Feminism, Atheism & The South

I’ve questioned everything I was taught in my life for as long as I can remember. I questioned the Roman Catholic lifestyle I was raised on as soon as I was asked to start regularly confessing my sins to a priest. "Father, I think about boys a LOT. I saw porn for the first time. I swore at my parents under my breath." No, thank you. By 14, I was a closet atheist, trapped in religious schools with religious peers, and trapped by the misogyny that so often goes hand in hand with organized religion. Six years later, I decided to do something about it when I began to self-identify as a feminist. And then I realized - I’m stuck in the most backwards part of my country. I’m stuck in the South. I constantly want to leave. I want to move to a blue state, where my gay friends can get married, where everyone bikes to work, where feminism isn’t a joke, and where people say “good luck” more than they say “I’ll pray for you.” The Pacific Northwest or New England would be so much easier for me, but maybe Texas is where I need to be. Texas may not be the easiest place to grow a feminist movement, but it damn sure needs it the most. Texas women need feminism - they need strong leaders like Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte to remind them that their bodies are theirs and no one else’s. They need to know that nothing should prevent them from earning as much as a man, that the people who abuse and assault them will be punished swiftly, that no one deserves to feel unsafe on the five-minute walk from home to work. They need to know, and I’m going to be the one to tell them.

 -Tara Jones