Christian Charm Course: How Feminine Are You?

Last week I promised you to dig up a Christian Charm Course book and share some of what it teaches. My mother taught my sister and I from the book when we were probably 12 or 13, and it is an excellent example of both purity culture and evangelicalism’s frequent insistence that women should strive to be traditionally “feminine.” I’ve heard of this book being used both in homeschool settings and in Christian schools, to give an example of its influence.

Anyway, I recently found that another blogger had posted a few pages, and I thought I’d share while I wait for my own fresh copy to arrive. In this post, as a sort of introduction, I want to present the “How Feminine am I?” quiz.

How do you score? And what are your thoughts on the two images presented as examples of how young women should or shouldn’t dress and carry themselves?

Addendum:

Reader Alix went through the quiz and made a list of what each question is really about, at its core. Here is the list, which I thought was quite good:

1. Beauty standard, coupled with some of the idea of self-discipline and self-abnegation

2. Anti-sloth; women are supposed to be effortlessly industrious in appropriate arenas.

3. Beauty and cleanliness standards.

4. Beauty and modesty standards.

5. Modesty standards.

6. Modesty standards.

7. Modesty standards.

8. Beauty standard, also one that promotes looking “natural, as God made you”

9. Beauty and cleanliness standards.

10. The only acceptable emotion in fundie circles is happiness.

11. Some beauty/cleanliness standards, more anti-drug. A lot of fundies are against any kind of drug.

12. Beauty/cleanliness and anti-drug.

13. Anti-drug.

14. Temperance.

15. Fundies are supposed to have “pure” speech that on ly builds up and is gracious.

16. Fundies believe very strongly that you become what media you consume.

17. Back to beauty standards. Some modesty standards here, too; many people consider anything other than a dainty mince immodest.

18. Same as 17.

19. Same as above.

20. Beauty standards, self-discipline.

21. Beauty standards, really.

22. Classism, frankly.

23. See 15.

24. One of the Ten Commandments – the one about not taking the Lord’s name in vain – is usually interpreted to prevent all swearing.

25. Women especially are never to argue.

26. Self-control is a major virtue in fundie circles, and they are also very much against any displays of anger.

27. Women especially are not to run roughshod over people, but must think of others. Probably also a heaping helpful of “women should never lead.”

28. Emotional continence – the way I learned it, part of modesty. Big emotional displays are out.

29. Fundies are expected to be both genuine (to do otherwise is lying) and natural (as God made you); also some anti-worldliness.

30. One must always forgive and forget – judge not, we are all sinners, love is always forgiving.

31. Emotional continence, again, and this probably has added connotations of any big display of individuality.

32. Moral standards – one should always be upright and correct and righteous in action – coupled with a bit of chastity standards.

33. Moral/chastity standards.

34. Again, the only acceptable state of mind is happiness/joy. Also, one must always trust in the Lord, who has a plan for you and never gives you hardships you cannot handle.

35. Vanity’s a big sin in fundie circles; modesty standards.

36. Abstinence and sexual purity standards.

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.


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