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The Game Professor @gamesaslit
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So I have things to say about internalized misogyny and evangelical mindsets. Obviously, as a man, I only have direct personal experience with the latter. But I've seen them both play out in one of the people I care about most: my mother. And her support of Brett #Kavanaugh.
I'm thinking about this now because my mother is a classic evangelical Christian: a very nice person with very problematic beliefs. Conservative without being a fundamentalist weirdo, doesn't "like" Trump but voted for him, thinks gay people are mentally ill and in sin, etc.
My family is deeply religious and heavily involved in the church. We went every Sunday, to both services. My mother and father both, at varying points, served on pastoral staff temporarily after a pastor suddenly left. They were close friends with all the pastors and elders.
My father was a music teacher at the elementary school. My mother spoke at schools and churches around the state. She even put on stage productions at the church, and people came from all over the county. They were both pillars of our tiny town and the biggest church within it.
The twist? My father is a psychologically abusive asshole, and my mother has paid the price for it. All of it. And the beliefs and mindsets of evangelical Christianity have constantly clouded her ability to see the wrong done to her, and even to others in the same vein.
She suffered this abuse for decades, but it was only in the last 15 years or so that she actually even realized it. She saw him as the leader. She felt she had to accept his authority. She felt she must be in the wrong. By the time she realized what was wrong, she was breaking.
My father used his position of authority over her (since that's how an evangelical Christian marriage works) to gaslight her, devalue her, assert his dominance, all in ways that were subtle enough so no one outside the family noticed, but powerful enough to chip away at her.
When she finally realized how unhealthy this all was, she still did nothing. He was the head of the household. Even if she were to resist, divorce was a sin. So she kept going.
When they finally went to marriage counseling, professional counselors saw through my father's bullshit fairly easily. After a few different couples retreats and therapists, nothing had changed, and he refused to see any more counselors. She stayed with him.
When he finally agreed to do more couples therapy, it was with one condition: it was to be done by pastors of their church. She agreed.

This should be a good idea. In a just world with a Christlike church, it would be a good idea. It was not.
Again, his abuse was subtle, noticeable only to those who lived with him. But my mother had been suffering this for decades, and he had worn her down. He knew how to get to her. He would needle her, secretly and in plain sight, until she reacted. And he would watch smugly.
They saw multiple pastors/elders, all good friends. And unsurprisingly, all male. Only one saw through my father's act, saw the way he goaded my mother into reacting, and he said that lashing out like that made her "the gross offender."

That phrase sticks with her to this day.
When she finally got up the courage to file for separation--not even divorce, just separation, in the naive hope it would spur him to fix his shit because she STILL couldn't stomach divorce--the church turned on her. For trying to escape a toxic, abusive marriage.
She was banned from helping children's ministries (her longtime passion). She was banned from helping with the high school ministry my sister was still involved in. She tearfully handed over direction of the latest stage production she had been working her ass off for.
Of course, this crushed her. Friends she had known for years, in the church she had dedicated herself to for decades, had taken away her whole life and community as punishment for rebelling against a man who was using his authority as "head of the household" to abuse her.
To this day, my father is an active and visible part of that church. Many people there now think of my mother as a neurotic, hateful woman who snapped and tried to ruin his life. He has faced no consequences, and retains his social standing.
A decade after she filed for separation, the divorce process is still ongoing to this day, as he tries to do what he explicitly told her he would do: punish her for the mistake she made until she's miserable enough to realize what she did wrong.
So you would think that, upon seeing a woman accusing a powerful man of abuse, and seeing a panel of male judges doubting and discrediting and accusing her so they can support and elevate the man who wronged her, she would viscerally relate to the woman. But she doesn't.
All she sees is a good Christian man, in a position of authority, being challenged by a deceitful woman who is trying to ruin him. She sees in the #Kavanaugh hearings exactly what all those men at her church saw in her a decade ago.

And that breaks my fucking heart.
It's unsurprising that one's religious beliefs would be deeply-held enough to overcome betrayal from the people who govern one's own corner of it. But evangelical Christianity trains us to be blind to its systemic injustices. And it equates itself with American conservatism.
This is so deeply ingrained that she knows she was wronged, even recognizes sexism in how it all went down, yet when another woman goes through the same thing at the hands of evangelical Christian men in power, she can't recognize the same injustices that ruined her own life.
My mom is still trying to get out. Still trying to get through the divorce, still trying to move away, still trying to be free. But I'm losing hope that she'll ever truly be free of all this. She may be sad and afraid for the rest of her life. I hate my father for that.
I also hate men in which I see those same patterns. Many of them lead our nation right now. And while I wish my mom could break free of this trauma and see how others are oppressed like she was, it's a reminder that we should never fail to speak out in support of people like her.
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