Friday, March 21, 2014

Those boys ran me ragged today. We did EVERYTHING except take naps. That we did not do.
But we hiked down the railroad tracks to the post office, took the road back. Of course I had to get a shot of the boys in front of the beautiful old red door of the train station which is where our post office is housed.

Gibson loves the hat. Can you tell?

There was chicken feeding. 

There was egg hunting.

And there was lots and lots of playing on the play set, especially on the new swinging see-saw that Boppy built and finished hanging before he left to go to the island. 

It is a huge hit. Boppy rode on it with Owen and with both boys and with me and with me and Gibson and the boys rode it over and over again, just the two of them. 

It was such a beautiful day that every time we came inside, we would soon find ourselves putting our shoes back on to go out again. We fed the neighbor's dog and followed him around the yard and gave him treats. We had our time on the swing on the swing porch. The boys picked and ate sour flowers. We fed the goats. The boys watered plants with the hose and yes, they watered themselves as well.

And. We put the baby chicks in the little coop in the big coop and we checked on them many times and gave them grapes and talked to them and they seem fine and I'm pretty sure they'll survive the night. 
Boy. I sure hope they do.

And all of this is not even to mention the games and the many, many snacks and water and juices. Constant. All of it. And after their papa came and got them to take them home, I cleaned out the ice chest chick home and set it outside with bleach and soap in it to soak and I've tidied and swept and put the trikes away and the toys and the cards and, and, and...

I'm exhausted. And I know the boys are too. And when they get their baths tonight, the tub is going to need scrubbing when they get out. They are filthy. In such a good way. 

My boys, my boys. I never could have imagined this. This whole grandchild thing. It's like when you have your own children. You know that it's going to be earth-shattering, life-changing but even with everything you've heard, and throw in evolution to boot, you still have no idea. 

Well, so it goes. 

And as natural and correct and perfect as all of this seems, I read something today, a link sent to me by our Beloved Ms. Sarcastic Bastard, that made me sick to my stomach with the unnaturalness and distinct wrongness of it. 

It's about a movement among certain Christians wherein the daughters of the family attend Purity Balls and receive purity rings from their fathers and vow to stay chaste until they are married. Even kissing is off limits. But the thing that made me sick was this: the girls are told that the rings signify that they are married to the Lord and their fathers are their boyfriends. 
The link is here. 
As a woman who was sexually abused by her father figure as a child, this whole movement smacks of incest and the denying of a girl's owning of her own body and sexuality. It is saying to girls and young women that their bodies belong to their god, and to their fathers' until they marry and then, it will belong to their husbands. 
And this angers me and sickens me like nothing else I've read or heard about recently and I want to strike out and I want to scream. 
My stepfather bought me jewelry, he took me on "dates." He took the innocent, sweet natural love I felt for him and used it and twisted it and hurt me in ways that I will never recover from. 
And when I went out on my first real date with a boy (and he insisted that I wait until I was sixteen to do so even though at the age of FIFTEEN I had been trusted to be responsible enough to take care of my brothers while he and my mother went off on vacation) he CRIED. He cried when that sweet football playing, goofy kid picked me up to go out for a few hours and my mother told me later how sweet that had been. What proof that he truly and really felt like a father to me, how much he loved me. 

Even then I knew the truth of the matter, wise beyond my years by way too much. 

No father has the right to "protect" his daughter's virginity. It is not his to protect. 
And one of the things I hate most about most religions is that they all have this Male God, male priest, male-dominated bullshit thing going where men make up the rules and say they come from god in order to do whatever they want with their wives, their children. As we are all the children of GOD and must abide by his laws and commandments,  so must the the wife and the children in a family abide by the laws and the commandments of the male head of the household. 
And it is wrong. It is wrong for religions to make women cover themselves from head to toe, it is wrong to tell women they cannot drive or go out into the world without a male relative to accompany them. It is wrong to cut the clitorises from the bodies of female children. It is wrong to kill a woman because she has had sex with a man outside of marriage while the man with whom she had sex goes free and forgiven. It is wrong to marry a female child to an old man despite her wishes to the contrary. It is wrong for a human to be denied an education, an inheritance or respect and equal rights under the law because she is female. 
And yet, all of these things are done in the name of religion. 

And it is wrong for a father to tell his twelve-year old daughter that she is his and god's until she is married and that then she will be her husband's and it is 2014 and yet, this is happening and it is happening in the name of some god. 

And these poor little girls are so delighted to dress up in fancy fake bridal gowns and go to these perverted Purity Balls and receive these twisted symbols of love which are actually symbols of possession because they ARE just little girls, raised on myths of princesses and brides and God's Holy Word and they truly believe because they have not yet had time to learn and think for themselves. They believe that their daddies, their sweet, loving daddies are protecting them from harm as they offer themselves to these darling, trusting girls as boyfriends. 

Where are the mothers? And where are the grandmothers? 
So beat down by their religious culture that they don't see the sickness in this? 

I love the close and loving relationships my husband has with our daughters but let me tell you this- never in my life would I be comfortable with him telling one of them that HE was their boyfriend. He is MY boyfriend. He is THEIR father. 
And if someone can't see the difference in that, they are fucking crazy. 

I'm sorry. I started out here talking about the wonderful, very good day I had with my grandchildren and I ended up in this rant against the Purity Ball (!) movement and incest and even religion. 
Well, it's been a while and maybe I'm due. Over due. 

But just think about this- what if I had told my son when he was twelve, or told my grandsons when they turned twelve, that they needed to stay pure and virginal for their future wives and so, as a token of remembrance of this, I was giving them a ring to remind them that until marriage, they were married to the Lord and that I would be their girlfriend?

