Under Her Father’s Authority

In many ways, my upbringing and background isn’t that weird. Yes, I had twice as many siblings as most people have cousins, but in general my upbringing was very normal—for the evangelical subculture, that is. But when I tell people about my background, the thing that always trips them up is the part about unmarried adult daughters being under their fathers’ authority, to the point of requiring complete submission and obedience. This is . . . weird, even for the evangelical world. But in the Christian homeschool subculture, it’s actually not that uncommon.

In this post I want to do two things. First, I want to sketch out a few points of analysis on this whole phenomenon. Second, I want to offer some quotes from various blog posts to serve as examples, so that you can hear these ideas in the words of their adherents.

The basic idea is that women—young and old—are always in need of male protection. This idea as promoted as especially honoring to women, as holding them in high esteem and in fact putting their needs above the needs of men. The trouble is that this idea infantilizes women, assuming that they are incapable of making their own decisions and protecting and providing for themselves. Further, just who is it that women need protecting from? Other men, of course. This also divides men into protectors and predators, and positions women as objects to be possessed and fought over. Better to assume that every adult human is capable of caring for him or herself, and capable of showing empathy and respect for others—and to work towards a world where that ideal is the reality.

Unfortunately, it is the failure of feminism to transform society more fully that has created the space for these ideas to take root and grow in this subculture. This is not to blame feminism, of course, but rather to blame its opposition and the cultural inertia that often makes lasting and deep change difficult. Nevertheless, those who promote the idea that women need to be always under the covering of a male protector are quick to buttress their argument with rape statistics, the wage cap, sexual harassment in the workplace, and societal disrespect for women. They argue that we as a society have dismantled traditional protections for women without eliminating the dangers women face in the world. Of course, they miss that these traditional protections were often never more than an illusion, and they very much overestimate the current dangers women face and underestimate women’s potential to face them. And to top that all off, rather than seeking to eliminate the dangers that (supposedly) so concern them, they instead seek to rebuild (and in some cases invent) older “protections” that rob women of agency and only replace one form of objectification with another.

There is a lot of variation within Christian homeschool world, even among those who adhere to the idea that unmarried adult daughters are under their father’s authority. I was lucky—my parents sent me away to college. They still considered me to be under my father’s authority, as did I, but they saw my college education as a dowry to present to my future husband (their words, not mine). I knew other families, though, where college was seen as frivolous, unnecessary, and corrupting for women—and I had arguments about this with other girls in my circle as a teen. There is also disagreement over whether it is appropriate for adult daughters to hold jobs outside of the home before marriage; some hold that outside employment both places a daughter under some other man’s authority and has the potential to corrupt her by giving her a taste of financial freedom and the career world. Again, I was lucky—my parents were okay with the idea of me working outside of the home between college and marriage, within certain spheres and with my father’s permission, of course.

And now for some excerpts. I intentionally looked around for some not written by Vision Forum, because I want to make it clear that this idea isn’t simply the province of that one organization. This first excerpt shows the lengths to which some men in this subculture go searching the Bible for clues as to how they are to treat their unmarried adult sons and daughters differently:

God places men and women differently in the structure of authority. “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ” (so as my son matures and can function as a “man,” I release him from my authority to that of Christ) “and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3)

This passage says to me that as my daughter matures and becomes a woman that she remains needful of the protection and authority of a man. As her father, I am that authority until she moves from my authority to that of another man. There are possible exceptions, but most commonly that transition is to her husband.

My son is working in another city. I am comfortable allowing him to make unsupervised decisions regarding friends, place of worship, and leisure activities. I would not be as comfortable with a daughter of the same age. God’s word indicates to me that regardless of her age, commitment to godliness, ability to discern good from evil, etc., that it is my responsibility to function as her authority until I turn that right, or burden, over to another. A transfer of authority to someone other than a husband would be unusual.

Temporarily, the man in charge of an overseas missionary team might function as my delegated authority. Before I would allow that there would be a clear understanding between us of how seriously I regarded that honor! Scripture gives us a principle for this circumstance in Exodus 21:7-8: “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as man servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners because he has broken faith with her.” While the specific situation would be different, the principle is clearly that the daughter’s authority must revert back to the father when it has been temporarily transferred to another man. This passage and principle would also apply following a divorce or death of a husband.

A second situation of transfer of authority outside marriage involves the death of a father. Numbers 36 describes a situation following the death of Zelophehad, a man who had no sons. His land was inherited by his daughters. In order that the land not pass out of the clan upon their marriage, Moses directed (as their spiritual authority) that they must marry within their clan. The elders of the clan had come to Moses with the problem. In this passage the principle appears to be that authority over an orphaned daughter lies not only with her mother, but also with the male relative (older men within the clan) and pastors/elders (spiritual authorities). The relationships of Esther and Mordecai and Ruth and Naomi give additional insights into this complex issue.

Here is a similar passage, also written by a man, also working on figuring out exactly what he should be doing with his unmarried adult daughters:

That is the question of many parents when their daughters have finished their schooling but with no marriage prospects in sight. You have been carefully guiding your daughter towards being a stay at home wife and mother and preparing her with the skills needed to excel in this role. Now she seems ready, or nearly so, but where is the young man God would have her marry? What if there is no young man for quite some time? Or could God be calling your daughter to serve Him as a single woman? So what do you do now? How do you direct and advise her to proceed with her life? This question gets harder when your 18 year old daughter becomes 20 and then 25 or older with still no marriage prospects in sight.

Should she be sent away to college? If so, for what purpose? Is there something of real value for her there? Or would you be sending her there mostly to keep her busy and in hopes of finding a husband? A safer course might be college by correspondence or staying at home while taking some courses at a nearby community college.

In the Bible we see daughters generally remaining in their father’s home until marriage, continuing to be supported and protected by him until another man assumes that role as her husband. There is nothing I find indicating it would be a sin to send your daughter away to school, just principles that point to it often being unwise, exposing her to temptations and dangers that would be better to avoid.

Consider just what real benefit the schooling will provide. Would this be the most profitable use of her time (I don’t mean in terms of income, but for her future and where God is leading).

Should she get a job and work until she is married or has children? If you believe she will one day marry and that God would be most pleased that she be a “stay at home” wife and mother … does it make sense to first give her a taste of working outside the home for an employer? The path that many young women follow today is one of moving out on their own, working side by side with many young men, most of whom are non-Christian, and working for a non-Christian boss. I believe our daughters are generally more vulnerable in this environment than our sons. Nor does this seem the best way to reinforce a commitment to being a “keeper” or “worker” at home after marriage. Along with its hardships and dangers, the working world also offers an allurement of more money, independence, status, competition with men, acceptance and respect from the world, etc.

Of course there are other work experiences available where the daughter is in a more protected environment, much different from most of the working world. The best of these is probably working for her own parents in their home business. Close to this might be working in the small business of a trusted Christian friend of the parents or perhaps working for a church or Christian organization. Personally I favor work opportunities that also help prepare the daughter better for the role of wife and mother. These might include providing services for other Christian families in the areas of child care, helping with homeschooling or teaching music, caring for the elderly, house cleaning, etc. But in all of these I would exercise a degree of care to ensure it is a good and safe environment and is a benefit rather than a detriment to your daughter’s maturity and spiritual life. In some instances each of these work opportunities can bring negative influences or temptations.

I know of no direct Biblical instruction telling fathers and mothers precisely what they should do in this instance. However, there seems to be a consistent example of daughters remaining in their parents’ home until marriage.

As you know from previous discussions of the Botkins, it’s not just the men and fathers who endorse the idea that unmarried adult daughters are under their fathers’ authority and must be obedient to them—not a few of the daughters in this subculture embrace this idea as well. Here is an example:

As a single adult woman I have made the choice to be a stay-at-home daughter.  I live with my family and flowing out of that I have chosen to submit to my parents; and more specifically my father’s authority.  I have chosen to do this until the day I am given in marriage to my future husband, when I will willingly begin to submit to him.

Today I’ve just been considering what a wonderful gift I have in submitting to my father’s leadership and authority.  So many wonderful things have come out of this arrangement and I feel truly blessed.

Today I’d like to take a moments to share with you just a few of the many benefits of submitting to your father’s authority while you remain a single woman.

1.}  Protection

Between creepy guys wanting your number, the subtle lies of our culture and our own deceptive emotions it’s a dangerous world out there girls!

One of the greatest benefits I’ve enjoyed as a stay-at-home daughter is the loving protection that my father has faithfully given me.  He takes his job seriously when it comes to protecting me physically as well as my heart and purity.  He’s older, wiser and because he’s a man he isn’t as easily swayed by passing emotions.  My daddy can see through the lies the world (or certain young men) try to feed me much better than I can and he always steps up to protect me.

2.}  Provision

My father takes the financial responsibility in our home upon himself and by God’s grace he provides for our needs.  I’ve been very grateful that as I have remained under his authority he has also continued to take the financial burden off of me.  I know this is a sacrifice on his part but it has allowed me to minister and have more time to hone the homemaking skills that I will need in the future.

