What’s the most important thing about you? Oh right.

Vision Forum. When the catalog hit our counters we kids always crowded around. Or, I should say, catalogs. There were three. The first included books, mostly on theology and family living. Also videos and CDs. Mom and dad bought a lot of things from that catalog. The second was the All-American Boys Adventure catalog. That’s the one we kids fought over. Wrist rockets, science kids, water canteens four outside explorations . . . just about every item in that one ended up circled as Christmas neared. The third and final one was the Beautiful Girlhood Collection catalog. I have to be honest. That one was boring. I already had cross stitch supplies, I was too old for the tea sets and dolls, and the hope chests were too expensive. Seriously, look at the website – the boys get this and the girls get this.

To Vision Forum, the post important thing about a child is its gender. This has changed in mainstream American society. Sure, it’s far from perfect – as the mother of a daughter growing up in a princess pink girl culture, I know this better than some – but we no longer blink at the artistic boy or the athletic girl. Skills, talents, and interests matter. But not for Vision Forum. No. For Vision Forum, your gender matters first, and any skills, talents, or interests that don’t fit your gender, well, you can just forget about those.

There is something incredibly regressive about Vision Forum. In the early twentieth century, toys were aimed at helping children prepare for their roles in life. Boys got blocks and building sets, girls got mini washing boards and dish sets. Boys were encouraged to build miniature cities and girls were encouraged to play with dolls. Those who didn’t fit these roles were viewed as a problem in need of fixing. This is the world to which Vision Forum seeks to return us.

This post calls for images.

Below are the images associated with the All-American Boys catalog and the Beautiful Girlhood Collection catalog. Notice the differences – the boy is on an adventure outside with his bow and arrows and his dog while the girls are sitting together with their dolls and wearing pink dresses.

Let me give you a comparison of father/son and father/daughter retreats. The father/son retreat, you notice, gets to be a “hazardous journey” in a “mountain rendezvous.” The father/daughter retreat, in contrast, featured things like tea parties. Last year’s retreat even featured an event where girls got to shave their fathers. I’m thinking the things the boys’ mountain rendezvous had to have been a bit different on that score.

Rather than just featuring books for children, the Vision Forum website has a separate page for books for boys and a separate page for books for girls. Here is the description for each:

Modern culture frowns on biblical femininity, belittles faithful motherhood, and misinterprets true beauty. At Vision Forum, we think differently. We believe girls should aspire to godly womanhood and the noble callings of wife and mother. The books we carry reflect these themes, inspiring daughters to embrace virtuous womanhood through character-building biographies, delightful novels, homemaking handbooks, and much more. From stories of bold Christian princesses and American pioneer daughters, to wise encouragements from modern young ladies and Titus 2 women, you will find a wide range of excellent books for girls.

“He who reads, leads.” Boys will grow up to be family, church, and civil leaders, and the books they read today will form the foundation of their thinking tomorrow — for good or bad. The books in this section encourage boys to embrace biblical manhood by promoting adventurous living, sound theology, useful knowledge, and practical life skills. From manly adventure tales by G.A. Henty and “Ballantyne the Brave,” to father-and-son devotionals and exciting missionary biographies, our books will help boys become the men God wants them to be.

Sons are to lead. Sons are to explore. Sons are to build and create. Daughters are to stay at home and nurture children. Daughters are to cook, clean, and sew. Daughters are to follow. For Vision Forum, gender roles are more important than who people are as individuals. It’s blatant. It’s intentional. Vision Forum’s products and book selections reflect this strict divide.

Here’s an excerpt from a post on the blog of a family that follows Vision Forum:

How-To Help Kids to Embrace Biblical Gender Roles

We are dedicated to helping our children to embrace who God made them to be.  He has made us both male and female, different, yet equal in His love for us. Teaching our children to embrace what God created them to be in Christ is essential, the next step is to help them understand the differences in responsibility and dominion that God has given us as men and women.

