its want to blend church and state (to wit, to be a legal system too) and, as you say, apostasy (not to mention its joke of a holy text). Scientology is perhaps just a tad more laughable (holy text-wise)and harmless. I think I might be a Hindu, but will have to check into it a bit more.