My father has also taken the brunt of the pressure of choosing my future husband off of my shoulders.  He has actively looked to help provide a future mate for me.

3.}  Leadership

Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE.  To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.

As an adult, my parents do allow me to make a lot of my own choices; but I still trust and submit to my father’s leadership in such a way that I don’t have the weight of ALL of those big decisions on my shoulders.  My father is a wise, experienced leader created for that job, I’m not.  Submitting to his godly leadership practically and spiritually is a big blessing.

4.}  Preparation

No one can ever be completely ready for marriage but good preparation is important.  Living at home and under my father’s authority and observing my mother has allowed me to learn and practice, in a small way, the submission I desire to have towards my future husband.  Studying my parent’s strong marriage has also helped me understand better what I need in a husband one day.

5.}  Relationship

Being a stay-at-home daughter helps me have a good, close relationship with my entire family, including my father.  Living in the same home as my father allows me to regularly see and learn what things are important to him. I would have missed out on so many opportunities to get to know my father if I did not choose to live under his loving authority!

Those were just a few reasons why being a stay-at-home daughter, submitted to my father’s authority is so attractive to me.  I hope this post was an encouragement to you and maybe even brought up a few things to consider in regards to your years as a single woman.

Note:  I understand that not every woman in my stage of life has the luxury of submitting to a godly, caring father.  This post in not meant to push you into a cookie-cutter mold that your were not meant to be in but rather to encourage those who do have godly fathers to strongly consider embracing their authority.  For those who, for whatever reason, cannot remain under their father’s leadership but wish to experience some of the wisdom and protection I mentioned in this post please don’t be discouraged!  There are other good, God honoring options!   

For their part, the Botkins write that unmarried adult daughters who do not have fathers—or whose fathers refuse to act as their authorities—should find another man to serve as their authority. This might be a family friend, or a relative, or a church elder. And indeed, we’ve seen an example of this before here on this blog.

I know this post has gotten long, but I thought the excerpts might be useful to some. It’s important to realize just how much thought goes into creating these frameworks. It’s not that people haven’t thought it through but rather that the framework within which they are thinking it through runs at complete odds from the framework from which I view the world. Concepts like “consent” are absent from their world while concepts like “total depravity” are absent from mine. Still, this isn’t so easy to explain when I’m discussing my background whose mental processes have just been slowed by their shock at the very idea that unmarried adult daughters should be required to submit to and obey their fathers.

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.

  • NeaDods

    Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.

    Gaaahhhh! I have the same visceral reaction of disgust and contempt that I did for Michael Pearl whining that thinking about the bible is too hard and he needed to be spoofed The One True Version, which does not exist. And for the same reason. My father raised me to rate logic above everything, knowing that even if I stayed home (which he did not want) he would inevitably die someday, and he wanted to know in his bones that I could survive in the world without his micromanagement. The Botkin girls are trying to make a virtue of infantilizing themselves, not having to worry about nasty autonomy, not having any practice in decision making… Does this guarantee they will marry? Hasn’t so far. Does it guarantee daddy will never die? THAT IS INEVITABLE. And they will be lost, in so many senses of the term. Their pride in lack of decision making skills and judgement will condemn them to so many troubles that life experience would have shielded them from.

    The Botkins have no concept of their privilege or the sand it is built upon. My parents grew up in the Depression and WWII, knowing full well the evils of poverty and the salvation of hard work and hard choices, knowing the fear of random sudden death and a telegram. They worked hard to drive in the lesson that my life is privileged and that it could be lost not just due to my decisions, but due to circumstances well beyond my control, and so dealing wi rehearsals had to be planned for, and in circumstances where they may not be there to help.

    • NeaDods

      Dang, can’t edit. “Spoon-fed.” “Dealing with reversals”.

      How is the recession treating the Botkins? What will those girls do if a sudden heart attack or car accident leaves them to fend for themselves in this economy? Their father has stripped them of what they need for a good life and they brag about it like ignorance and inexperience are laudable goals!

      • centaurie

        I call that cowardice. And it’s coming from either side of their relationship.

      • KarenH

        Thank you for putting into the words just how I feel about what the Botkins wrote. Personally, I find their pride in their incompetence (and it is truly incompetence) to be contemptible.

      • persephone

        We’ve had a few side discussions about what will happen happen when their god, Daddy Botkin, dies. I imagine it will be a bit like the genteel poor of a century ago, living carefully, barely subsisting, but unwilling to get jobs or provide for themselves, as it’s beneath their station in life.

    • KarenJo12

      My grandmother, who was not a feminist, once told me that the only way to avoid being wrong is to never make a decision in the first place. The Botkins could have been her example; they have found the most perfect way ever to avoid the blame for being wrong.

      • katiehippie

        I guarantee not making a decision can be wrong as well.

      • Leigha7

        I’m pretty sure my grandma said that too, but she meant it as a reassurance that being wrong sometimes is okay, because it’s inevitable.

    • Hilary

      “The Botkins have no concept of their privilege or the sand it is built upon.”
      BINGO!! Jackpot, we have a winner!! That is exactly the blind spot I saw but couldn’t quite articulate. The privilege, but even more the sand under their foundations.

    • smrnda

      I don’t get people who don’t want to make decisions for themselves. If you can’t make your own decisions, you aren’t an adult, and that’s nothing to be proud of. The other thing is nobody can make better decisions for me than myself, since I’m the person who knows what I want and I’m the person with the most detailed info on me.

      • NeaDods

        As far as I can tell, the thought process goes like this: Parents know every thought in their children’s head, either because the children confess all or (more likely from what I’m reading) they pound out any dissent, or at least expressions of dissent from parental dictates. So that’s why the parents “know more about the kids than the kids.”

        Then, we see the tremendous amount of calories burned by Debi Pearl, Whatsherface of Fascinating Womanhood, and the Botkin girls in which they all very loudly insist that not being an adult is actually hard work that takes great emotional strength and wisdom, and that being infantalized through learned helplessness is both God-blessed and something to be very proud of.

        Topsy-turvy world, basically.

      • smrnda

        This kind of makes me think of how different my family was – my grandparents thought their grandkids were weird and hard to understand, and my parents too (to some degree.) The Fundamentalist world seems based on the idea that everybody is really the same, and that the whole human condition is totally mapped out, so that the authorities have all the answers.

      • NeaDods

        Yes, but it’s wonderful if you’re one of the authorities! Basically unlimited power as long as you can convincingly twist a bible verse to gloss it, and plenty of people ready to downplay your crimes (because we’re all sinners dontchaknow) and pile blame on the victims.

      • Rosa

        It really depends on the decision. For decisions that are deeply personal, like marrying, having children, choosing a line of work, or a place to live, you’re the authority on your own experience. Of course, these folks don’t think so – they think there’s an outside authority that can tell you what will make you happy based on your age & gender alone.

        But collectively, we’re pretty obviously bad at some kinds of decisions – future risk vs. cost assessment is a big one (why the switch to 401ks is shaping up so disastrously, why banks require homeowner’s insurance of mortgage holders, who would often choose to skip it, and why we have building codes saying that fire safety is worth more than saving a few dollars on cheap wiring). Individually, none of us is good at *every* kind of decision.)

        I just think religious conservatives get it exactly backwards. They want big structural decisions on things like retirement savings and infrastructure to be individual, and personal happiness things like how to structure your own family and friendships to be subject to authoritarian dictates.

  • AndersH

    I don’t think it’s the failure of feminism to transform society that has allowed these ideas to develop, it has at most allowed them to remain a force. Because though they might think that “traditional protections for women” have been removed, in truth feminists have exposed that “traditional protections” were only protections (and not very good ones) to women from families of privilege (and where their families weren’t their greatest enemies) – indeed, wage gap, rape, and sexual harassment were not things that didn’t exist because women were protected by men, they were constantly going on against women who were not granted protection by either law or class. Women from higher classes with a wish to become independent were, I would think, always reminded what you were as a woman without protection in those days, and we shouldn’t allow patriarchal romantics their delusions about the past.

    • dj_pomegranate

      Well said!

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Even class privilege was not a reliable protector. You were better off with it, certainly, but you were still vulnerable to abuse and a host if other dangers with no recourse.

      • Saraquill

        Though it’s fiction, the Song of Ice and Fire series shows how dreadful it is to be a woman in those societies, even if you’re a queen.

      • The_L1985

        I Survived The Red Wedding.

      • persephone

        I’m working my way through the Accursed Kings books.

    • persephone

      We do not recognize or we forget that literature was written towards the reader, and only .1% of people could read AND could afford to purchase books. You can read about chivalry, but there’s nothing in the classics about the casual rape and abuse of peasants by traveling knights.

