An Examination of Emotional Manipulation

My husband brings in the mail. "There's a letter for you," he informs me. "Who is it from?" I ask. "It's from your parents," he says, and puts it on the table in front of me. I look at my mother's handwriting, and my heart rate starts to rise. I feel my stomach twist, and I want to do anything but open that letter.My cell phone rings and I look down at it. It's my mother calling. I feel my pulse rising and I mentally ask myself if there's anything she could have heard from a friend or … [Read more...]

Who are you trying to follow?

I was taught by my parents that my goal in life should be to follow God. Except that I now realize that in practice what my parents really meant was that I should follow them.My parents were convinced that they had it all right. They had a direct line to God, and they had gotten the message from him loud and clear. God said not to date. God said not to use words like "dang" or "heck." God said women's place is in the home. God said women must always be under male authority. God said we had … [Read more...]

“We don’t ‘do’ teenagers”

As I approached puberty, my parents told me that "we're not going to do that whole teenager thing." They said that this whole idea of teenage angst and rebellion is a modern social construct, and that the word "teenager" was less than a hundred years old. Children, they asserted, were supposed to move straight from childhood to adulthood, no questions asked, no angst or rebellion permitted, no being teenagers allowed.This is actually fairly common in the world of Christian Patriarchy. … [Read more...]

An Ideological Straight-Jacket

I just realized that in my last post I made the my home and those of other daughters who leave sound like a sort of prison complete with wardens. I will explore that idea here, and argue that the children of Christian Patriarchy essentially grow up in ideological straight-jackets.The parents of Christian Patriarchy have one goal in mind: to raise children who believe and act as they do. The reason, of course, is that they see their beliefs and lifestyle as the only one that is truly … [Read more...]

My Life, as told by Disney

My all time favorite Disney movie is Tangled. When I first watched it, I cried and cried. I couldn't understand how anyone could produce a movie like this without knowing about the stay at home daughter movement, because in my eyes, that's what this movie was about. Rapunzel has grown up in a tower, secluded from the world. She has now about to turn 18. The movie begins with Rapunzel's routine housework, which sounds exactly like the life of a stay at home daughter, minus the caring for … [Read more...]

The Beautiful Girlhood Doll, part 10: I’m a Person, Not a Doll!

Pretty young woman with arms raised

It has now been some years since I left my parents’ house and shifted for myself. I think my parents were somewhat surprised that I was able to make it on my own and that I did not come home asking for help, or maybe it was just me who was surprised. I found inner sources of strength I had not known I had. At the same time, my college friends, both the original evangelical ones and new ones I had met, were a wonderful source of support, and always accepted me regardless of what I did or didn’t be … [Read more...]

The Beautiful Girlhood Doll, part 9: The Broken Doll

broken doll

Soon after this rethinking of my parents’ beliefs, I returned home from college for a semester break more worried than I have ever been in my life. What were my parents going to think about my new beliefs on things like evolution, the Bible, the pro-life movement, and female equality? For a few weeks I said nothing, afraid of what would happen when I did. But the longer I listened to my parents praising me for my steadfast beliefs and condemning evolution and liberal college professors the more I … [Read more...]


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