Blog Archive

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THIS ONE IS FOR MARY & ALL THOSE WHO LOVE HER: Rape Culture and the Christmas Story

Exhibit A. 1 in 200 American pregnancies are described by the pregnant girl/woman as virgin conceptions (no vaginal intercourse). Many of these who describe themselves as virgins, though pregnant, come from the chastity, save-yourself-for-marriage circles.

Exhibit B. 73% of Americans believe in the Virgin Birth, that "Jesus was born of a virgin" …that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, and gave birth… as a virgin. Source: Pew Research: Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays...

For the record, this is the year 2013.

Before you accuse me of ignorant, unempathetic atheism, please read the following HotForJesus posts about Christmas. I can lather on the sentimental poetic prose until you’re up to your neck in a frothy, lightly sweetened meringue of sloppy, soul-clutching Christmas Spirit-uality.

Let me get my torch...

SPEAKING WORDS OF WISDOM: There’s Something About Mary > The Original pre-HotForJesus blog essay… a piece that pushed me past the syrupy sticky mess of bittersweet Christianity to the point of absolute honesty.  Lots of former fundagelical women gravitate to catholicism and the gnostic gospels. My theory is Mary… my goddess before Jesus was forced on me. 

Here & Here: Christmas Music to End All Christmas Music. Part 1 & II: I give a small sample of how utterly immersed in the Christmas message and music I used to be.  I’ve sang in enough mind-blowing Christmas scenarios to make your Christmas music collection look and sound like … like… the noise a Christmas goose makes before you kill it.

Santa's Little Helper & Jesus' Lamb Duke It Out: I’ve been towing the Jesus is the Reason for the Season line, and making little girls cry about it, before the phrase “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” existed on coffee mugs.  Santa is not real.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is Lying.

Here I bemoan, with the help of Banksy, the commercialization of Christmas.

And here I celebrate the Real Reason for the Season… My Birthday: End of the World & Winter Solstice. 

Call me bitter, call me mean-spirited… but believe me, I have played the Christian Christmas schtick to The Hilt.

Please, Do Not come to me with anything resembling the following complaints and excuses:
  •  "Rape culture" should be left out of discussions about deeply held religious beliefs regarding Christmas. Everyone’s beliefs deserve respect.
  • “I’m sorry you feel this way, but Jesus was a feminist.”
  •  Keep these thoughts to yourself. No one wants to hear them. There’s nothing wrong with teaching young girls and boys that consent applies to all sexual situations except the "immaculate conception" Virgin Mary story.
  • Marriage and age meant different things 2046 years ago!
The year is 2013. Apparently the majority of the USA believes Mary, mother of Jesus, was a virgin… impregnated by God/HolySpirit/WhatHaveYou.

My 2013 No-Brainer Complaint: This impregnation was Not immaculate conception and it was NOT consensual.

I know nothing I say can/will change the mind of a person immersed in such deep patriarchal bull-meringue that they cannot see behind the Virgin birth is a story about the possible rape of a young girl… that Mary’s rape gives the GOP the right to tell "legitimately raped" young women, never mind the ones who are raped who explain their pregnancies as immaculate conceptions, that abortion is wrong in all cases of rape… because otherwise… would we have Jesus!?

The Gospel of Luke reads like a fairy tale. Every good Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian home reads this story before opening Christmas presents... or at least mine did. Sometimes we even worked in the resurrection story (which is more accurate. Christmas/birth and Easter/resurrection of light should be swapped.)

Luke tells a fantastic tale of an angel of the lord who scares the crap out of a young tweenager then mansplains to her that she is going to be impregnated by his Boss. (Luke 1: 26-38)

Mary’s “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord” is NOT consent.  12 year old girls do not, CANNOT, give consent to being forced into motherhood by All-Powerful Male Gods. Dirty old men and entitled dudebros know which women/girls won’t fight back, which ones will break more easily than others, which ones will bend over backwards to please the patriarch.

If Mary had said, “Cool. Let me think about this and I’ll get back to you.” 
Or if Mary had used the chastity line, “Sorry. I’m saving myself for marriage.” 
Or said “Fuck off”… there would be No Greatest Story Ever Told.

But Mary “behaved” just as God knew she would.  She did as she was told.  There was no discussion. This is not Free Will. This is not Immaculate Conception. It's abusive male power using young women to meet their "needs" and not thinking twice about it. Do you think twice about it?