We have been dedicated recently to not only teaching our children how to embrace their specific gender roles, but also to teach them how to relate to one another in those gender roles.  …

There is nothing particularly new, or even creative about some of the methods we are using in teaching our children about gender roles.  The girls learn to sew, crochet, latch-hook, bake and organize a home.  The boy camps out with dad, learns to whittle and work in the wood-shop.  The girls learn to be meek and gentle, chaste keepers of the home (P.S.  Mom, has not even got that one down . . . yet).  The boy, learns to work, while being a provider, strong and courageous, ready to lead.  That is just where the training begins, though.

Now it is time to “step-up our game”.  How do we teach our children to have a Christ-like heart for serving and helping the opposite gender?

1.  Use gender specific curriculum to help your child cultivate their talents within their given gender role.  Then encourage them to see when they have similarities and why they have them.  A little girl who builds a fort alongside her brother will be far more likely learn that, as women, we can support the vision of our husbands by working with him, not just shutting ourselves in a cookie baking, “sweet-tea”, powered-sugar pink lady world!

2.  Help your child understand differences in our responsibilities as male and female.  God put differences there for a reason too. …

3.  Cultivate gender roles within the home as a way for helping children to learn to be good husbands and wives in the future.  The more that parents project their own biblical gender roles in a consistent manner, the more the children will learn to appreciate their own gender roles, and emulate what they see at home.

Biblical gender roles is something that is taught, and it’s not just lip service. The boys go camping. The girls have tea parties. Even how boys and girls are taught to relate each other depends on gender. Girls are to see their brothers as future leaders, and boys are to see their sisters as future homemakers. I remember this part being the most maddening part, to be honest. Being treated differently from my brothers, and being expected to relate differently to my brothers than they were expected to relate to me, stung. Fortunately, this differentiation was not as strict in my family as it is in some.

What I can’t get over now is the extent to which Vision Forum and the mindset it cultivates looks at gender first, and individuals second. Given Vision Forum’s emphasis on hierarchy and order, this perhaps shouldn’t be surprising. But from my vantage point to day, it makes little sense. We are all individuals. There is more variation within each gender than between it. Trying to push people into prescribed boxes makes no sense to me. But that, quite simply, is what Vision Forum and other the rest of the constellation of organizations that comprise the Christian Patriarchy movement set as their goal.

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://alisoncummins.com Alison Cummins

    How would they cope with a child born with ambiguous genitalia?

    • Alan(UK)

      Easy. There is no such thing as ambiguous genitalia. The hospital hacks off any parts it considers irrelevant and the mother is presented with a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’.

      [For those in the US. Please note that this comment is intended to be ironic. I have been misunderstood before.]

      • Colleen

        It’s a sad truth though. Too many intersex kids have undergone “medical” treatments like that. You have to laugh or you won’t stop crying.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        In the past the medical treatment recommended in most cases to the parents of intersex babies was that because it was easier to make genitals look female than male and they advised the parents to operate as soon apossible and not tell anything to the child. Apart from taking away the choice form the affected individual, how do you know if the person is going to identify as woman or men, something in between, both or entiher when zie is just a baby?

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        I really do wonder how intersex children ARE handled in these families. It obviously has to have happened occasionally, although I’m sure it is a deep, dark secret when it does. I shudder to think of how people who believe this stuff deal with these kids…

      • Landon

        Alan was being ironic in tone but (intentionally or not) serious in substance. Families in this kind of religious tradition do not “deal” with intersexed kids in any way we might consider humane or constructive. They really do just surgically “decide” for the child.

      • Liberated Liberal

        The part that makes me most angry is how these parents know/see/experience that they are literally deciding which gender their child should be and then go on to force that child into that gender role while claiming that it’s God’s will. How is there not a tremendous conflict that makes them rethink this gender role construction?

      • Rosa

        you know, this may be a secret positive to US QF families’ aversion to doctors and reluctance to teach anatomy or sex ed. They may just make a decision without any medical intervention, leaving that child to experience eventual puberty as whichever sex they are going to be. And if the child’s experience of self happens to match their parents original decision, they may never know there was a chance of something horrible having been done to them.

