The problem with being a literalist is that life is always messing with your tidy, buttoned-up narrative. This is true of both literalist believers and literalist secularists. Sometimes the glass slipper just doesn't fit. But instead of re-examining their faulty ideology--or, at least, their staunch resistance to flexibility--literalists cast blame elsewhere and claim that the glass slipper not fitting is an exception to the rule. This strident refusal to acknowledge their inflexibility is what often troubles me about the more radical forms of literalist feminism. By all measures, I'm a complete betrayal to the Feminist Sisterhood. I married young, I'm dependent on a man (a fate worse than death, apparently) and I have children--many children. I am not the role model radical feminists desire for their young daughters.
Because I don't fit the tidy, buttoned-up narrative of the literalist feminist.
I didn't put my career first. I didn't "do" anything with my life before settling down with husband and children.
If I assert that I love this life I'm living, that I would never go back and make different choices, I'm handed a begrudging, "Well, I'm glad that works for you." If I admit that sometimes I struggle with this life, this is seized upon as evidence that I'm oppressed.
I have these same problems with literalist believers. They have a a different worldview, of course, but their rigid adherence to the tidy, buttoned-up narrative is very much the same. In the literalist believers' context, a woman who (cue horror music) has a job Outside The Home is not living up to her full God-ordained potential. Women like myself are not suitable role models the daughters of literalist believers.
If I assert that I love my writing job and furthermore, that I see it was a gift from God, I am handed a begrudging, "Well, I guess it's possible that God could be OK with a working woman." But if I admit to sometimes struggling with the work-life balance, this is seized upon as evidence of my rebellion against God's will.
Another striking similarity among literalist secularists and literalist believers is their aversion to fairy-tales. Just look at The Little Mermaid. Feminists hate that Ariel gave up her voice for a man, literalist believers hate that Ariel rebels against her father. Feminists hate that Ariel has unrealistic body proportions, literalist believers hate that Ariel's body proportions are visible. Period.
Literalists from both camps do their best to squelch their daughters' desire to watch the movie or (God forbid!) dress up like princess Ariel.
For literalists, everything is taken So Seriously and weighted with such negative cultural or eternal consequences that it chokes the very joy out of life. In a literalist world there is no sparkle, no mystery, no magical possibilities. The problem here is that they're not content to keep to themselves in their sad, dull little worlds. Instead, they spend every waking moment trying to convince the rest of us that the literalist way is superior. This is because the literalist can never be happy until they've won converts to their way of thinking.
It's enough to make me wanna clamp some seashells on my boobs and go live under the sea--if only to get away from the endless proselytizing.