Defrauding: The NLQ Buzzword Project

by Calulu

I have to admit. I too, just like Sierra, have a problem with Michelle Duggar and her recent comments on the beach and clothing that doesn’t fall into the realm of her idea of modesty.

These are the only Duggar-approved swimwear available. You might as well be wearing a burkini, at least the burkini is more attractive and modest than these things.

Doesn’t everyone want to look like a school cafeteria lady at the beach?

Here’s my rant about it. I never made it to the intellectual depths that Sierra did on the long term repercussions for the Duggar children. It struck me as more of the ‘Sex on the brain’ syndrome that certain strains of fundamentalism seems to dwell on.

After reading this about the Duggars yesterday I’d just about reached a boiling point. The whole modesty issue is so twisted by the right wing and the fundamentalists in this nation. The Duggars seem to sum up the more conservative views on dress and appropriateness. Which goes beyond ridiculousness, or at least it seems that way to me on a day when the temps here are going to go triple digit.

Now, I’m not advocating running to the Super K Mart in booty shorts and pasties over your ta-tas, even if it’s tempting on a day like today. Use some discretion when you dress and dress for the occasion, your body and the weather. Nothing about Fundie Dress 101 takes any of those factors into consideration. It’s all about not tempting some poor weak-minded male into not having a boner after viewing your knees and being reminded you have breasts. Potato sacks of varying degrees lest you reveal the shape of your God-given body.

None of these modesty types seem to realize that to normal atheist worldly men the sight of a slipped bra strap or a knee is NOT going to be sexually exciting at all. Again, with the fundamentalists, it’s all about sex. For people that seem to think sex is only right between a husband and wife for the purposes of conception they spent way more time thinking about sex than even the average pervert or porn addict. Sex. Sex. Sex!!!

I notice that Michelle Duggar has a new fundy buzzword to use when discussing going to the beach and modest clothing – Defraud. The way she uses it is if you get someone else sexually excited via your lack of clothing and you’re obviously not going to do the nasty with them in a righteous way then you have defrauded them. Personally I think she’s seriously misusing the word, but then again much of the word secret handshake fundamentalist usage is misuse. So what does Webster’s give as a definition of ‘Defraud’?

to deprive of something by deception or fraud

It is a stretch to say that luring a guy into lust by your clothing is defrauding him.

Another thing that just pisses me off about patriarchy is that there is no responsibility for the male. All the onus for lust is put on something done by a female as if males are little weaklings that cannot control their own urges and lusts or minds. It reduces men to little more than rutting animals, to lesser beings and is one of the most insulting towards their sex misconceptions held by the conservative arm of the church.

Knees are not breasts and men can control how they react to possible sexual triggers in public.

I pity the Duggar gals this week with the widespread heatwave throughout much of the US, bringing triple digit heat. There’s no way I would be wearing sleeves or long skirts in those temps.

One of those things that I’ve carried out of my old church are buzzwords the church uses regularly that don’ t quite mean what they think they actually mean. Like this ‘Defraud’. Our old pastor used to use paradigm all the time out of context,  as if it was the action of shifting your view or theology, instead of the theological framework. It used to drive me crazy along with other frequently bandied about misuses of other words. I have noticed that this whole misuse of words or buzzwords is common in the patriarchal fundamentalist church and am interested in what ones you’ve heard. I’d like to comply a list of those words they harp upon and use over and over incorrectly so I’m hoping you will list in the comments those words you’d heard that fit this paradigm. I want to create a page here in NLQ that will list words that if you hear over and over in your church you should run fast and far away.

Comments open below

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Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

About Suzanne Calulu
  • Merry

    I trigger on the word ‘transparency.’ As in ‘we all need to practice transparency’ except for the liars/’elders’ who…well, lied, and obscured the truth at every opportunity and often for no apparent benefit, just a power thing. That word is a major red flag whenever I hear it, unless the context is draperies or chicken broth.

