Driving through these little towns in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma can be an interesting adventure. While traversing through the town of Holdenville, I noticed a billboard, right as your enter the town. The billboard exclaimed "If you want to marry a lady, then you should stop living with your girlfriend." Near the bottom it claimed to be sponsored by the such and such community, I didn't stop to check further.
There is just so much wrong with this little sentence. First, it is trying to call back to almost Victorian era language with this "marry a lady." It reminded me of something written on the Slacktivist recently (a great blog and I highly recommend its reading, Fred Clark is a liberal Christian who is not afraid to call out the loonies of the far right Christian movement), "The male supremacist dogma that so many evangelicals euphemistically refer to as 'traditional gender roles' usually expresses itself through an emphasis on almost Victorian manners. Tim LaHaye's wife, Beverly LaHaye, is a leading proponent of this chivalrous, gentlemanly approach to male supremacy." (The post this comes from can be found here) This could be me just reading too much into the phrasing but I get the feeling that the wording on this billboard is meant to be a reference to "traditional gender roles" as described in the Bible. These of course are where the woman is to remain quiet in public and obey her husband.
Second, the sentence does not follow, it is a non sequitur. Marrying a lady has nothing to do with the living conditions of the relationship before marriage. Unless you are trying to say that the action of living with a person, whom you love, care, and trust, somehow disperage this person into not living up to some ideal, which few if any can actually live up too. Which is the purpose of this billboard to shame the females living in this kind of relationship.
This brings me to my third point. This billboard is clearly misogynistic. Who is being shamed? The female. Whose the one you should get rid of? The girlfriend aka the female. Who should be living up to the ideal of "lady", whatever that means? The female. The male only needs to beware of these loose moraled women who wish to live with them, it is clearly not the man's fault.
This is what is being taught to youths in these little towns, deep in the Bible belt. When pointed out you can see how disgusting this philosphy truly is. When you grow up around it, the misogyny is very subtle and that makes it very dangerous. This billboard did not claim any religion behind it, but my best guess says that it was religious in nature. I would also say that it is a Christian message. I just found it to be extremely disgusting and patronizing. What is wrong with living with someone that you love, respect, cherish, and trust? Is this not a way to cut down on divorce, finding out how well you get along seeing each other every day? Why are you still reading a book that at best is almost 2000 years old and think it has anything to do with modern society?