      In the 20th century the Victorian age was romanticized. Dickens described some of the suffering of the poor, but most writing concerned those who were not part of the average, but in the upper classes, because, again, most of those able to buy and read books, or even magazines, were above the.average in their station.

      Now many look longingly at the TV shows of the.fifties and early sixties and proclaim that this is how families are supposed to be, when in actuality it was a small minority in our society who had the suburban house, car, 2.2 children, and fulltime housewife.

      I cringe at the thought of aliens ever being able to watch this.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        If you have not seen “Galaxy Quest”, now would probably be a good time.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_Quest

      • persephone

        I love Galaxy Quest. Science fiction gave me my escape from my culty parents as a kid. My first SciFi book I remember reading is Childhood’s End by Clarke. The religious angle in the book helped me question more thoroughly my parents’ religious decisions.

        My favorite site is io9. If I had the money, I would be at.every con I had the time to attend.

  • ako

    Thanks. This is really informative!

    My father has also taken the brunt of the pressure of choosing my
    future husband off of my shoulders. He has actively looked to help
    provide a future mate for me.

    Feminism doesn’t put the pressure of choosing a future mate on your shoulders, because from a feminist perspective, husbands are not compulsory! If you don’t want to go through the trouble of actively hunting down a husband, you can just relax, let life happen, and see if one turns up. Yeah, it won’t necessarily end in marriage, but then again, neither does the stay-at-home daughter lifestyle.

    Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own
    decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s
    a big responsibility I just don’t want.

    She’s either badly misunderstanding feminism, or being really cowardly (or possibly both). Feminism is totally okay with seeking and accepting advice, sometimes deferring to other people’s preferences, and even, on occasion, deciding to trust in an expert opinion instead of your own. You don’t have to shoulder the entire burden single-handedly.

    If she thinks it’s terribly difficult to go through life knowing you have the choice, you can control over your life at any point, and even if you obey someone else you’re still responsible for your choice to obey, that’s really cowardly. And submitting to her father is only providing the illusion of escaping responsibility. If she makes the choice to obey, and the choice not to consider alternate sources of information, she is morally responsible.

    • centaurie

      And submitting to her father is only providing the illusion of escaping responsibility. If she makes the choice to obey, and the choice not to consider alternate sources of information, she is morally responsible.

      Something none of those SAHD-bloggers have realised, it seems.

      • NeaDods

        For people so big on personal responsibility, they’re very poor at actually accepting personal responsibility. It’s always someone else’s decision, or “God’s will” or a trial sent by Satan/the secular world/gays/feminists/liberals, etc.

    • Kit

      I read that as cowardly, though I do relate to some degree. The real world is scary, especially when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, and it’s hard for young adults not raised in this particular subculture as well. I’m making the transition between school and work now, and I certainly feel the pressure of having to make rent every month, buying groceries, trying to land my next contract before this contract ends, etc. And I would consider myself quite well-prepared for real life.

      The way I read it, she’s scared of the responsibility and freedom largely because she hasn’t been taught what to do with it.

      • Alice

        Yeah, the psychological term is “learned helplessness.” People believe and behave as though they are helpless because that is what they’ve internalized from other people or bad experiences.

      • katiehippie

        I’ve met people like this out in the world. They get everyone else to do things for them.

      • ako

        Oh, the fear I can definitely relate to. Having to manage a string of bills, do your own shopping, get and keep a job, it’s all difficult and stressful. I don’t judge anyone for being afraid, or having trouble pulling it off, or for asking help with part of running their lives because they need or want it. It’s deliberately ducking all responsibility for your own life because making decisions is hard that I think is pathetic.

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        I think parents who scare their daughters into thinking they can’t handle adult life are awful.

      • persephone

        Because she’s never actually loved in the world, she assumes it’s scary, and to some extent it is, but fear of the unknown is so much worse than fear of the known.

      • NeaDods

        I think “loved in the world” is probably a typo – but it’s a glorious one!

      • persephone

        You’re right, and you’re right!

      • wombat

        It starts out all scary, it’s a big world and there are lots of responsibilities, lots of things to remember. And you need a bit of a hand getting used to it all, to help you not make too many mistakes. And as you go along, you get used to it, and you learn to deal with life, and you learn where to go for help when you need it. And without really realising it, you’ve got it all under control.

        Staying under daddy’s protection, never leaving and learning responsibility, is not the hard choice they make it out to be. It is, as you say, being scared of freedom and responsibility.

      • gimpi1

        Look at it this way, Kit. You have learned you can get along on your own. That means, should you need to go it alone, because Mr. or Ms. Right never gallops up on that white horse, or Mr. or Ms. Right turn out to be Mr. or Ms. Wrong, or Mr. or Ms. Right passes away before you, you know you can cope, because you have coped.

        Personally, if I were Queen, I would require all young adults to live on their own for at least a year before marrying. Everyone should know how to get and keep a job, find a place to live, manage a budget, plan meals, handle laundry and basic housekeeping, take basic care of a car, use transit, analyze information and make decisions. It’s called being an adult. And child-marriage is a crime.

    • Mira

      It’s immature and childish to just stamp your feet and declare that you don’t want responsibility. I wish I could smack her and tell her to grow the hell up. She’s putting a lot of undue pressure on her dad anyway–especially if mommy dearest isn’t making any money. Her dad has to cough up the extra cash (seemingly forever if the daughter is a spinster) to keep the useless, house-jailed daughter fed, clothed, and everything else.
      Eek, big world scary, gonna go hide under the covers. Oh come ON, seriously? That’s supposed to be a “valuable” mentality to have? I think not. That’s probably why these women can’t fathom being feminist–they’ve never taken responsibility for themselves or their own actions in the slightest.

      • NeaDods

        Heh. The Botkin girls have actually said that it’s immature and childish to stamp your feet and declare that you have autonomy. Being Daddy’s Little Girl is so haaaaard, dontchaknow – say the girls who don’t know what real life is like.

      • teaisbetterthanthis

        Oh, but even IF Daddy has to keep paying for his daughters, he never has to see a dirty dish or sock! I mean, really, who would give up free housekeeping and adoration for something like money?

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    “Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.”

    And yet, once you’re an adult, that’s what you have to do. That’s what being an adult is all about… responsibility. This attitude seems to me to infantalize women, as you said above– to give them the idea that they shouldn’t HAVE to make decisions. But where does that leave them if their parents die, or if they do something wrong and are kicked out? It seems to me that the very worst thing about this subculture is that it treats adults as children, based solely on their gender, and leaves women more or less helpless to cope with life on their own.

    • The_L1985

      They want women helpless, because deep down they realize that we won’t put up with their BS if we have any other option. Notice how so many of those sources Libby Anne quoted say things like “do you really want your daughter to get a taste of working outside the house?” They recognize that individuals who are best suited to a career are NOT going to put up with being stay-at-home parents if they are ever allowed to see that there are other options.

      Even women who want to be SAHMs don’t deserve arranged marriages with no possibility of divorce–what if the man you end up with turns out to be abusive? What if you and he don’t get along well, or aren’t compatible sexually?

      • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

        And how can you know if you want to be a SAHM if you’re never given any other choice? As you say, it’s all about limiting options. This is why a lot of this subculture try to keep their daughters out of college, too. The less you know…

      • Kit

        Even women who want to be SAHMs don’t deserve arranged marriages with no possibility of divorce–what if the man you end up with turns out to be abusive? What if you and he don’t get along well, or aren’t compatible sexually?

        Then you aren’t submitting enough. He’d be much nicer if you didn’t keep rebelling, dontchaknow.

    • smrnda

      Honestly, decisions aren’t always that hard to make, you just need some information and a bit of practice and maybe a bit of friendly advice at times. There are lots of sources you can go to learn how to look for work, budget, pay bills, handle your finances and make consumer choices.

      • Anat

        And its easier if since you’ve been 2 you were constantly practicing choosing which option you prefer of 2-3 available.

  • sylvia_rachel

    I’ll be honest, I have days where I just wish someone would figure out what I should do and tell me. Making all your own decisions is sometimes really hard work, because sometimes you’ll choose the wrong thing and the results will be bad, and even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll wonder whether things might have turned out better if you’d picked B instead of A, or A instead of B.*

    But you know what? If someone actually did take it upon themselves to decide everything for me, I would get really tired of it really fast. To paraphrase the Man in Black, “Life is making decisions, Highness. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.” To live your own life is to make your own decisions.

    Yes, sometimes I feel like I’d like to throw up my hands and go back to being a kid. Let someone else pay the mortgage, decide what to make for dinner, and tell me whether or not I should buy that pair of jeans.** But I know that’s just wishful thinking, and if I actually had to live like that I would hate it.