        Intersex kids might be better off in a 100% sex-negative family that eschews modern medicine, overall, since changes of getting a humane and enlightened doctor are so rare still.

      • Noelle

        Surgery on infants and toddlers with ambiguous gentalia is done after chromosomal testing and imaging studies to see what parts you’re working with. There are various points along embryonic development that give a human whatever combo of ovaries or testicals, uteri, vaginas, labias, scrotum they’re born with. There are also conditions where an infant’s own chromosomes were set for making a standard set of reproductive organs, but they are exposed to higher than normal levels of testosterone in utero. This can give a girl a larger clitoris and wrinkly labia, but normal uterus and ovaries. It’s a case by case basis on what’s done about it. Sometimes, surgical adjustments are necessary early on to help with basic function. Urethras need to go to bladders and to kidneys or baby won’t survive. A vagina may end in a blind pouch with a uterus just sitting above it. Better to connect up the 2 before puberty. Some infants with ambiguous gentalia have other defects in their organs and deserve a full work-up.

      • Noelle

        And I don’t think humane and enlightened physicians are rare at all. ;)

    • Ashton

      Easy. The same way that they deal with everything else that doesn’t fit their worldview; pretend it doesn’t exist.

  • Gibbo

    ” but we no longer blink at the artistic boy or the athletic girl. ”
    My youngest seems to have taken up all sides here. She is a typical beach barbie who loves pretty dresses, bikinis and all the other pretty girly stuff. She is also very artistic, excelling in painting, drawing and photography. She also happens to be a gifted athlete, who does extremely well with sprinting, surf sports, and soccer (which she plays better and harder than most boys her age). She is also qualified as a surf life saver. In two years she has broken both wrists and ruptured the ligaments in her ankle because she goes so hard and gives no quarter. Oh, and the general attitude. She takes shit from no-one, and will physically defend the disabled kids at her school when they are being bullied. She’s my girl and I think she is perfect. :)

  • machintelligence

    That boy’s catalog seems to be heavily into weaponry and survival gear, and even the Lego compatible building kits are quite military in nature. There were no free-form building sets on any of the catalog pages for boys. I find this somewhat disturbing.
    *disclaimer* I would have loved these items as a kid, but I had an Erector set too. */disclaimer*

    • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

      Indeed. They think they’ll have to form a Christian militia at some point, right?

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    The cognitive dissonance needed to teach that gender roles are both “natural” and need to be strictly taught from day 1 always floors me.

    • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com Sam

      This is a really good point. I wonder if they believe it has to be taught in order to “counter the culture” or even “demonic influence”.

      • smrnda

        Yeah, if men and women or boys and girls were ‘naturally’ different you wouldn’t need to go hard core into constantly indoctrinating your kids with their proper gender role.

    • Uly

      Yeah, really.

    • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

      I saw Cloud Atlas yesterday, and there’s a couple moments when characters say something like, “There is a natural order and it needs to be protected.” The first character says this in defense of a repressive state, the second in defense of slavery. I wanted to yell at the screen, “If it’s so natural, why does it need to be enforced through violence and oppression!” I refrained, though.

      • gillyc

        Hi Bix,
        I read Cloud Atlas a few years ago. I don’t know if they’ve changed it much for the film and I don’t remember who said that but it definitely sounds like something one of the ‘bad guys’ would have said… I read the whole thing as a polemic against abuse of power. If they’ve changed that in the film, I would be very disappointed.
        Gill

      • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

        I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how it compares, but abuse of power is definitely a theme.

  • Colleen

    Ha, the logo for the All-American Boys Adventure catalog echoes the Rose the Riveter poster quite closely. It’s not an exact replica, but to a secular eye like mine I see quite a lot of design similarities. To be fair, Rosie is iconic and very beautifully designed. but VF’s use of the pose and focus suggests to me–yet again–that CP/Dominionist culture has very few innovations of its own and rips off secular culture quite often.

  • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com Sam

    An acquaintance of mine has a four-year-old daughter who wanted a princess costume, so he got her a dress and a tiara. When he gave them to her, she asked “What about the swords and axes?” He was confused, and she declared “I can’t be a princess without weapons!”

    • machintelligence

      Speaking of princesses and weapons, here is a Vision Forum photoshop job for one of their CD’s, along with the original picture.
      http://rethinkingvisionforum.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/vision-forum-sleeping-beauty-and-the-five-question/
      This lead, naturally enough, to the expansion and re-photoshopping of the cover.
      http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/3890/mrl5qko8.jpg
      I have posted this before, but if you haven’t seen it yet: enjoy!

      • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

        I don’t know what they were going for, but the impression I got from the VF version was rather different from anything they’d consider appropriate.

      • machintelligence

        That too.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      haha! Luckily fiction and literature have many awesome warrior princesses to choose from when she gets a little older.

    • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

      That makes perfect sense to me! And the photoshopping is hilarious.

  • http://campuskritik.blogspot.com Malte

    Stating the obvious here, but G.A. Henty’s books are incredibly racist. As might be expected, since they were written to encourage turn-of-the-century British boys to become soldiers and administrators for the Empire.

    In that sense it’s unsurprising that Vision Forum, who don’t have the most critical attitude towards the American overseas empire, have no problem with promoting them, alongside toy weaponry. They don’t seem to take Jesus’ commands to peace all that seriously.

    • Karen

      Vision Forum also promotes the Elsie Dinsmore novels for girls, which are set on an antebellum plantation and make “Gone With The Wind” look like a Black Panther publication. Think Mitchell’s book but without Scarlett’s spunk.

      • Rebecca Newman

        I was quite the reader and devoured everything as a kid and so read the few Elsie Dinsmore books we had lying around, but I remember thinking them quite dull – Elsie was so good it was unbearable and got on my nerves!

  • Elise

    I think gender is nuanced. Certainly there are men and women who naturally “fit” VF’s espoused roles. That doesn’t mean all do. I would argue that it’s uncommon.

    I always bristle when I read what amounts to separate but equal. I think my largest issue with complementarianism from when I was in a church that encouraged it, was that while I fit a lot of biblical womanhood, I didn’t fit all of it. I’m relatively quiet by nature, not forceful, not necessarily a leader by nature (though I’ve felt called to it since then, but I’ve also left the church, so it’s in a different capacity), but I was the spiritual leader in our family. My (male) significant other didn’t take much stock in spiritual study, and I always have (though to be fair, he led me to my new faith through exposure and questions). I see these roles as something few will fit naturally, regardless of gender, and I think both genders would have to struggle to meet these roles. If, as VF says, “God intended these roles” (paraphrasing), why don’t they come naturally to more people? In the blog you quoted, the mother while espousing the beliefs clearly indicates she struggles with adhering to them!

    Now, when I look at the roles, I think of the boys who aren’t naturally leaders, who aren’t ambitious. The boys who’d rather not drive the metaphorical car and wish their faith would allow them to ride shotgun once in a while. I don’t just feel for the girls who struggle being meek and who would rather play in the mud than have a tea party (though I do feel for them too). I think both genders are victims under these roles, but in different ways and to differing degrees.

    It saddens me though, that for the most part, VF encourages boys to step outside of their box, to push themselves to fill more space, to expand their minds, while it simultaneously encourages girls to limit themselves, reducing their box to a neat homemaker role. Limiting oneself to a leadership and adventure is limiting, but (much, imo) less so than VF’s vision of “Biblical Womanhood.” Doing the dishes is a valuable skill no matter what genitalia hangs out between your legs, and learning to expand to your best self is too. Sure, for some girls expanding means crochet and craftwork, and it means that for some boys too! I think life is about expanding yourself in a way that enriches you, and it seems VF gives boys much more opportunity to live, while expecting girls to serve and feel as though they are living fully through (not despite) their servitude.