  • Jenny

    Ah yes, good old defrauding! That word was used a lot in Bill Gothard circles, not only in the context of clothing but even about anything beyond basic courtesy to the opposite sex. If you smiled at someone too avidly you might be “defrauding” them.

    Another word I often heard was “accountability.” Apparently in the fundie dictionary it is defined as “Opening every secret of your life to patriarchal authorities such as elders and fathers so they may control you down to the smallest details.”

    Of course “authority” itself is another buzzword and as they used it apparently meant “the God-given right of men to control and emotionally abuse women and of adults to control and emotionally abuse children.”

    Another catch phrase was “guard your heart.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard this in fundie circles. It was applied to everything from secular music to vague flutterings about a cute boy.

  • P. Nissila

    I was raised in perhaps the mother of “quiverfull/have however many children you physically can” church: Roman Catholicism. A trigger for me is “in community,” as it implies the need to “belong” to RCism in order to be in the right group spiritually…

    My thoughts on the circa 1900 swim wear (by the way, is Michelle aware that those styles were pretty racy back then?). Do the guys have to cover up, too? A guy with a good body and no shirt and wearing shorts is a lovely sight for most women I know. Add a little tan and maybe some suntan lotion glistening on the skin… But maybe they believe women are stronger when it comes to resisting temptation? And perhaps they should also teach their children that there is a huge difference between simply appreciating an attractive person and lusting after body parts (yes, those breasts and legs belong to whole people, boys–girls who have hopes and dreams and minds and spirits…). And if the boys need help resisting temptation, there are simpler ways than depending upon the girls all the time. For example, close your eyes, turn away, stay away from the beach, I don’t know. Doesn’t seem too hard to me…

    And I have another question, if I may, here, a question that’s been on my mind since I saw this topic on the front page of some tabloid at the supermarket: what was the big deal about Michelle and Jim Bob talking about how long after she gives birth until they have sex again? Eeeeeew! Is that really our business? That headline gave me the CREEPS.

    And one more thing re: all the girls sharing one bedroom and all the boys sharing another bedroom. The incidence of incest in big families where there is little parental supervision is much higher than in smaller families where the parents actually parent. Babysitting your little brothers and sisters, ah, I mean “mentoring” them, is NOT parenting, as much as the olders might love the youngers. The first thing I thought was that was a protective measure. And then they have the camera crews, too, fortunately. And I could spend a lot more time on the exploitation of those children on camera not to mention the forty ways it’s not a good idea for a sixteen year-old girl to be the “principal” of their homeschool, and that house is waaaaaaaaay too tidy…

    (And I’ve only watched a few episodes.)

    Okay, I’m done. Thanks for your patience.
    P. Nissila

    • Madamoyzelle

      Heh. Regarding

      “Do the guys have to cover up, too? A guy with a good body and no shirt and wearing shorts is a lovely sight for most women I know. Add a little tan and maybe some suntan lotion glistening on the skin… But maybe they believe women are stronger when it comes to resisting temptation? ”

      Here is the big fat paradox that people don’t see. You may know that a highly-place public official in Kansas felt it “was a shame that women have the vote. It is sad to me that the head of the family is not the one who votes ‘for the family.’”

      Back in the day, and in fundie circles now, it was felt that women should NOT have the vote because “they would vote based on looks.” This is the case in Middle Eastern countries where women can’t vote. And here is the big fat paradox:

      When it comes to voting by women–the men are inconvenienced and bothered by it because women would vote on looks.

      But when it comes to going to the beach–the men are NOT required to cover up. Why? If women would do something as important as VOTE based on looks, would they then not also go into a screaming fit and chase after every man on the beach who is uncovered? (Let’s pretend they’re hot, as described.)

      Or are women suddenly more sensible?

      Or is it that if the men were required to cover up so as not to defraud women, that would be an inconvenience? Oh ho?!

