Taking Dominion by Doing Laundry

Vision Forum talks a lot about things like multigenerational faithfulness (i.e., your kids should be clones of you) and the importance of taking dominion (i.e., take over the country and institute Biblical law complete with stoning). Naturally, then, they put out resources on topics like “Training Dominion-Oriented Daughters.”

It appears from the cover of this DVD that daughters take dominion by doing laundry. Nice. I mean seriously, thought goes into cover images like these (we hope), and someone really truly honestly decided that the best image to represent dominion-oriented daughters is a little girl doing laundry. Because, you know, that’s how women take dominion. By doing laundry. Interesting.

This made me wonder. What pictures do they put on DVDs on raising sons? So I went to the Vision Forum website, typed in “sons,” and limited my search to DVDs. Here is what I found:

No laundry going on here. Instead, it looks rather like Isaac passing his blessing on to Jacob through the laying on of hands. The son looks resolute, ready to conquer the world – which of course, is exactly what he is supposed to do.

Here they use an old painting of a group of males fishing as an illustration of the relationship between fathers and sons. At least boys get to go fishing – or is it meant to represent working at a trade alongside your father? Either way, it’s not staying home and doing laundry.

This last one takes the cake. Nothing like throwing in a bit of militarism. Sons go out and protect the family. Sons fight for freedom. Sons are courageous. Sons are strong. Daughters…do laundry.

Or am I being unfair? Perhaps other DVDs on raising daughters have more inspiring images than doing laundry? With this question in mind, I went typed in “daughters” and limited the search to DVDs. The first hit was the one shown above, but there were several others. Let me show you what I found:

Ah, I see. Biblical femininity. Daughters aren’t supposed to be strong or brave…they’re supposed to be pretty. And passive. And non-threatening. And sweet.

Oh now I get it! Boys are supposed to go out and fight for their country and support their families, but if girls go out and do any of those things, like the woman in this image, they’re wicked, rebellious, man-hating feminists (note the briefcase). Fortunately, they can be redeemed – if they return home. And do laundry.

But isn’t this the beauty of Vision Forum’s system – to convince girls that staying home and doing laundry is somehow just as noble and grandiose as their brothers going out and conquering the world in the public sphere of work, military, and politics? Vision Forum tells girls that they can be great – if they stay in the home. It tells ten-year-olds that they can do their part in taking dominion by doing the laundry even as their brothers are trained in far, far different pursuits. And like the little girl in the image, many girls who are raised on Vision Forum material can’t see well enough above the pile of laundry to realize that there’s anything else out there for them.  

I would say that I don’t think Vision Forum has any idea of the messages it sends to young girls with images like this, except I that think it does. And revels in it. I was one of those girls, and I received the messages loud and clear. My worth was defined by how much housework I did and how well I could take care of babies.

And with that, back to the laundry room – I need to take dominion!

Note: after what Vision Forum did to this image, I really want to see the original of the fishing painting just to make sure one of those younger boys wasn’t, you know, originally female or something.

What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
What Courtship Was for Me
Fifty Shades of Evangelical Justifications for Patriarchy
The Cold, Unforgiving World of Geoffrey Botkin
About Libby Anne

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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02510172065585770709 Hopewell

    No, boys CAN'T fight for the country–they could be placed under a godless boss. That's what ALERT is for! Honestly these people take the cake and then some! You are so right though–daughters are to save the world with soft sheets and fluffy towels and, OF COURSE, fresh, lovely cloth diapers for their little siblings. Gag.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/5b20d3b0-9d71-11e0-a6d0-000bcdcb8a73 Fina

    I'll just go ahead and say it, i hope no one minds a bit of dirty humor:They should have used the picture of a young (say, 20) Dominatrix for the "Dominion-oriented daughters"-DVD. At least thats what i would have done ;)And the cover of the "Biblical Femininity"-DVD made me think of a lesbian romance movie.