I don't know about you, but I want NO Part in a belief system that expressly celebrates a 12-13 year old female body being used as a vessel, given as a "gift" to an All-Powerful Male God so he can give the world a human sacrifice.

Stop! and Look!

Look at the story at the root of Christmas and Christianity. It teaches little girls to be complacent, compliant, to feel honored by inappropriate attentions of older, more powerful men… to give their body as vessels for something greater than themselves and allow themselves to become invisible beyond their roles as mothers and wombs for little male gods.

It teaches boys that the bodies of women and girls are for their bidding for the creation of little Mini-Mes, with which they will conquer the world, … and all for the Glory of God.

Nope. Sorry. I’ve crossed that line.  

I understand the need to celebrate light in the darkness.  I understand the strong, strong pull of bittersweet sentiment and tradition. 

I no longer understand how in any shape or form, in the year 2013 and beyond, we can celebrate the coerced impregnation of a young girl.  

And this coming from a person who used to make people cry when singing "Ave Maria" and Handel's "Messiah".

So... remind me Why are we celebrating the forced pregnancy of a child... the rape of a barely teenage girl? Why?

I've run out of reasons why this a good idea... and I'm pretty sure I've heard them all.

These kind of posts is how I make friends :)


Infidel753 said...

A powerful point. If Mary didn't like the idea, what was she supposed to do?

That objection that "everyone's beliefs deserve respect" is especially stupid. What about the beliefs of racists or fascists? What about an adult who still believed Santa Claus existed? No one could sincerely respect that belief, but it's a pretty good analogy for religion.

Christine Vyrnon said...

People get VERY upset about having the truth about Santa revealed... both as children and as parents who want their child to have a "normal" childhood. So any discussion of the Virgin Mary as a forcibly impregnated yound girl... who, let's face it... 73% is virtually Everyone wants/needs to believe to be a Holy Mother... means this discussion is nearly impossible to have, even as we attempt to discuss the roots of a culture that normalizes the abuse of female bodies. I'm willing to attempt this... so thank you, Infidel, for reading & responding!

Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy to log into google at the moment, but I felt I had to express my appreciation for this post, this perfectly modulated and argued post. What you wrote needs to be said. It's part of a whole process of unwinding the historical coils of sexism and misogyny, one of the best and noblest things we can be doing. Whenever I get to thinking about how the world can suck--I was just looking at dead elephants yesterday with trunks/faces removed just for their tusks--I sometimes think of how much progress we've made with gender equality. (And how much further we have to go.) Kudos to you.

Christine Vyrnon said...

It's been awhile... so good to see you back here, Eric! (I think I have the right Eric...) Thank you for expressing your appreciation. It's refreshing to have it out there/here and not just in my head. This teen "virgin" coerced to bear a child who was to be sacrificed for the Greater Good... not exactly a story we need to romanticize much longer. I have 'faith' that we are smarter & more creative than this story... all of it. It deserves a great deal of scrutiny at the very least. Thanks for reading & responding!

Fergie said...

I'm confused. So you STILL believe she was a literal virgin (as in, she had never had sex) when she conceived Jesus? You can see past a 12 year old being able to give consent, but you can't understand that the Hebrew word which was translated as "virgin" for our books can also mean "young woman"? That she may not actually have never had sex? My goodness. You are crying rape and saying that an all-good, all-knowing God raped Mary, when it's much more likely that Jesus was not even immaculately conceived? If you should be blaming anyone, you should blame whoever actually had sex with Mary.

Also, at that time in history, 12/13 years old was quite old enough to have a baby, considering most people didn't live much past their 30s, if they even got that far. Teen pregnancy, in that time period, was the norm.

Also also, if you actually believe in the Christian God, you would believe that He has a reason for letting what happens on Earth happen, or for planning it the way He plans it. Even the rapes of today... He allows those to happen. IF you believe in the Christian god, who is simultaneously all-knowing and all-good.

And don't think I'm some atheist, because I'm not. I believe in God, and I'm probably a Christian. But God is for certain, with me. However, it seems to me that your argument has many holes in it, based on the reading and study that I've done.

Christine Vyrnon said...

Fergie - I can tell that you're confused... as am I with your response. Are you suggesting that I believe in the Christian God? Did you read the blog or pages that I linked to in the blog before responding here?

Let's start with that. If you choose to reply we Might be able to continue this conversation. Unfortunately your use of the phrase "crying rape" suggests any further explanation on my part might very well be a waste of time.