I grew up in Christian Patriarchy. I was nourished on the Pearls, Vision Forum, and Above Rubies. I learned that a woman is always to be under male authority and that an independent woman is a dangerous thing. I learned that women should not have careers or even jobs. I learned that if my father died and I was unmarried, I would be under the authority of the eldest of my younger brothers.
Like many families involved in Christian Patriarchy, my parents’ family was large, and though I could never quite keep count, there were somewhere around a dozen children. I was the oldest, and that meant that much of the responsibility of raising my siblings and running the house fell to me. I was my mother’s right hand, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and watching the children.
As fundamentalist Christians, my parents taught me that Jesus would return any day, but also that we must work to take back the country for Christ with what time we had left. I spent countless hours campaigning for conservative political candidates, and knew the ins and outs of why abortion and gay marriage were wrong when I was no more than seven or eight.
Naturally, I never attended public school a day in my life. My parents believed public schools were atheistic and worldly, dangerous places for young children. By the time I was in middle school, I was teaching myself all of my subjects out of textbooks independently. I helped teach my younger siblings and was very self-motivated when it came to my studies.
I was also very dedicated to homemaking pursuits, learning to cook, bake, can, garden, find wild herbs, sew, cross-stitch, knit, quilt, and scrapbook. I believed that these skills would be crucial once I married and had children and kept a home of my own. I would be ready when my knight came riding, ready to marry and have children, ready to submit to my husband as my godly authority and lead the life of a homemaker.
And then I left. I am in my mid-twenties today, and I am a feminist.