What ‘The Starling Girl’ gets right about church abuse and fundamentalism

by | May 5, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — In 2013, a filmmaker from Los Angeles who considers herself agnostic found herself tagging along with a group of conservative church women in Oklahoma.The daughter of a cinematographer and costume designer who was raised on film sets, Laurel Parmet was submerged in on-site research for a short film about rodeo when she bumped into the group, who introduced her to their nondenominational church.
“When I first learned some of their more extreme beliefs, like that it’s a woman’s responsibility to not lead a man into temptation, and how they dressed, and being very aware of modesty and covering up their bodies, my first reaction was shock,” Parmet told Religion News Service in a recent video interview. “But then, interestingly, the more that I thought about it, I just realized how much we had in common.”
As a teen, Parmet became involved with an older man — she hesitates to call it a “relationship” — and, when it ended, came away with guilt she couldn’t explain. Listening to the women she met in Oklahoma, Parmet began to question her lingering shame over a situation in which she had clearly been taken advantage of.
“Sexual shame and seeking approval from men are really these universal experiences for women no matter how you grew up,” Parmet sai …

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