Libby Anne is starting to put the questions for her Raised Quiverful project together. And just now I realized that, though I read all blogs written by the people who participated, there’s one person whose answers I’m most curious about. And that person is Joe from Incongruous Circumspection. I don’t mean to insult the women who answered in any way, I dearly love reading their blogs as well and I’m curious about their answers too. I think I’m so curious to read Joe’s answers because he is the only man to answer.
It’s so rare to read about men who lived in the P/QF movements and left them. It seems as if they don’t exist! Now, you could certainly argue on a gender based foundation, saying that women simply feel more comfortable talking about such emotional topics, that they talk more anyway, and that it’s easier for them to word these things because they know their emotions better than men do.
I don’t think that’s the (only) reason. I’ve been thinking about it and this is what I came up with:
In the P/QF movements, men model Christ with all they do, and they’re supposed to possess qualities such as strength both physical and emotional, intelligence, discipline, leader skills, responsibility, self-sacrifice by working and providing and so on. Women on the other hand are submissive, meek and quiet, simple (-minded), following their husbands who, as I said, are like Christ to them. Men are leaders, women are followers.
When a woman breaks free of these structures, she certainly will face a lot of problems with the circles she’s leaving. She’ll be called rebellious, evil, sinful, worldly. But you can’t ignore what she’s doing at that point: From being a follower, she strives to be strong, self-governed, responsible. She tries to equalize herself with men and, ultimately, with Christ. While that’s negative within the P/QF communities, she’ll be respected in the ‘real’ world. She’ll probably experience a lot of positive feedback from the normal people she meets, who will tell her she was right and strong. A woman always breaks free of rather negative characteristics and adapts positive (manly) characteristics.
Do not forget that women are blamed for ‘feminine’ men. It’s not the men who give up their strength, it’s always women who take it away from them. The strong woman is feared in the movement. She is something you have to scream about, criticize and beat to show her her place in the world. It takes a lot of violence to make a woman submit – or at least try to do that.
Now, men are never blamed for a loss of their power. It’s always women who take it. Men are generally attributed all these positive characteristics and the second they reject any part of this system – watch out, this is where it gets interesting – they lose their Christ-likeness. They voluntary step down from their position of power to a lower position – namely that of a woman. They lessen themselves by rejecting the P/QF beliefs. They supposedly admit their weakness, their lack of responsibility and intelligence, their lack of leadership skills.
While a woman who leaves is strong (in the position that only men should have), a man is weak and scared, retreating into the passive position of a woman.
And while a woman who leaves gets all this positive affirmation from the normal world, what do men get? Even in the normal world, they might seem weak and emotionally unstable. Even for the normal world, he loses his position of a ‘man’. And that’s precisely what I think doesn’t only keep most men from talking about their experiences, it’s also what stops men from leaving those movements in the first place.
No matter how you turn it, a woman will always be in a positive, strong position, a man will always be in the weak position. I can fully understand every man who is afraid of losing his entire manliness because of this. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t leave to preserve this manliness. But I understand what makes it so much harder to show ‘rebellious’ characteristics as a man.