    One very personal way I know this: DH and I have only one child. She’s an awesome kid, and we love her very, very much, and we are very happy to have her. And there’s nothing wrong with choosing to have only one child, and lots of people do. But the thing is … we didn’t choose to have just one — we wanted three, or at least two, and the only reason we have an only is that biology (mine, specifically: I don’t have ovaries anymore) refused to cooperate and modern medicine has not come through for us a second time. In other words, the choice was taken from us.*** And it SUCKS. The psychology of only being able to have one child, it turns out, is totally different from the psychology of choosing to have only one child … because a choice forced upon you is not the same as a choice you make yourself, even if the outcome might be the same.

    *Right now DH and I we are struggling with two very big life decisions, while at the same time having to make dozens of other decisions every waking hour of every day. Also, we are both worriers who tend to overthink things and second-guess ourselves. So it’s exhausting.

    **Also, if someone out there could tell me where the plot of this book I’m supposed to be writing is going, that would be GREAT. Because right now I have no freaking clue :P

    ***Just as the choice is taken from a woman who isn’t allowed to use birth control, or who does not want to be pregnant but is not allowed to get an abortion.

  • The_L1985

    The line “our deceptive emotions” really creeps me out. That’s right, girls, if you get the uneasy feeling that an authority figure is doing something abusive or otherwise wrong, it’s just your emotions lying to you, not something you should actually investigate or do anything about.

    • persephone

      And this is how women are hurt, by being told not to trust their own reactions. The date that goes bad. The date that ends in rape. The fiancé who seemed great on paper but whose abusiveness came out after the wedding. Caving and having a baby because the family was pushing you. And on and on and on.

    • NeaDods

      It also means that you shouldn’t trust your own judgement skills in any situation because your ladybrainz are at the mercy of your hormones.

      This completely skips over the fact of life that sometimes everyone has times in their live when they must make act despite being VERY VERY upset. People have no option but to continue functioning when a family member becomes very sick, a family member dies, an accident happens, the house is robbed, you are the victim of a crime; you become very sick or badly injured, etc., etc.

      My house was recently broken into. I. Have. No. Choice. but to deal with the cops, keep going to work, clean up the mess, etc. Yes, it’s been emotional and difficult. Yes, I’ve leaned heavily on the aid and support of my family and friends. But none of that absolves me from not just the responsibility but the absolute need to forge forward regardless of my emotions. If I’d been told all my life that my emotions made me incapable instead of how to acknowledge and then work around them, this would have been an overwhelming calamity that shut me down instead of an ugly circumstance that I will survive.

      And wow… I cannot imagine the burden of a patriarchal man whose house was broken into and robbed. There he’s got to deal with the damage and the losses and the aftermath and not show weakness before his family and church AND tell all the women how to cope. I’m finding the first three pretty darn hard. Heaping the last two on someone as well is just crushingly cruel.

      • http://volunteer11.blogspot.com/ VollyfromtheBlog

        Oh…I’m sorry to hear about the break-in and hope you didn’t lose too much. Been there…it’s a horrible experience.

      • NeaDods

        Thank you. I’ve lost some things of tremendous sentimental value, but surprisingly little of financial value.

  • Sarah-Sophia

    I think there’s a failure in the education system for not emphasizing that the past was not like Little House on the Prairie or Leave it to Beaver.

    • Saraquill

      Even life in the Little House on the Prairie books was tough. I’m specifically remembering the locust swarms and that one winter of non stop blizzards.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Totally. I’ve mentioned in comments here at least once before that I am baffled by some people’s ability to read those books and not understand that Laura Ingalls Wilder had a really difficult life.

      • Christine

        It’s not that obvious, especially if you’re reading them only the once, just how bad it was. It becomes much more apparent if you read the last book, which she never finished. Her final editing appears to have done a lot to show the fun they had, rather than how hard life was.

      • sylvia_rachel

        It’s true that I didn’t totally get the difficulty on my first reading, when I was maybe seven or eight. For example, there are a ton of detailed descriptions of food and cooking, and I didn’t understand until I was older how much of that loving detail likely came from the fact that they were hungry a lot of the time. Also, I didn’t learn until later that the big time skip between book 4 and book 5 is because in that not only was everyone really sick, but Laura’s 2 younger brothers — who are never mentioned in the books — both died. I knew that they had to leave the house that Pa built because the grasshoppers had eaten the wheat crop, but didn’t totally grok what a desperate financial situation they were actually in. Definitely I see more of the difficulty now, as an adult reader, than I saw as a child.

        All that said, though, it’s still not all sunshine and roses: for a late-twentieth-century reader, even a child, it was very clear how much less they had in the way of material comforts they had than I did; it was very clear how hard everyone worked; it was very clear how close they came to starving and/or freezing to death in The Long Winter

      • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

        I also wonder how many people only read the first two books? I’ve read all of them and they really are heartbreaking at times the way the family struggled. She was a really strong personality too and her relationship with her husband came across as one of equals at a time when that wasn’t the norm.

      • Niemand

        The Little House books are definitely the “good bits” version of Wilder’s life and even so you see things leak through. Little things like all of them sick from mosquito borne disease and the what 5? 6? year old daughter being the only one capable of crawling across the floor to get them water. Or the intermittent casual genocidal comments about the Indians. Or the fact that they got their clothes from a “Christmas barrel”. And so on. It’s hard for me to see how anyone could read even the first few books and think that Wilder had an idyllic life. She wrote the books as an older woman, looking back with nostalgia and feeling like she’d made good, but it still didn’t look easy.

      • Mira

        And that Laura was very, VERY independent and had a rebellious streak a mile wide. I got into trouble for the first time because I read about her cutting her bangs and did the same thing…albeit not as well as she managed, haha. Laura was a powerful female figure–and she managed to be a teacher and a strong person despite the opposition. I don’t see why this is some sort of “SAHM” guide. Laura wasn’t even CLOSE.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Oh, totally! Laura is in trouble, like, all the time. (And she’s not always very sorry, either ;) )

      • sylvia_rachel

        And I seem to remember that it wasn’t Pa who picked Laura’s husband for her…

      • NeaDods

        Oh, now that explains why the Prairie Muffins call Laura Ingalls Wilder “too feminist”!

      • katiehippie

        I loved the bit when she was working in a dress shop and saw two drunk guys walk down the street and put their foot through every screen door on the street. When she got home, she described it, thinking it was very funny and her mom and sisters were horrified. But her dad had a twinkle in his eye. She got his sense of humor for sure.

      • Leigha7

        Reading them always made me a bit sad, because I couldn’t help but wonder what Laura would’ve done if she hadn’t been limited by her gender and the era. The same goes for any books about strong women pre-feminism. Sure, a lot them became teachers, and some lucked out and married men who let them be people, but so many should’ve been doctors or lawyers or inventors, and they never got that chance.

      • english_teacher

        I think that it’s more likely that these people have never read the books. They’ve only seen the television series. Because reading the books might put ideas into girls’ heads, you know. Ideas like independence or working to support yourself. The book’s Laura is too dangerous.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Oh, I never even thought about the TV show! That’s a good point.

      • The_L1985

        I was very young when I read those books (yes, the entire series) so that aspect of things honestly never penetrated my mind.

      • ako

        I’ve noticed that people who idealize the life they see in the Little House books, or Little Women, or whatever bit of suitably historic reading they’ve latched onto tend to gloss over the details. People literally working until their fingers bleed, people on the verge of starvation because the weather went bad, people dying of scarlet fever or tuberculosis, wars, all sorts of problems that show how life wasn’t all swanning around in pretty dresses holding tea parties and making the occasional crochet doily. But a lot of people don’t pay attention to the details, and just have a hazily attractive mental picture.

      • onamission5

        There is a good deal of romanticizing of that difficult life as salt-of-the-earth stle character building, too, even for those who see it. Idle hands being the devil’s workshop and all that.

      • gimpi1

        I agree, onamission5. I think part of the appeal is the suffering, without any “eevill government assistance” thank you very much.

        Many of the people in this sub-culture want others to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and sink or swim on their own. For themselves, many tend to make use of necessary assistance, such as Paul Ryan, going to college on SS survivor’s benefits that he seems to disapprove for others today.

        I realize I’m generalizing a bit, but I think it’s valid. I’ve known enough conservative Christians taking Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, FEMA Assistance, and such, who will scream up a storm about anyone else needing help being lazy, making poor choices, having “a negative life-style” (whatever that is) and such to think it’s not a fluke. It really seems to be: When I need help, I deserve it, when you need help, you’re not trying hard enough.

        Personally, I think if during “The Long Winter” a FEMA wagon full of provisions had pulled up, the Ingall’s would have welcomed it.

      • Niemand

        I think if during “The Long Winter” a FEMA wagon full of provisions had pulled up, the Ingall’s would have welcomed it.

        And possibly every last one of the children in the Ingalls family wouldn’t have eventually died of diabetes.

      • Niemand

        For that matter, for all the libertarian ideology in the Little House books, the Ingalls and everyone else in the town where the later books take place were essentially living off of a government handout: they were given land for free and there was a lot of implicit aid from people “back east” including often such luxury items as clothes and food. The myth of the independent self-reliant farmer has always been that: a myth.