Sick as fuck. 

Yeah. Like that. 

It is quiet in Lloyd tonight. I have taken care of the neighbors' dog. I have shut up my chickens and checked on my chicks. I have laundry going. My husband is on the island and I am alone tonight with my thoughts and my memories and my anger and my sadness and my joy. All of it. 

John Lennon said of women- You are the other half of the sky. 

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards said, "Bet your mama didn't know you could bite like that."

I had music to save me. What do these sweet little girls have to save them? 

Here is why I am as sane as I am. 

What those Christian fathers don't realize is that balance must be made.

And will be.

Good luck, all ye boyfriends of your daughters, all ye protectors of their virginity.

Bet your mama don't know you can scratch my back.



  1. And this, all of it, is why I adore you. Preach, Mary. I wish those 12 year old girls could hear you. And their mothers too.

  2. I am stunned. I had heard of a young girl receiving a ring as a reminder of her commitment to remain a virgin until her wedding night but I had no idea that it went so far! This makes me ill.

  3. Sounds like you a had wonderful day with the boys. Enjoyed reading all about it. Then reading about the religion/purity thing just makes my heart ache. It just baffles me as how church and the bible have turned what you think are intelligent people into complete imbeciles. Enjoy your weekend, Ms. Moon.

  4. If you only knew what religion does to women who are raised in cultures outside of the U S. Who are told to believe as they are told and do. Who sexually abuse and beat and fill their children's heads and hearts with such fear and blackness, Itnis unbelievable to have lived thru it. Even if you understand it was part of their culture or they were mentally ill or frustrated, The only way thru is fantasy, creating a fantasy world of your own that life will be different one day. and sometimes the different is far from perfect but you are out of the battle zone. If only you knew. Sweet Jo

  5. I've heard of Purity Balls before, but I was unaware of the father-"boyfriend" thing. Ugh.

    And the girls can't even KISS another boy until they get married?! That's just ridiculous. I'm betting 99 percent of those girls will kiss someone before tying the knot, as well they should.

    The paternalism of religion is intriguing, in that it is so pervasive. The common thread of treating women as property is so ridiculously backward, needless to say. It's part of what turns people OFF religion.

    I still can't help but think that overall humanity is moving forward, even as these dinosaurs roar and flex their muscles.

    Fred Phelps is dead, for example. There is that.

  6. Angella- Can you believe in this day and time that this shit happens? I am stunned and sickened.

    Birdie- It literally upset my stomach.

    Mr. Shife- You have a good weekend too. And you're right about the imbeciles thing.

    Sweet Jo- I am glad I don't know. And with all of my heart I wish that you did not know either.
    I love you for surviving. I love you for being who you are now.

    Steve Reed- None of it makes any sense unless you factor in the emotional (at least) incest element. That's what it all says to me.

  7. Will the rage inside us ever go away? I hope not. I think sometimes it is our fuel source. I outed the man who sexually harassed me for years at my last job on FaceBook the other day. I had had a gag order put on me from Boeing after I took him to the ethics board where he was found guilty. He was told to stop and that was it but he continued to harass me AND other women until he retired two months before I got laid off. It felt sooo good to finally feel safe enough to reveal his name PAUL (TERRY) FLETCHER and the name of the company at long last. The rage sings through. We never forget ever.

  8. Rebecca- GOOD FOR YOU! Good for you for outing Paul (Terry) Fletcher! My stepfather's name was Charles (Charlie) Stum. There. I've said it. He's dead now anyway. No. I do not think the rage will ever leave us. When I read that article, it arose inside of me and burned. it brought everything back, all the icky, sick, perverted, sad, horrible details and all of the associated feelings.
    We cannot forget.
    I love you, Rebecca.

  9. I saw that today. How sick is that! the whole virgin bride thing is sick if you ask me. that a woman's only value is if she is 'pure' (whatever the fuck that means)on her wedding day. fuck that shit. virginity was something to be rid of as far as I was concerned. I waited til after I graduated from high school because I didn't need the complications. but that summer? I shed it at the first opportunity and love didn't enter into it. and what the fuck is wrong with men who demand their wives be virgins? and those virginity pledges? they don't work.

  10. Here's another article about paternalistic religious traditions that create hardship for women (just to brighten your day):

  11. Ellen Abbott- It's all so stupid and sick and sad. And no, those pledges are nothing compared to hormones. Nothing.

    Steve Reed- I heard about that same thing on NPR a few months ago. So, so sick and sad. The Mormons can do a similar thing wherein the male heads of the church have to give a divorce decree. I read a book by a woman who had been denied that over and over again. Meanwhile, I think her husband had remarried. Sort of the same. The Bishops kept "interviewing" her about her sex life with her husband. Fucking bullshit.

  12. Ugh, that purity things is just puke.
    And so is the whole sitting on a porch with yer shotgun thing my male friends seem to find so amusing.

    THIS... this is what we need.

  13. Jo- Great piece. Thanks for the link.

    Mrs. A- And that makes me feel good. Thank you, darling!

  14. It makes me sick but then most all religions do that to me. I just don't get the whole organized religion thing. I have tried--when I was young and later in life and even most recently but so much of it all doesn't add up. And then this kind of sick stuff is really what makes me dislike and not trust religion. The priest perverts who molested boys and not this with fathers and daughters. So much war in the name of religion and so much killing. I just shake my head and realize that anything humans involve themselves in gets fucked up.


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