  • Kit

    “We are all individuals. There is more variation within each gender than between it. Trying to push people into prescribed boxes makes no sense to me.”

    ^ This.

    As a woman entering a career as a lawyer (and, hopefully, as a trial litigator) who initially did a degree in physics, this entire post terrifies me. I know that people who adhere to these beliefs would see me as “rejecting” what’s “natural” because modern society doesn’t like feminine traits (?) and as eternally unhappy, but … what about me? The whole worldview completely ignores individuals. Not every woman likes to cook, knit, or sew. Not every man likes camping. I feel like this worldview is something that can only be sustained by willful blindness to reality.

  • LeftSidePositive

    My goodness, the almost single-minded emphasis on violence in the boys’ toys is seriously disturbing!

    (I also highly recommend Anita Sarkeesian on how this same principle is operating in mainstream culture, but the Vision Forum seems to have taken this concept and gone off the deep end with it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn_lJoN6PI

    I also highly recommend her 2-part lego series.)

  • emily

    I am with you with your criticisms. However I think you give mainstream American culture too much credit with regard to gender inclusiveness. Whats the first question a pregnant woman gets? The boy girl question. The toy aisle at any big box store reinforces gender norms parallel to those of the vision forum. Professions are segregated by gender. Vision forum takes it further by calling these roles biblical while mainstream culture stops with calling gender roles normal and natural. Forgive me if you were setting up a false dichotomy. I’m pretty sure you know everything I just said.

    • Rilian

      Toys r us has a boy section and a girl section. They also have a third section that’s “educational” toys. I just go in that section, which is purple iirc. I refuse to buy anything from the pink or blue aisles.
      Walmart is just divided into pink and blue, though, and doesn’t even have a third section.

    • christina

      To be fair, toys are really hard to organize on store shelves like Wal-mart. You have so many things – dolls, cars, balls, airplanes, make up sets, cooking utensils, camping sets, dress up sets, stickers, etc – that need to be organized in a relatively small area, and most girls DO like dolls, just like most boys DO like toy trucks. And, well, dolls are usually packaged in pink, and toy trucks in blue.

      I don’t agree with Toys R Us. I think they have enough store space – being a store wholly dedicated to toys – to organize the toys by type. ‘Dolls’ ‘Vehicles’ etc.

      However, until a easier way of organizing and marketing is invented, separating Girls and Boys toys are the easiest way, and you can’t really blame them. They should take the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ out of the section names though, so children aren’t pressured into thinking that’s the only thing they should like. Parents should do their part by bringing their children around the whole store and asking what they want. It’s the only way we can truly make sure it’s not the gender role that’s making the decision, but the individual child.

      • christina

        just to be clear, I don’t mean to say that all girls like dolls, or all boys like toy trucks, or that even most girls don’t like toy trucks or most boys don’t like dolls. Who knows what children will enjoy if we let them play with whatever they wanted. But sellers are know for sure that a good percentage of girls like dolls, and a good percentage of boys like toy trucks, and so if they can target those children’s parents and make those toys easily available to them, they’ll have business.

        In the end we’ll have to change society as a whole. :) That starts with every individual child in every individual home.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    So are there every mother-child retreats?

    • Sarah

      And when do you imagine a mother in this bizzaro-world would ever have time to leave the compound, I mean home?

      My guess is no.

  • smrnda

    I am so happy that I totally didn’t get this nonsense as a girl. Instead, I happened to get my hands on my father’s old textbooks which (to a great extent) led to my decision to study mathematics and computer science. Not that I didn’t also play with legos or have stuffed animals, just my interest were accepted regardless of whether they fit ‘girl’ or not. I’ve always loved arts and crafts but I’ve studied martial arts too. I used to volunteer and work with children even though I would never want one of my own.