      • gimpi1

        You’re so right, Niemand. The homestead act: The largest, most generous welfare act ever devised. Land for free, as long as you can live on it. We tend to forget that was how these “independent, self-reliant farmers” got started. Well, remember, it’s not welfare if it benefited you, your family, or people you like.

      • gimpi1

        Yes, the good old days, where people worked themselves to the bone for little money, were blinded and disabled by disease, and died young, sometimes before their first birthday. Oh, the nostalgia.

      • persephone

        I watched an episode recapping the Naked and Afraid series and kept thinking about how others would have romanticized the situation, and how the men and women did or didn’t work well together based on gender assumptions.

      • Nancy Shrew

        How fond are fundies of Little Women? I just can’t imagine them being too fond of Jo or Alcott herself.

      • Leigha7

        Not to mention blindness, dead babies (Caroline had, what, two sons who died?), and that time everyone got malaria.

    • NeaDods

      Considering that this is coming out of homeschooled kids, my assumption is that they truly do not KNOW that the past wasn’t like that. Nor do they know what life is like for anyone outside their bubble of pampered privilege – especially as they have been taught they they exist to be arrows in a war against anyone outside the bubble.

    • smrnda

      It didn’t happen to me – we read a book called ‘The Good Old Days, They were Terrible” in school. I highly recommend it as an antidote to the nostalgic bullshit going around.

  • dj_pomegranate

    “Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.”

    Let’s say it together now: Just because YOU don’t want it, doesn’t mean OTHER PEOPLE don’t want it.

    • dj_pomegranate

      Another thought on this note: I just finished reading The Warmth of Other Suns (which is truly excellent, go read it!) and the author talks about the Great Migration, when Africa-Americans left the Jim Crow South and sought their fortune in the North and West. She follows the life stories of three individuals in particular, who left the South at an early age, often in their very early 20s. One of the points she makes over and over is that they didn’t always make the right decision–they married the wrong person, or went into debt, or whatever, but at the end of their lives, they were happy and satisfied with their lives overall because they got to make their own choices, something that had been systemically and systematically denied them in Jim Crow South. The freedom to make your own decisions for your own life is priceless–people will give up everything for the chance to make their own choices.

      After reading this book full of amazing stories of men and women giving up everything they knew (everything!) in order to just have the chance to make their own decisions, the Botkins’ “Responsibility is scary for ladies!” just sounds so supremely lazy to me. The right to guide your own life is something that people fight–and die–for.

      Aslo, I love making decisions about my own life! Sometimes the decision is really hard. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Sometimes I make the wrong choice. Sometimes it hurts. But the ability and right to make my own decisions, good or bad, IS AWESOME.

      • Leigha7

        You just made me realize, a lot of this is similar to arguments made about African-Americans and slavery–it’s for their own good, they need protection, they aren’t capable of going out on their own. Obviously, they were less prominent than “but who’ll pick my cotton?” and “they aren’t human anyway,” but they were there (and both of those are echoed, less prominently and with more subtlety, with regards to women in this situation).

    • Christine

      I also don’t HAVE to make all my own decisions. I can choose to get help, ask advice, go in with people on projects, etc. Yes, too much choice is bad for you. No one is going to try and claim it isn’t. But that isn’t the right solution.

      • wanderer

        What do you mean by “too much choice is bad for you?”

      • Helix Luco

        it can be kind of paralyzing for one thing, and making decisions takes up a lot of mental energy. this is why it’s so annoying when you’re trying to go out to eat with your friends and they’re all “ah i don’t care” and you make a suggestion and it gets shot down, decision fatigue.

      • Lucreza Borgia
  • Kit

    … because he’s a man he isn’t as easily swayed by passing emotions.

    I’m sorry, but what? Do they live under a rock?

    This particular line just struck me because, well, I’m a lawyer. Right now I’m working a contract as a prosecutor (for Americans, I’m basically a really junior ADA), and I see some really screwed up things every week. Last week I watched a man get sentenced to prison for sexually abusing his daughter, and later that week I saw photos from an impaired driving case that took out two pedestrians and dissected them all over the road. And when I say dissected, I MEAN that – there were body parts and blood sprayed over the road for at least 100 feet. There are grown men who can’t do my job because sometimes the things you see are really upsetting.

    There are women working in fields every day that have the potential to be extremely upsetting: the police forces, the law, the military, social work. But we all get the job done and we mostly do it well. The only way you could make such a statement is to be totally, completely ignorant of the things that many women see and do on a regular basis.

    • Stev84

      Remember this is coming from the same people who think men are an uncontrollable bundle of testosterone who lust after every speck of skin. Yet they think men can think rationally.

      • Jessica Boone

        Well, men would be completely and utterly rational if those wanton harlots wouldn’t dress so wantonly. I mean even in the bible belt women wear shorts during the hot humid summer! The nerve! They just infect men with irrational lust. End sarcasm. Seriously, this is the only form of- lack of better term- logic that makes their beliefs not conflict. Still ridiculous, though.

      • Ruth

        That’s really insightful, Stev84. Men are rational but yet are infected with lust and not accountable for their actions when they lust because SKIN. Women must be covered to avoid subverting men’s vaunted rationality that is so tenuous they can’t manage a bare knee or clavicle? Remember too, Debi’s point about how men are so fragile? So women are to be covered and ruled by fragile, barely in control men? The layers of hypocrisy, self-delusion, and logical inconsistency are breathtaking. Never mind the contortions they go through to find Biblical support for this hateful lifestyle that aren’t even there.

      • alwr

        But isn’t that why we have to keep women out of the workplace and government and all…so the big smart men are able to behave rationally and run the world for us without any undue temptation from bare female knees in room. Or something like that.

      • Mary C

        That is the biggest hypocrisy that I see in this line of thinking. Men aren’t swayed by “ungodly” emotions; yet, even the sight of a little too much skin on a woman might be enough to tempt him into sin, or he might be so crushed by something like his wife shrugging his arm off her shoulder in public that he can’t even talk to his peers anymore… The mental gymnastics people who think this way do just exhausts me.

      • katiehippie

        If I was a man, that would piss me off.

    • J-Rex

      My dad once told us that every time a man does something wrong, it’s deliberate, but every time a woman does something wrong, she was confused or deceived. So if you raise a good son, you can expect him to make good decisions. If you raise a good daughter, she’ll still make lots of bad decisions because her poor woman brain will be influenced too much by everyone around her to know that she’s doing something bad.
      Bible says so, or something.

      • Olive Markus

        My mom is Catholic, and fairly progressive, all things considered.

        She actually believes some version of this nonsense – as did I, consequently, for a good part of my life. It’s all based on emotions, apparently. Women are simply too “emotional” to function properly or stand up to… anything at all, really, while men are always deliberate and rational, even about the horrible things they do.

        : *sad face*

      • Lylith

        Well, that changes everything. That means Eve is not responsible for original sin, Adam is. Eve was confused, Adam was deliberate.

    • persephone

      I’ve been a legal secretary for many years. I know exactly what you’re talking about, especially from my time spent working for a divorce lawyer. It can be horrifying, and it can easily destroy any hope you might have in humanity, so you have to make a point at looking around and recognizing that the majority of people are mostly decent and honorable, and remind yourself to do so regularly.

    • The_L1985

      Not to mention–every ciswoman is automatically required to get up close and personal with her own blood on a regular basis. Can you imagine if men menstruated?

    • sceptinurse

      You left out nursing.

      • Kit

        Oh yes. And both medicine and nursing and a wide range of other fields too.

    • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

      I think they are ignorant of what women do. They literally don’t process things that don’t fit into their worldview. Soujourner Truth tried to talk sense into people who thought women were fragile little bundles of overwroght emotions by describing her own life as a field slave. Some percentage of the population hasn’t progressed since Soyjourner’s time.

  • Anon

    ‘ He’s older, wiser and because he’s a man he isn’t as easily swayed by passing emotions.
    You mean like the passing emotion I’m having right now to find these people and desperately try and give them some self confidence?
    (and potentially punch their father in the face)

  • Mel

    I appreciated the second father’s post. I’ve always wondered what it is like for fathers who have daughters who cannot be married off at age 18. The funniest part, for me, is that he doesn’t have any answers either…..

    • ArachneS

      Unfortunately, his own favorite ideas involve keeping her mindful of her duty to stay at home and never stray from daddy’s ideal of her future of having kids and keeping a house tidy.

      Because heaven forbid she go out and work and decide that she likes to continue working after meeting someone. Or become educated and widen her circle of acquaintances to a more diverse set of people who introduce her to nuance in the world.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

      Well I know when I turned 18 my parents (not just my father) expected me to go to go to college, get a job, eventually get my own place and live an independent life whether that ever involves marriage or not (I’m 31 and still don’t see marriage in my future).

      • Kit

        I also faced this expectation. In fact, my parents would have charged me rent to live at home if I wasn’t in college … thereby necessitating the job.

