“Sarah Moore Grimké (1792 – 1873) was born in South Carolina, to a slave holding family. As an adult she came to Pennsylvania to live. Later, describing the agonies of conscience she suffered on the account of slavery, Sarah Grimké referred to the South as a “wilderness” in which they saw nothing “but desolation and suffering”.
Sarah Grimké”s Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women were originally designed to present her views on feminism but she used them as a means to answer the churchmen [her detractors] as well. The central theme is woman’s equal moral responsibility with man to act for the good of humanity. The author employs wit and acerbity as formidable weapons: all she asks of her brothers, says Grimké is that they “take their feet from off our necks”; when women rely on men for protection, she notes sarcastically, they are apt to find “that what they have leaned upon has proved a broken reed at best, and oft a spear.” She did not hesitate to declare that the word “husband” was “synonymous with tyrant.” She herself never married. “
The excerpt from her letters illustrates the lockstep that religion and patriarchy enforced upon women and her objects to said oppression.
“Haverhill, 7th Mo.17, 1837
“The New Testament has been referred to, and I am willing to abide by its decisions, but must enter my protest against the false translations of some passages by the MEN that did that work, and against the perverted interpretation by the MEN who undertook to write commentaries thereon. I am inclined to think, when we are admitted to the honor of studying Greek and Hebrew, we shall produce some various readings of the Bible a little different from those we know have.
The Lord Jesus defines the duties of his followers in his Sermon on the Mount. He lays down grand principles by which they should be governed, without any reference to sex or condition:- ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. […]
I follow Him through all his precepts, and find him giving the same directions to women as to men, never even referring to the distinction now so strenuously insisted upon between masculine and feminine virtues: this is one of the anti-christian ‘traditions of men’ which are taught instead of the ‘commandments of God.’ Men and women were CREATED EQUAL; they are both moral and accountable beings, and whatever is right for he man to do, is right for a woman.
How monstrous, how anti-christian, is the doctrine that woman is to be dependant on man! Where, in all the sacred Scriptures, is this taught? Alas! she has too well learned the lesson which MAN has laboured to teach her. She has surrendered her dearest RIGHTS, and been satisfied with the privileges which man has assumed to grant her; she has been amused with the show of power, whilst man has absorbed all the reality into himself. He has adorned the creature whom God gave him as a companion, with baubles and gewgaws, turned her attention to personal attractions, offered incense to her vanity, and made her the instrument of his selfish gratification, a plaything to please his eye and amuse his hours of leisure. ‘Rule by obedience and by submission sway’, or in other words, study to by a hypocrite, pretend to submit, but gain your point, has been the code of the household morality that women have been taught. The poet has sung, in sickly strains, the loveliness of woman’s dependence upon man, and now we find it reechoed by those who profess to teach the religion of the Bible.
This doctrine of dependence upon man is utterly at variance with the doctrine of the Bible. In that book I find nothing like the softness of a woman, nor the sternness of a man: both are equally commanded to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, love, meekness, gentleness, etc. “
Easy to win or be the winner when you design the system , no? Grimké addresses this point and of course, much more, in her analysis.
–Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings. Miriam Schneir ed. p. 40-41
TL;DR – Religion even the olden tymes was all plum fracked up but was markedly worse if you happened to be female.