    I can’t even see how anybody could place me in ‘typically feminine’ or ‘not typically feminine’ – it would really depend on what you think of as important. I just think it’s best not to be limiting to anyone.

    The other issue is leadership. I think part of being an adult is learning to live without a leader, and this would go for men and women. The problem is the conservative Christian philosophy can’t stand to see a woman who isn’t under some man’s leadership.

  • Ashton

    It has taken me a while to realize that I don’t seem to see gender the way that most people do. Now, while I sort of get people acting the way that they do about gender, I still have to remind myself why they do so. A couple of years ago a friend of mine with a Nigerian father and a white American mother was talking to me about how much she likes Michelle Obama and how she identifies with her. I was a little surprised and said that I would have thought that she would more closely identify with Barack Obama given their similar racial and family backgrounds. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later that I realized that it was the gender thing – we just don’t see all that many professional black women in the media. I also used to be rather confused by transsexuality, which made me feel like a bad liberal and gay rights supporter. Once I realized that I seem to miss something about how people see gender in general, that sort of just fell into place beside all the rest of it.

    If I had grown up the way that you did, I might have had this part of me destroyed. My parents didn’t push us towards certain toys or careers. While my mom did stay at home for the majority of my childhood, my parents had a very equal marriage. I’ve started to kind of like this part of me and I would hate to see it smothered in other kids along with all the other things that CP/QF disallows and discourages.

    • Rilian

      I don’t think transsexuality has to do with how people see gender. There’s a part of your brain that corresponds to your sex, and if there’s a difference in hormone levels in the womb, your brain will be like “I’m a male,” while you might have ovaries etc. So even if there were no cultural gender at all, transsexuals would still exist.
      I had sex edumacation, I knew all about puberty long before I started it, but still (I hypothesize) there was something in my subconscious telling me I was male (/hypothesis), because when the punctuation started and when the blobs appeared, I was surprised. For years, every time the punctuation came, I was suprised. For years, every time I looked in the mirror and saw blobs, I was surprised. Contrast this to girls (both cis and trans) who *expect* to have those things and look forward to having them.

      • Anat

        Contrast this to girls (both cis and trans) who *expect* to have those things and look forward to having them.

        Expected? Yes, in the sense that I knew it was supposed to happen at some point. Look forward to? Hell no. Now just wondering why pre-menopause is taking so long.

      • Christine

        Unfortunately there are some people who claim to be experts (so unfortunately are allowed to work with trans-gendered children) who make very essentialist claims about what being transgendered is. I don’t know how common they are, I know that they’re some of the most vocal ones. The idea that a boy playing with dolls or a girl not wanting to wear a dress means they have gender identity disorder makes it really hard to take seriously.

      • Attackfish

        I’m cissexual, and I neither expected nor was happy about my breasts showing up. I’m a bit of a special case, because my brain was too busy having seizures to function until I was nine and we figured out what was wrong to form memories or process information, and I started growing breasts younger than usual at ten, but let me tell you, without the cultural conditioning that tells you breasts are supposed to happen, and they will make you a real woman, and make you pretty, yada yada yada, I was absolutely taken by surprise, terrified, and deeply unhappy to be growing them. I did come to terms with them later, which is good, because they’re bigger than the norm and tend to attract comments, but there is nothing inherent in a cissexual girl that makes us expect and look forward to the coming of our secondary sexual attributes. Meanwhile, my best friend is trans, and he eagerly waited for his breasts to come in, hoping they would make him normal and feel like a woman. Needless to say they didn’t, but I’m pretty sure the experience is varied.

      • Attackfish

        Side note, the “feel normal” part were his words later, not mine. Neither of us is particularly normal, for reasons that have nothing to do with our gender, and I don’t want to give the impression that cis is normal and trans* is not.

      • Ashton

        I wasn’t trying to say that I thought that transsexuality had to do with how people see gender. I was more trying to say that I have a hard time understanding gender to begin with and transsexuality is one out of many of those gender things that I just didn’t get.

