We copied the following bio for Libby Anne directly from the “about” section of her blog, Love, Joy, Feminism, which resides in the Atheist Channel of Patheos.com: Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the “purity culture,” the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.
As a part of our “Many Voices” Q&A series, we had the fortunate opportunity to ask Libby Anne a few questions:
Progress Planet: What do you do for a living? (if, that is, you’re not making your living from blogging!)
Libby Anne: I am a graduate student at a prominent Midwestern research university. I’m working on my Ph.D. in a humanities related field, currently in the dissertation stage.
PP: How long have you been blogging?
LA: I started blogging in the summer of 2011, so only just over a year. I soon fell in love with blogging, though, so even though I haven’t been at it as long as others I do post quite frequently!
PP: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?
LA: In the spring of 2011 I was still trying to deal with some of the skeletons in my closet. I had a very religious upbringing — a mixture of evangelicalism and fundamentalism with homeschooling and good dose of hierarchical family structure — and had quite a rocky break with it all in college, and went through a lot of pain related to that. While I had moved on with my life, there was a lot of healing I hadn’t done and a lot of my past that I hadn’t examined. That spring I stumbled upon a website called No Longer Quivering and began reading story after story. Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t the only one to have gone through what I did, and that my parents had not just had particular beliefs but had been part of a movement known as “Quiverfull” or “Christian Patriarchy.” I wrote up my story to be posted on No Longer Quivering, and that was such a good experience I decided to start my own blog. I continue to blog both because I love it and have healed through it, and because so many other people have written me to tell me how much my blog has helped them sort through their own issues. My readership also serves as a little community, and the discussions in my comment sections are hands down better than the discussions I’ve ever seen take place on any blog.
PP: Why did you choose the name of your blog?
LA: I spent a lot of time picking a name for my blog. I knew that my primary focus would be on feminism, or more specifically on combating patriarchy wherever it exists, but I also knew that there are a lot of unfortunate negative stereotypes tied to the word “feminism.” So I decided to take something positive sounding and peppy from my religious upbringing — “love” and “joy” from the Fruit of the Spirit — and combine that with the word “feminism.”
PP: What are your personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
LA: Questions, critical thinking, lifelong learning, respect — these are all things I value and I think that shows on my blog. I write about a variety of issues (evangelicalism and fundamentalism, Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy, the “purity culture,” homeschooling, authoritarian child rearing) and am critical of both religious and patriarchal ideas, but I try to do so with respect, insight, emotion, and careful reason rather than with insults or anger (though sometimes anger is necessary!). I want my blog to be a place where people can come for healing, where people can come to learn, and where people can come to be challenged.
PP: What is one of the greatest things that’s happened to you as a result of being a blogger?
LA: I have made so many friends through blogging. I’ve actually met several fellow bloggers in real life after interacting with them in the blogosphere. They help remind me that I’m not the only one to walk the journey I’ve walked.
PP: What are some other blogs/websites you love to read for general interest and/or inspiration?
LA: The Friendly Atheist keeps me updated on all things atheism. I love The Slactivist, it’s so refreshing to hear a Christian perspective so different from that I was raised in. There are several feminist Christian blogs, such as Dianna E. Anderson and Sarah over the Moon that I love for this same reason. Feministe and Feministing keep me up to date on feminist issues. And then there are the other blogs like mine, blogs written by women who grew up in Quiverfull or Christian Patriarchy homes: Permission to Live, Past Tense, Present Progressive, The Phoenix and the Olive Branch, and Broken Daughters, to name a few.
PP: In your opinion, what stands in the way of peace in the world?
LA: The inability to listen to each other, to consider others’ feelings and needs, to be willing to be wrong. Dogmatic beliefs, hatred or fear of others, tribalism and refusal to realize that we are all human. I’m a Humanist first and foremost, and I think the principles of Humanism are the best answer we have to the problems we face. And we see these principles elsewhere as well, from the Golden Rule to the Wiccan Rede.
PP: Anything else you’d like to add?
LA: Never be afraid to ask questions. Ever. If a belief system won’t hold up under questioning, it’s not a belief system worth having.
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