        Reading this post was like looking down the rabbithole.

    • wanderer

      I did sense in there a little bit of a “hey, what if I’m supporting my adult daughter until I’m 90?” subtext in there. It’s like he didn’t realize that’s what he was signing up for when he got into the patriarchy power-trip.

  • Christine

    Two observations: So you think that women should be “under their father’s authority”, fine*. So you think this means that they need to not go & move out & get a job, etc. Ummmm… ok. But how on earth can you think that any lifestyle which is threatened by your daughters being exposed to the fact that alternatives exist is ok? If ignorance is a necessary prerequisite, you’re wrong. Full stop. (I say this about the “we need to homeschool our kids or they might discover that gays exist” types too).

    Also, How does living at home keep creepy guys from getting your number?

    • stacey

      This model pretty much guarantees you meet creepy guys- what normal guy is going to think this is OK, and theres no way a dad like hers would approve of a normal guy?

      Maybe she is so aware of creeps because that is what their culture creates? Men that think a woman is there to serve them, submit to them, and that she has no authority over herself, and her body? Sounds CREEPY to me (and rapey too).

    • wanderer

      You know what’s awesome? I have a job and my own life (away from my parents) and (drumroll)….I can actually not give creepy guys my number on my own!!! Who knew it didn’t take daddy getting involved?

    • smrnda

      If this is how you live, then your father would qualify as a pretty big creep I think.

  • Mira

    Those ideas honestly make me feel ill. I can’t even begin to fathom the concept of 1. being a “stay at home daughter” 2. completely ignoring any responsibility you might have as an adult and putting all of that on your dad and 3. letting your parents “choose” your future husband. I mean, what? Anytime any courtships crap came up in our various churches growing up my dad was careful to point out that I’d be the one living with the guy for the rest of my life, not him, so he and mom were never the totalitarian dictators presented here. YUCK.

    • Guest

      so true.this really is a sub sub culture even in the conservative church.Its what we see as normal in tribele

    • Norm Donnan

      So true,this is a sub-sub culture even in conservative churchs.Its what we imagine life to be like in triable Pakistan not in America.

      • gimpi1

        What worries me about the sub-culture is it seems to metastasize. The whole idea of female submission was new to the Southern Baptists in the late 1970s – early 1980s. Remember, there used to be female Southern Baptist ministers. Southern Baptists also accepted birth-control, and were relaxed-to-ambivalent about abortion. Then, the conservative take-over happened, and as people keep trying to out-holy each other, they got more and more extreme. So in thirty years, we’ve gone from a denomination that ordained women to one that debates, seriously, weather or not should even speak aloud in a church building, or if they have to whisper or write down their prayer-request, and have it stated out-loud by a man. And that kind of thing is going on in many conservative denominations. It spreads, and I quite frankly don’t know the cure.

      • http://aztecqueen2000.blogspot.com/ AztecQueen2000

        Write? You mean women are allowed to be literate? Oh you horrible liberals! (sarcasm)

  • lollardheretic

    Okay, possibly a weird idea but stay with me on this one: has anyone done any research between the fundamentalist idea of submission and the BDSM community? The whole “choices aren’t good they’re pressure and that’s scary!” thing sounds like the rational for wanting to be (or at least spend time being) a sub. While the bdsm relationship is based in consent, the structures sound similar. Anyway,it’s just a thought. Like I said, anyone know of anybody who has made that connection or done research? I bed the Pearls and Bodkins and whoever else would freak out if presented with that idea, but it sounds so similar to me.

    • lollardheretic

      I should make clear: I’m not criticizing the BDSM culture: it is based on informed consenting ADULTS.

      • jemand2

        coming as a woman in a much less extreme but still fundamentalist culture with gendered roles, I’ve found exploring the *dom* side much scarier, even if it is “make arbitrary choice / rule for another human being out of a preselected set of enjoyable options and only for a temporary time frame.” Playing the sub role is easier for me, but honestly both (and especially switching between) have been safe ways for me to explore personal power and some identity issues.

        Dunno if that’s what you were getting at exactly or not.

      • The_L1985

        I’m terrified to ever dom, because my mind associates it with extreme levels of sadism. I’m afraid if I were to ever dom, my partners would be severely injured or killed.

      • Ruth

        Jezebel and/or Wonkette recently blogged about the BDSM and punishment sexual culture in evangelical circles. It relates stories of wives being physically punished by their husbands for doing things like not getting the laundry done or spending too much on the internet and points out the huge consent problems and unequal power inherent in these relationships. (and as you say, not criticizing the adult consensual BDSM culture which the articles are careful to distinguish). I’ve also read a least one report (and it might have been on this blog) of a woman spiritual abuse survivor stating that for a long time, the only consensual sex she was able to enjoy was if she and her partner pretended he was raping her. When so much guilt is piled on natural sexual feelings prior to marriage in this culture, it’s very easy to see how difficult it would be to normalize the experience later — whatever normal is for a particular couple.

      • NeaDods

        Some of Debi Pearl’s writing about being “conquered” in the bedroom comes off very rape-fantasy/sub.

  • stacey

    You know, I totally understand the desire to have someone else, especially someone that loves me, pay all the bills and simplify my life. The world is difficult and can be confusing. The modern structure of a nuclear family also makes it harder than it should be, because there is no support from extended family, tribe, or from multiple wives/husbands, etc.

    Still, I just do not see how they think that submitting to a father perennially is the answer. Rolling the clock back to a time period that never existed is a horrible idea.

  • Gillianren

    Okay, so according to one of these, we should have been my grandfather’s responsibility after Dad died. Great! Except Grandpa died when I was a senior in high school. Whose responsibility were we then? My adulterous drunken uncle who has since moved to another continent? My other uncle, who lived hundreds of miles away? My aunt’s fourth husband? I don’t have any brothers, so that wasn’t an option. They really do make certain assumptions, don’t they?

    • jemand2

      look at you, thinking you should finish high school before getting married lol.

    • XakirTatsu

      It has been said by other commenters on other posts, they don’t see people outside of their narrow bubble as existing.

      I think their collective heads would explode if they heard about a child with lesbian mothers and two sets of lesbian grandparents. (I do not know if this has happened yet, but is not improbable)

  • XakirTatsu

    I have not read through the comments yet, but did anyone else take the Botkin’s 3rd bullet (leadership)to mean: “Thinking for myself and making my own discitions is hard. I don’t want to be bothered, oh I know daddy can think for me!” :(

    Now I don’t blame her, I blame her father and the bloody ideology she was raised with.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    “Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.”

    I’m PRETTY sure Peter Pan wasn’t meant to be a role model. We all have to grow up at some point, and with that comes responsibilities and decisions. Being so enmeshed with one’s parents that you can’t consider making your own decisions without being terrified isn’t particularly healthy.

    And it’s not totally their (the daughters’) fault. They wouldn’t hold on to staying home until they’re married (if they ever get married) so hard if they’d had a taste of life outside of Daddy’s throne room, or Mamma’s kitchen, and knew that the big decisions are awesome. Kind of scary, yeah, but awesome.

    • LizBert

      That struck me as particularly telling. Being an adult isn’t always fun and sometimes making big decisions is really hard and occasionally you get it wrong, but that’s just part of life. It seems like fundamentalists live in a fantasy world where if you manage to do everything juuuuust right, you will never face any painful or difficult situation.

      • NeaDods

        God will provide!

    • wanderer

      To me it sounded like they were trying to convince themselves that they were happy with not being allowed to grow up. To be honest, when I was a teenager all I wanted was more freedom, to step into “grown-up” land more fully. The Botkins sisters are past their teenage years but I would find it hard to believe that they haven’t at some point had that urge. I think it’s possible that they struggle every day (maybe deep down) with the fact that they’re not allowed to use their own wills and brains, so they’re trying to convince the world they’re happy.

    • NeaDods

      It’s black and white again too. Either Daddy makes “ALL” the decisions or the feminists make the women “make ALL of our own decisions.” There’s no room for, say, asking for your father’s advice without the mandate to agree with what he has to say.

  • Hat Stealer

    These people can’t have it both ways. You can’t on one hand say that “men aren’t easily swayed by passing emotions,” then turn around and go “oh, better cover up your women-folk, cause, well, we wouldn’t want any uncontrollable flesh-lusting irresponsible MEN around to see a breast and start raping everyone!”

    I wish we could just grow out of the whole “wife as chattel” thing.

  • TLC

    For me, there are two key passages here.

    1) “I am comfortable allowing him to make unsupervised decisions regarding friends, place of worship, and leisure activities. I would not be as comfortable with a daughter of the same age. God’s word indicates to me . . . that it is my responsibility to function as her authority until I turn that right, or burden, over to another. ”

    I think he should have said, “It is my responsibility to function as her BRAIN. Because as a female, we have not allowed her to develop her skills in thinking, reasoning, analysis or judgment. Therefore, she remains a hopeless, helpless little girl, which is perfect for us men in her life — she’ll be so much easier to control, manipulate and dominate throughout her life.”