  • Lisa

    VF's ultra-gendered approach to raising kids makes me crazy. So many individuals are squashed to fit into their neat ideas of femininity and masculinity.On the Return of the Daughters cover, I think that's supposed to be a daughter returning home with her suitcase (presumably from her wicked liberal college/job/freedom).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10353346026765317698 College At Thirty

    The girl doing laundry looks like she's 5. I'm all for chores, but laundry at 5? Is dusting and coloring in the lines just too easy?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Lisa – I had the same thought about the Return of the Daughters cover. And I totally agree on Vision Forum shoving people into neat little boxes!College At Thirty – She does, doesn't she? And the answer is yes, dusting and coloring in the lines IS to easy. When one of my sisters was six, a new baby was born, and she voluntarily buddied herself with that child and set to work raising it: getting it up in the morning, dressing it, feeding it, entertaining it, putting it down for its nap, bathing it, everything but breastfeeding it. At six.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Notice also that she doesn't even have a mouth! She's so loaded down with laundry that her mouth is blocked, so no uppity words will be coming out of her thank you very much.

  • Ophelia Benson

    In fact, that pile of laundry functions as a niqab. There's space for her eyes, and apparently Dominionists don't share Islam's horror of female hair, but everything below the eyes is blotted out.That picture is seriously creepy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10353346026765317698 College At Thirty

    Okay, so, the kids are expected to watch other kids, but they can't play with other kids, because that's fools leading fools. They're expected to do adult stuff without the benefit of autonomy. They're expected to be teenaged (or prepubescent) mothers without the fun of having sex. Gotcha. …….I think…..

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com/ dream-wind

    But hang on @College At Thirty…Speaking as someone who's never been involved in any of this stuff…"fun of having sex?" I thought sex was a duty for women, not fun :).

  • Anonymous

    Taking dominion = being taken in dominion. Let's not quibble over grammar and semantics.

  • http://lil-ms-drama.livejournal.com/ lil-ms-drama

    Is it just me, or… does the Biblical Femininity cover look like it's the beginning scene from a soft-core lesbian porn? You know, like at any minute the girls could face each other and take in a long, slow kiss. Maybe it's just my warped sense of VF.

  • http://lil-ms-drama.livejournal.com/ lil-ms-drama

    Wow. Should've read the previous comments first. LOL

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Libby, I LOLed at your last line! I think you just coined a phrase. I really need to take dominion tomorrow–I'm already down to the raggedy underwear.And Ophelia, I had EXACTLY the same thought as you. The fact that you can't see that girl's face makes the image exponentially more disturbing to me. It's like she doesn't even have an identity, she's just a faceless slave."'fun of having sex?' I thought sex was a duty for women, not fun :)."Actually, I've always wondered about that. "Mainstream" evangelicals seem to have caught on to the fact that portraying marital sex as super-hot and pleasurable for a woman is a better way to sell abstinence. But is there any acknowledgement/discussion of the fact that sex can be pleasurable for women in patriarchal circles? The major female submission gurus don't seem to broach that topic. Honestly, I've often wondered how any woman ever had orgasms during sex when patriarchal customs were the norm–unless she was very, VERY lucky. (WARNING: TMI GIRL TALK AHEAD) I feel like the only reason I've been able to do so with boyfriends is from knowing my own body beforehand, communicating a lot, plenty of foreplay etc.–and I don't get the impression that these are approved topics for discussion in fundamentalist families. Is female pleasure a concept?I suppose once upon a time, everybody figured this stuff out themselves (although, who knows how many actually did). But I don't know how they did it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Petticoat Philosopher – My parents bought were into the whole mainstream evangelical idea of marriage sex being super-hot, and they appeared to be physically obsessed with each other. As in, they showed lots of physical affection in front of us kids. But I would guess that on the more patriarchical side of the spectrum, especially for those raised in more fundamentalist homes (my parents started as mainstream evangelicals, remember, and then bought the patriarchy crap over time), this might differ.

