It's hard to accept that we live in a world where women are stoned to death for being raped, admonished for expressing their thoughts, and denied the right to control her own body (to name just a few injustices). Why is this happening with all the progress has humanity has made? The biggest threat to progress, of course: religion.
The bible serves as a women-oppressing manual. Women are cursed from existence alone (Genesis 3:16). No matter what, women are doomed to fail. We're unclean because of menstrual periods (Leviticus 15 19-23) and from giving birth (Job 14: 1-4). We can be sold into slavery (Exodus 21: 7-11), sacrificed (Judges 19: 22-29), and raped (Genesis 19: 1-8, Deuteronomy 21: 11-14 and 22: 28-29, Isiah: 16-17). It never ends. We must behave as obedient servants to our husbands, submitting to his every whim without complaint.
The Koran fares no better. Female slaves are sexual property (Sura 4:24). Not only that, but older men may marry a young girl who hasn't even entered womanhood (Sura 65:1,4). What the fuck? It's bad enough that men are allowed to subjugate their wives. Taking a wife that's still a young child enters unforgivable territory, as does genital mutilation.
I did not write this entry merely to throw out a bunch of anti-woman verses. An account from a friend who was tabling for my university's atheist club recalls a Southern Baptist woman approaching the table to have a discussion. When asked why she accepts the subservient roles she's prescribed, she shockingly said women deserve it. Despite my friend's attempts to tell her that her opinions were of just as much value as his, she backed down and said "I don't want to argue with you. I'm not supposed to." How incredibly sad.
My own personal experiences as a woman led me to embrace a secular worldview. I know I have a brain, and I will see to it that it's used. Wasting the brains of half the world's population simply because members of said population have vaginas never made sense. The lone girl among two brothers, I felt pressured to stand out. My brothers are indeed very smart; but of all three of us, I consistently perform the best academically. I continue to further my education so I can complete my own dreams. Religion only hinders these goals, as women are discouraged from pursuing their interests. No one stands in my way because I don't allow them to. Being an atheist lets me decide for MYSELF what I'm capable of, not dictating what I "should" do.
Abandoning religion allowed me to rid myself of the double-standards placed on women's behavior. It's okay to wear boys' clothes if you're a girl, but not for a boy to wear girls' clothes. Men who engage in sex frequently and with many partners are regarded as manly, where women who participate in such behavior are promiscuous and shameful. It's fine if a man belches, but it's impolite for a lady. These restrictions make it to where women can never win. Men being called a pussy or a little bitch implies femininity is inferior, whereas telling a woman she needs to "man up" is considered sage advice. No way, dammit. I'm acting the way I choose. If that's manly, okay. If that's lady-like, that's also okay. So long as I get to be me. Wearing men's clothes, belching, and having sex are all very fun things. Shameful they are not.
I'm excited to see more and more women come out as atheists. It shows the world that we demand to be treated as equals. I am not a baby-making machine, an obedient wife, or property. I'm a human being that seeks to reach her full potential, wherever my life leads.