    2) The fact that he quoted the passage from Exodus 21, which discusses SLAVERY, not marriage, just about says it all. She’s not a daughter or wife, she’s a slave to be owned by a male for the rest of her life.

    • NeaDods

      Yeah, and isn’t it such a loving father to describe his stunted daughter as a burden?

    • gimpi1

      I noticed that too. TLC. Does he not understand that passage describes selling his daughter into slavery. How messed-up is it that he’s looking THERE for moral advice. Here’s a thought, how about we look at some belief-systems that DON’T condone slavery for our moral concepts. Ya think?

  • Norm Donnan

    Men know what men are like,and we certainly are sexual predators and thats why when we become fathers we should become very protective of our daughters for we know what goes on on a mans mind.

    • LizBert

      You think you’re a sexual predator? You would take advantage of other human beings and use them for your own pleasure? That is disgusting. You may be sick, but I can assure you that not all men harbor the desire to hurt other people.

      • Norm Donnan

        Who said anything about wanting to hurt anyone or take advantage of them for any reason,that would be disgusting.When men are out “on the prowl” at bars and clubs there is no shortage of available females.This in no way makes men evil and women sluts, its just what we do.And that is why I will be discouraging my sons and daughters to stay away from places where they are vunerable.

      • ako

        If you’re not talking about hurting or taking advantage of women, why are you talking about predators and vulnerability? If a man is doing something sexual with a woman who willingly participates, and he’s not seeking to hurt or take advantage of her, in what sense is she vulnerable or being preyed on?

      • Norm Donnan

        They are both vulnerable and both predators and if it is what they both want,fine,but they are both open to to abuse and disappointment.

      • ako

        I’m still confused. Where does the predation come in? Where’s the abuse? Are you saying having consensual sex is inherently predatory or abusive, or it increases the risk of being preyed on and abused?

      • Norm Donnan

        Predators are only out for a feed,they both are,the damage is most likely to be social or psychological.

      • Conuly

        Elucidate, please.

      • Conuly

        And disappointment is a problem because…?

        I mean, hell, participating in this conversation is opening us all up for disappointment because you might not be a predator in the sexual sense, but you sure have no qualms about committing wanton cruelty to the common comma.

      • Norm Donnan

        because its disappointing and dam the comma,it gets what it deserves.

      • Conuly

        Circular reasoning. Disappointment is part of learning and growing.

      • LizBert

        I’m going to second what ako said. If men go to bars “on the prowl” where they meet available females, it sounds like they are engaging in a mutually agreed upon encounter. Both the men and the women went to the bar looking for a hook-up, why is that automatically bad?

    • Helix Luco

      no. not every man is a sexual predator. in fact, most men aren’t. There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.

    • Mogg

      Here’s a thought – why not teach your sons that predatory behaviour is wrong, and women are people deserving of respect?

      • wanderer

        And teach your daughter how to have some discernment so she doesn’t need you to run interference for her every second of her life.

      • Norm Donnan

        Your so right,but isnt that what the much maligned and feared “purity culture” does so well ?

      • smrnda

        No, purity culture is run by male control freaks who seek to control women and who want to pathologise normal human sexuality. Purity culture sets up unattainable ideals rather than teaching people how to deal with being sexual beings in a responsible fashion.

      • Norm Donnan

        And then why are most of the books and speakers Ive seen on the subject women? As for the “unattainable Ideals”,they were normal behavior until the 60s sexual revolution.

      • smrnda

        You mean in a subculture that emphasizes male authority, women speakers aren’t vetted by proper male authorities ahead of time?

      • gimpi1

        No, they weren’t. History isn’t a Victorian fantasy. Most women have never been virgins at marriage. In some cultures, a couple wasn’t considered really ready to marry until they had a child, thus proving they could.

        People dated before the 1960s. People held hands, made out and kissed before becoming engaged or married. The obsessive “modesty” in current purity culture would have had everyone laughing their heads off in the 1920s.

        Women have always held jobs, lived “away from their father’s protection” and married more than once. My grandmother was pregnant at the altar, got a nursing degree during her first marriage, worked throughout all of her marriages, and had 4 husbands altogether. She outlived them all.

      • NeaDods

        Cite your sources for that incorrect view of historical sexuality.

      • Niemand

        As for the “unattainable Ideals”,they were normal behavior until the 60s sexual revolution.

        Um…not exactly. In fact, entirely not. 20% of 16th/17th century English women were pregnant on marriage, for example. And 40% of 18th century colonial/American women.

        The past you’re longing for never existed.

      • gimpi1

        Purity culture also “shelters” women out of learning how to trust their feelings, understand their strengths and value themselves as more than a “unlicked candy-bar.” Purity culture tells girls they’re worthless if they ever have a fantasy, a crush or a date. It tells the victims of sexual predation that they are “damaged goods,” possibly redeemable, but never as good as someone untouched.

        It treats men as rampaging beasts who can never be trusted. It makes boys afraid of their own feelings, scared that the “sin of lust” will contaminate them. It makes them angry at women and the world, because of all the “temptation” put in their path. It can make them so afraid of sexual arousal that they have a hard time even talking to girls or women. (All right, that happens outside of the sub-culture, too)

        In short, purity culture is not maligned. It’s recognized for the pathology it is.

      • Anat

        If purity culture taught respect of women it wouldn’t have the ‘modesty’ treadmill where no matter what women wear someone will find them not modest enough and a cause for ‘stumbling’. A culture that teaches respect of women would be a culture where women are as free as men in choices of clothing and social behavior and can expect to be as safe.

      • Olive Markus

        No. No, it does not. It teaches that women are objects to be owned, possessions to be protected by some men from other men. They are only worth what their “protectors” think they are worth, and the entirety of that worth is located in their hymen. Of course, men are encouraged to treat their ladythings with respect (whatever that means to a particular Christian in a particular moment), but it is really up to them. And don’t forget that purity culture also teaches that women are responsible for how a man reacts to her; meaning: if a man sexually assaults a woman, she was obviously asking for it. That is the opposite of the right thing to teach.

        Rape Culture 101

        Purity Culture is Rape Culture: A Case Study

        Modesty, Body Policing and Rape Culture

        How the Modesty Doctrine Fuels Rape Culture

        The Patriarchal Utility of the Threat of Rape

      • Mogg

        No. At best, it teaches them (i.e. males) that women are lesser beings, and that they themselves are incapable of controlling themselves. At worst, it teaches them to both fear and despise women for things which are actually under their own control – their own sexual behaviour and feelings. It also shames people of all genders and inclinations into avoiding learning about themselves and others and practising the behaviours that will make them good at relationships, or puts them in a situation where that practice and exploration is undertaken in a potentially much more dangerous manner.

        In other words, it teaches both men and women that they are not capable of adult behaviour, and that learning adult behaviour is evil.

    • Trollface McGee

      Well, if men are sexual predators, then they should be locked up/neutered for their own protection. We don’t let aggressive dogs who bite people run around the streets unattended, surely we can’t allow a bunch of sexual predators near our loved ones.
      Or maybe we just realise that having sexual thoughts doesn’t make one a sexual predator and that the best way to prevent sexual assault is to teach young men and women that they are all individuals worthy of respect.

      • ako

        I’ve noticed that people saying all men are dangerous predators are almost never taking the theory to its logical conclusion. Predators are driven away from populated areas, caged, neutered, or killed. We don’t sit around letting wild bears maul people in the middle of cities and go “Well, that’s what you get for carrying groceries in public!”

        It’s rare to even encourage restrictions on men. I think I’ve seen one example that I can remember where it was “Men need to avoid lust, so they shall wear special blurry glasses”, when the rest of the time, it’s women who have to cover up, remain indoors, get escorts, and generally hide from life.

    • onamission5

      I swear, nobody has a worse opinion of men than religious conservatives. People like to strawfeminist this and that about how we hate men but here we’re got a real live religious conservative telling us that men are all predators *so women must be monitored and sequestered for our own safety.*

      Hon? You’re got your priorities ass backwards. If the men you know are sexual predators, please do us all a favor and turn them into the police so they will be off the street and rest of us can get on with the business of our lives. If you fall into that group you can turn yourself in, too.
      Humanity thanks you.

      • Norm Donnan

        Actually #5 I dont have a bad opinion of men at all,on the whole we are awesome.What I mean by “predator”is simply very very keen on sex,(especially the 12-60 age group)This is totally natural and good as long as its controlled.The female equivalent might be that all girls are flirtatious or seeking attention.This is also fine and normal and doesnt make them a whore that we should report to the police either. Like you calling me “Hon”. Short for honey .Im sure you only meant it as an affectionate term but if you said that to a man in Saudi Arabia their priorities will be to shift your ass straight to the police,lol.