  • JJ

    If you look at the Vision Forum fiction books for girls, they recomend Sherlock Holmes. Huzzah! But when you click on the link this is in the book description:

    A great example for boys on how the mind can be trained in analytical thinking.

    Pretty much sums up the Vision Forum, and gender to me :P

  • Lizzy

    If think it’s interesting how they keep asserting that god made their children this way, yet they have to work so hard to force their kids to do what god made them to do. Shouldn’t parents support their children and lovingly guide them instead of forcing them into certain boxes? I would think that if god made a child a certain way, that they would just automatically behave in that manner since it is their innate nature. I’m girly, I like pink, dresses, and am a fan of tea parties. I’m also loud, opinionated, and I looooove camping. I’m glad my parents let me be me. I don’t think that only teaching me certain things would really have made me more likely to be quiet and submissive, it just would have made me really unhappy.

    • ScottInOH

      I had the same thought in church a few weeks ago: If it’s natural (whatever “it” is), why don’t we just let it happen? If it will make us happier in the end, why don’t we just end up there without all this cajoling and coercing?

      I think the thinking is that sin is like candy or alcohol or drugs. It gives a temporary rush, but that masks the damage it does to us. Left to our own devices, however, some of us will keep going back for the temporary rush, never getting to that healthy place that is actually good for us. (This metaphor probably breaks down pretty quickly, but I think it illustrates the thinking.)

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  • LadyCricket

    I got a kick out of seeing that webpage of Nerf archery equipment for boys… because I have a real hunting compound bow for my archery practice, on loan from a neighbor. I get my arrows from a local archery/bowhunting store, decorated with taxidermied deer, ducks and exotic animals. It’s a very manly store, and yes, I get a kick out of the fact that one of their regular customers is a petite, 20-year-old woman with pierced ears and a pixie cut.

  • Rae

    ‘The girls learn to be meek and gentle, chaste keepers of the home (P.S. Mom, has not even got that one down . . . yet). The boy, learns to work, while being a provider, strong and courageous, ready to lead. That is just where the training begins, though.”

    Has anyone else ever noticed, how in patriarchal circles, it’s OK to joke about Mom not fulfilling her role as a woman properly, but heaven forbid someone jokes that Dad can’t provide or protect his family?

    • Rae

      Also, the word choice is interesting – girls lean to *be* everything, while the boys get to learn to *do* some things. Looking through the other stuff that’s posted, there seems to be a trend of much more nebulous language regarding the things the girls are supposed to learn, but much more specific, direct language about what the boys are supposed to learn.

    • Silentbob

      Has anyone else ever noticed, how in patriarchal circles, it’s OK to joke about Mom not fulfilling her role as a woman properly, but heaven forbid someone jokes that Dad can’t provide or protect his family?

      That’s coz she’s got silly, wishy-washy girly-brains, rather than manly discipline and a will of iron.
      (/sarcasm)

      Maybe it’s just my dirty mind, but I always read the parentheses in the paragraph you quoted as Mom admitting she’s not chaste. Presumably not the meaning intended though.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Wow, this makes me want to throw something across the room. Especially the part about “see, a girl can build forts too- by helping her brother build what he wants”. Excuse me, I am going to build a freaking fort by myself, and it’s going to be better than any fort that the average random guy comes up with.

    (I say this as an electrical engineer who’s been writing a ton of FREAKING AWESOME code today.)

    • Richter_DL

      Exchange a few words, and this article could be featured in an islamist magazine.

  • Alexis

    Even if it is pink, I wonder how this snuck in:
    This pink edition 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun, which is an identical model to the Original 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun, has been a “girl’s first gun” for generations. With a lever-cocking action and a 650-shot BB capacity, this rifle is crafted with a painted, solid-wood stock and a smoothbore steel barrel. The perfect gun for the cowgirl in your family!
    You could put an eye out with one of those!

    • Richter_DL

      There are also live versions of this. Which can (and do) kill.

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