[Note: This piece is being crossposted at No Longer Quivering as a way to introduce NLQ readers to guest writer, Libby Anne's new blog: Love, Joy, Feminism. Read Libby Anne's "The Beautiful Girlhood Doll" series here.]
When it comes to the multitude of problems with Christian Patriarchy, it is the position of the daughters that I am most passionate about. The patriarch has it pretty good – he’s the one who gets to call the shots. The sons usually don’t have it so bad either – they’re patriarchs in training. The mothers may spend their lives having baby after baby and they may believe that they’re to submit to the patriarch in everything, but they generally chose this life at some point, and knew what life was like before on the outside. Then there is the daughter. Unlike her mother, the daughter of Patriarchy has no choice.
She is told that all she is ever to be is a wife and mother. She may someday run a home business, selling herbs or dresses she’s made, but she may never work outside the home or – god forbid! – have a career.
She is told that an education is a dangerous thing. Education in the Bible and in homemaking skills are a good thing, but worldly knowledge is dangerous. The daughter of patriarchy learns early that she must guard her mind from evil thoughts and any question or doubt.
She learns early the importance of submission. She must submit to her parents, and, even when she is grown, to her father. She is taught that women must always be under male authority, and that an independent woman is a dangerous thing.
She spends her days helping her mother, cooking and cleaning and changing diapers. This is her destiny, and it is what she is put on earth for. She has little time with friends, as her mother is busy with baby after baby and she must be counted on to keep the house running.
She learns that the world outside of her patriarchal bubble is an evil and dangerous place. Feminists are selfish and ungodly, girls who wear tank tops and short skirts are sluts and whores, and the world is descending into chaos and damnation.
In sum, she is taught to believe what her father does, do as her father says, and stay in line. Any sign of independent thought is immediately squelched. She is taught a skewed view of the world, brainwashed into believing that those who might be her greatest allies are her enemies, and that to be different is to be evil. She knows nothing of the outside world save fear. Her education is often deficient, and even if she is educated well, she is taught to shoot low and her potential to dream big dreams is stifled, thus sabotaging her potential to even consider a worthwhile or fulfilling career. Thoughts normal girls have never enter her mind.
The daughter of Patriarchy has no choice. She also has no options. What if she wants a different life? What knowledge does she have of the outside world? None. What understanding does she have of how to find help? None. What skills does she have? None, unless you count changing diapers by the dozen and cooking for fourteen. She knows no one outside of her immediate circle of like-minded family and friends. She is stuck. And that is why it’s all about the daughters.
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Libby Anne lives with her husband and toddler somewhere in the U.S. She has left patriarchy for feminism and has found freedom. She is a graduate student with big plans for her life. You can read her blog at Love, Joy, Feminism.