I am so sick of having my feelings and experiences dismissed because a man doesn't understand them.
It isn't just men who do this, and it isn't just about experiences with religion. The same thing happened several times when Occupy Wall Street was newer in the news--pretty much any time I'd talk about it, people would chime in with responses essentially saying that because their experience didn't support the theory behind Occupy, it was therefore an invalid theory.
But I think that no people on earth have this experience more than women do, especially women who are members of patriarchal religions. And I can tell you that one of the worst things I've felt in my life is living in a culture that wants women to be ruled by men, and being told that that is God's will.
I started this post several days ago and then left it to sit because I was pretty upset at the time, and wanted to chill out first. If you want to know why I was angry, read this post at The Exponent, and pay attention to the contributions of Ryan and dwg in the comments.
I would like to ask men to do something (Mormon men, because this blog has a Mormon audience, but really just men; all men). When you hear a woman talking about ways she's felt discriminated against, slighted, or demeaned, keep your mouth shut for a minute. Whatever your instinct is, do not let the first thing out of your mouth be something skeptical. Try to focus on what she's attempting to communicate--her feelings, her hurt--and respond to that.
Try to remember that you are not a woman, which means that the discrimination she's talking about has never been directed toward you. Try to realize that the fact that you've never seen it doesn't mean she was imagining it; it just means that you didn't notice. You're not alone in that... Most men don't.
But you can notice it now. And you can start by listening, absorbing, and deciding that you will no longer dismiss someone else's experience just because you have not had that same experience yourself.