      • smrnda

        Dude, you realize that making sweeping generalizations tends to be a bad idea since lots of people *don’t fit them.* You are really exaggerating the level to which men are interested in sex.

        All ‘girls’ are flirtatious and seeking attention? I’d like a lot less attention, and so would most *women I know.* (Q – how old can you be and still be called a girl?) The idea that all girls are flirtatious and seeking attention seems like something that a total creep would believe in order to justify his desire to harass and bother women.

      • Norm Donnan

        Dudess,I get men,are those men that you want less attention from that bad or are you exaggerating how much attention your getting???

      • smrnda

        You might want to read up on the topic of public sexual harassment or street harassment. Decent men do not shout sexual remarks from passing vehicles. A decent man can look at a woman without leering at her. A decent man can find a woman attractive but still realize that it’s inappropriate to say ‘damn, you have a nice ass.’ The difference between decent men and men who are creeps is not whether they feel attraction or notice a woman, but their behavior. There is a kind of attention that would be totally out of line in any situation.

        I’m a lesbian, so I’m not sexually or romantically interested in men, but I don’t find every guy who approaches me to be bothersome since I can’t expect that to be known in advance. Most of the time I’m approached in a way that does not bother me at all. However, some men seem intent on being real genuine asses, and they frequently justify this by arguing that all women are just dying for male attention and validation.

        Perhaps the main difference is most reasonable men can understand that any given woman might not really be wanting attention, romantic or sexual, and they can live with that and respect boundaries.

      • Alice

        That is ridiculous. Look up “prey” in the freaking dictionary. All the definitions have to do with violence and destruction, not consensual activity. I hope you wouldn’t accuse a house-guest of breaking and entering.

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        It does seem like your word choice is questionable. If you mean “interested in sex” you should say those words. The terms ‘predator’ ‘prey’ and ‘prowl’ all have a very violent, non-consensual vibe. I would not use the same word to describe human sexual relationships as I might use to describe a cheetah mauling an antelope to death.

      • Alice

        Also, contrary to popular patriarchal belief, consensual sex does not destroy a woman’s “value,” her well-being, or her life, and men are not the only ones who actually enjoy sex. Those beliefs often underlie a dramatically inappropriate use of “predator.”

      • Leigha7

        You know who else is “very keen on sex”? 16-20 year old girls

        If you don’t believe me, try asking some women how often they and their female friends talked about sex in high school. (Hint: the answer is a LOT.) They want it, they talk about it, and they have it (not all of them, of course, but then, not all women are the same, contrary to what you apparently believe).

        Also, “hon” is usually patronizing, not affectionate.

    • smrnda

      Speak for yourself dude. There are lots of men who are not sexual predators.

    • ako

      If you were really serious about considering yourself a sexual predator, you’d be morally obliged to have yourself locked up. I’m serious. If you were in danger of losing control involuntarily harming a woman because her skirt was too short or her top was too low-cut, you would owe it to society to go down to the nearest mental hospital and go “Help me, I think I’m going to hurt someone.”

      For that reason, I think you’re not serious, and you know you’re perfectly capable of making moral choices. Which leads me to wonder why you’d want to spread the “dangerous predator” myth. What’s in it for you?

      • Norm Donnan

        Ha,no Im a protector.Now I have to deal with predators of a different kind,the cougar and yes I am capable of right choices.And spreading the predator myth…..isnt that the term best used to describe these patriarchal,control freak,home schooling dads…its used quite often in these comments.

      • NeaDods

        You are a predator by your own definition – you said “all men.” Either you are not a man or you are also a predator; that’s what you yourself said.

      • ako

        I’m glad that you’re not a predator, but unsure why you said “Men know what men are like,and we certainly are sexual predators” if you weren’t including yourself in “we” and “men”.

    • gimpi1

      I assure you, many men aren’t sexual predators. Some of them actually like women as people before becoming interested in them sexually. And some of them really aren’t much interested in sex with empty-headed barbie-dolls. I know, I dated several and married the best of them. In short, Norm, all men aren’t necessarily like you, any more than all women are necessarily like the Bodkin girls.

    • Rosa

      if men know men are predators because they are all alike, a father is the LAST person who should be in charge of a daughter’s safety. Because he’s a predator.

    • David S Wiener

      Perhaps the caring and protection of women should be reserved for gay men only? I will now stand back as heads explode. Mind the mess.

      • Norm Donnan

        Interesting concept Dave.The problem i see is while gay men might like feminine things and emotions,they are unlikely to be naturally protective,good to shop with and cook with but thats it.The exploding heads will come from the lesbian woman who will resent your insinuation that they need a man at all,lol.

      • Sophie

        I think the exploding heads would come from the majority of the human race, who know that women don’t need protected by anyone. As for gay men not being protective, tell that to all the gay dads who are protective of their children the same as any other parent. I suppose they wouldn’t meet your standards of protection, since I doubt any of them believe their adult daughters are incapable of making any desicions about their lives.

        Your low opinion of men is despicable, by the way. All the men I know are kind, generous, loving, compassionate, respectful and a thousand other things but not one of them is ‘a sexual predator’. So perhaps you should stop projecting what is in your mind onto any other member of the human race.

      • smrnda

        “Protection?”

        I think you’re overstating the level to which your average man is going to be capable of offering meaningful protection to anyone, himself, a woman, his kids. We outsource protection to people who are specialists – police, military, fire departments, EMTs – is an average man a better protector than say, a woman in the military?

        We also have to think about what sort of dangers exist that women need protection from. I’m disabled, and the best protection I’ve ever had is ADA, FMLA and government disability. So when a guy tells me he wants to protect me, I ask him whether or not he supports a welfare state.

      • David S Wiener

        I see everyone has their irony meter set to zero. My comment was made to juxtapose the fundamentalist hatred of gays with the fact that a gay man would be the ultimate non-threatening male companion. This would create a cognitive dissonance that would result in the exploding heads.

        Just to be clear: I am a humanist, atheist, feminist and the father of a fiercely independent daughter. I consider the kind of misogyny related in this blog post to be abhorrent and salute the author for breaking free and thinking for herself.

      • Composer 99

        Keep in mind that ‘everyone’ seems to be Norm, who appears to have some rather bizarre notions of human sexuality.

      • David S Wiener

        You are correct. Everyone was an overstatement.

      • Carol Lynn

        David – I ‘got’ your comment as humor/sarcasm.

    • Nancy Shrew

      Words mean things.

  • Katherine A.

    “Further, just who is it that women need protecting from? Other men, of course. This also divides men into protectors and predators, and positions women as objects to be possessed and fought over.”

    This sounds like a male version Madonna-Whore complex. The “bad” men are driven by lust to the point that they aren’t real people-just like the whore. The “good” men can control themselves and are better people like the Madonna. They really do think in black-and-white extremes.

    • persephone

      The difference is that among the fundagelicals women have to accommodate men, while men can abandon women.

  • Melody Jones

    Between creepy guys wanting your number, the subtle lies of our culture and our own deceptive emotions it’s a dangerous world out there girls!

    . . . . . . .

    oh my god.

    did she ACTUALLY just go there?!!?

    sweetie. o.o what about the SERIOUSLY CREEPY GUY who believes has a “god given” RIGHT to CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE LIFE??? and has convinced you that this is real??! how is this less worrying than a guy asking for your number??

    what about the BLATANT. LIES. that you are less capable, less canny, less intelligent, less competent, less than in every way compared to a “godly man”?????

    WHAT ARE YOU SAYING PLEASE STOP SAYING THESE THINGS DARLING LADY PLEASE.

  • j.lup

    I think this post should have begun with a recommendation to grab an air sickness bag. Heaven forbid that a woman should be out from under a man’s thumb and find “money, independence, status, competition with men, acceptance and respect from the world.” (Women must learn to be joyfully impoverished, dependent, subjugated, inferior to men, rejected and denigrated in her rightful place: the home.) If women need protection from the predation of men, it’s the predatory behaviour that’s the problem. In a logical world where men can’t control themselves and predatory behaviour is treated like a natural phenomenon that can’t be avoided, it would be men who shouldn’t be let out alone without a female chaperone to make sure they don’t ‘get into trouble’ and guide them, and they would need that guidance because they’d be wearing protective blindfolds instead of women having to wearing burqas.

    Absolutely the world can be a scary and daunting place for a young woman who’s been sheltered from it. And the domestic sphere can be a scary place for a young man who’s never been allowed to learn how to cook and clean and sew and take care of children. But it’s mostly ignorance and inexperience that breeds irrational fear. It’s downright abusive that so many people systematically cultivate fear in their children in order to control them.

  • BobaFuct

    “Feminist try to tell us that it’s “freedom” to make ALL of our own decisions. I don’t call that freedom I call that PRESSURE. To me that’s a big responsibility I just don’t want.

    As an adult…”

    Nope, stop right there. You may be over 18, but this statement proves you’re still a child.


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