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com/ dream-wind

    Oh blast, all this talk about dominion sex has caused a vision of that insane woman that came up with the Prairie Muffin Manifesto all decked out in bondage gear, with spike heels and a whip.IT BURNS, PRECIOUS, IT BURNS!!Christine

  • http://hebrewandgreekreader.wordpress.com/ hebrewandgreekreader

    and they're all white!D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10353346026765317698 College At Thirty

    Of course they're all white! (Hmm…can there be a way to trace the White Man's Burden to Dominionism?)Back to the dominionist sex…when I think of it, just based on what I've read because I wasn't raised in this environment and know only what Libby and Vycki and others have said, I guess I think of Victorian England. "We must do this thing, so lie back and think of England, there's a dear. Once we are finished, we can retire to the conservatory for tartlets and tea." I guess only without the fun of having a "doctor" to help take care of your "hysteria" afterwards.Then again, the Duggars always are creepy-kissing.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of the Duggars, they recommend the What is Biblical Femininity? and the Raising Dominion-Oriented Daughters DVDs on their website (under their Amazon web store). Yuck! A lot of people think that the Duggars are harmless, but they're definitely connected to this movement, and they definitely have an agenda. -J.B.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    J.B. – They aren't just connected to this movement; they're at the heart of it.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    There should be mashups of these different reality shows. Families of 18 compete to design a dress made out of pet store supplies. This year's Top Chef gets 20 home-schooled children as a prize. A secular feminist and a dominionist change places on Wife Swap – oh wait, that one's been done.

  • Anonymous

    @Libby: You're right. They're pretty much the face of the movement. The director of Fireproof and Courageous also seems to have some connections to Vision Forum, which is scary because he seems so mainstream evangelical at first glance. -J.B.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06263889292593663372 staceyjw

    According to the Pearls "No Greater Joy" ministry (broke an irony meter again!) a proper helpmeet never tells their husband "no" when he desires sex. There is no excuse, and as far as the Pearls are concerned, providing sex at all times is part of your job as a wife. If that wasn't bad enough, she is also expected to be a perpetually willing, happy, involved and interested sexual servant- there is no laying back, and hoping it will be done soon, allowed! True submission isnt just letting him use your body as he wants, you have to LIKE IT too. They honestly consider it an affront to God to be an unenthusiastic lover, regardless of how the woman feels about the sex. If a woman complains, she is called names, and told she is not being properly submissive. I think is is very sick. I cannot imagine having a sexual "relationship" like this, which to me, is like having a rapist demand you like being raped. Add in the denial of birth control and abortion, and you get perpetual female servitude, which is exactly what they are aiming for. And that pic, it is no accident. These men believe women should be silent in church and should fully submit to men without a word of complaint. VF is also very skilled at marketing and producing high quality propaganda, there is no way this pic was not wholly intentional.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Staceyjw – Good point on the Pearls. Their reasoning is that if a wife doesn't put out when a husband wants it (and willingly, not grudgingly), the husband will look elsewhere for sex, and that will be the wife's fault. Oh yes.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Personally, I can't imagine being a man and liking that arrangement. You would never actually know if your wife were actually having a good time during sex, or if she's just doing her duty and faking it. That would bother most guys, I think–except for the extreme narcissists.But what are their teachings on birth control? They seem like they kind of people who would be totally against it, but then why don't they have more than 5 kids?

  • stacey

    Petticoat Philosopher , from what I remember of the book, D. Pearl says that birth control is not a moral issue, and therefore the number of children should be at the discretion of the husband.

  • Anonymous

    regarding the picture linked at the end of the post, where they rearranged the man and the woman, I couldn't help noticed that they've changed it from a woman in authority knighting the young man to a woman reaching deliberately for the young man's crotch as he stares down in interest.But I guess medieval-style porn is more acceptable.Connie

  • http://tenetsofbiblicalpatriarchy.blogspot.com/- MM Johann

    Yes, Connie. And that brings me to my view that you cannot suppress one group without staying down with them yourself. The man in the original picture is a hero, recieving honor (the picture is named "The Accolade.")The guy in the VF picture is little more than an animal. He is not pictured as interested in anything more than the body part she is holding out her hand to.

  • Aemi

    I agree they shouldn't have used that image. It looks very awkward in its edited form—and it looks fake.