  • Carol

    Defrauding? Michelle oughtta look in the mirror. Anyone take a look at the TLC lineup? The shows are all about clothes, tattoos, addictions and other mental disorders, a show about talking to the dead. That doesn’t seem Christian now, does it. Sister Wives, plural marriage is frowned upon, right? Oh how about Toddlers and Tiaras? A show where weird exhibitionists moms blow foolishly all their money on expensive gowns so their 6 year olds can titillate by shaking their booty on stage. Oh I never heard of this one, “Strange Sex”. TLC Sounds like a network for fetishists. Michelle, you are the biggest fraud of all.

  • Ellen

    I’m glad to see you brought up the idea that apparently fundamentalist men can’t control themselves. I’m always astonished when I see a statement about how women or girls have to worry about arousing men. In the world where I live, this is never an issue. My friends would just laugh and tell the men to grow up.

  • Jenny Islander

    My personal trigger word is definitely “defraud.” As you pointed out, the fundamentalist definition is actually a neologism. It’s a legal term. It means to enter into a contract with someone, get something in return, and then deny whatever was promised in the contract. In other words, if a man feels sexual desire while looking at a woman, that’s effectively a promise of sex from the woman (or girl, Jesus wept!) to the man. If she then does not have sex with him, she’s in the wrong. But if she does have sex with him, she’s also in the wrong! It’s monstrous. It’s perverse.

  • Meggie

    Language is a constantly evolving thing. Just compare King James bible to the NIV even Queens-English to Australian-English to American-English. Michelle might not use defraud correctly but as long as the people she is speaking to understand her, you won’t stop the evolution of language. My husband, a university Chemistry lecturer, goes nuts about the use of “Organic”. The correct meaning is “containing Carbon” but you can’t fight the popular misuse it as of “grown without chemicals”.
    This is not a criticism of anyone upset by religious-speak. Personally, “fellowshipping” makes me want to slap the person saying it. I just think in the case of Michelle and “defrauding” there are bigger issues to worry about.

    • Meggie

      *Sorry. There should be an “or” between “NIV” and “even”. Fingers are slower than my brain.

    • minuteye

      I agree with you about the futility of trying to stop language change. But on the other hand, there’s a big difference between the meaning and connotations of a word changing gradually over time, and an active attempt by a person or group to manipulate the meaning of a word in a way that supports their agenda. Where does that line get drawn? I don’t pretend to know, but I don’t think we should dismiss all propaganda and language manipulation as a natural process just because it might superficially resemble one.

      • Christine

        It’s like 1984 – they forced the evolution of the language to control what people could think about. Deliberately changing the meanings of words lets you, in some ways, control the conversation. We all agree that defrauding someone is wrong. Now they don’t have to argue that being “immodest” is wrong, just say why it’s defrauding, and our own emotional weight will do their arguing.

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  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com Retha

    Defraud, definition -to deprive of something by deception or fraud
    Defraud, fundie definition – to promise and not deliver

    If the fundies promise you will be happily married if you dress modestly/ you will not give any man a lustful thought if you dress modestly/ etc.; and things do not happen that way, did they defraud you?

  • Jenny Islander

    “Intergenerational faithfulness” is another red flag to avoid. It sounds so wholesome, but what it means is the older generation exerting complete control over the younger: everything they say, their job choices, their educational paths as adults, their marriages, how they raise their own children. It’s one generation making appendages out of the next.

    Watch out for any congregation in which the conventional wisdom is that children need to be “trained,” especially if “child training” is preached from the pulpit. This always means tormenting children until they learn to act like little smiley robots whenever adults in authority over them are looking.

  • Jenny Islander

    Another phrase to avoid: “family values.” As someone remarked, this really means that only certain families have value.

  • whisper

    I want to run screaming away from people (and churches) whenever they start dropping phrases that refer to women being “in their place.”

    “Willing/joyful submission,” “God’s order in the home,” “covering/veiling,” “biblical leadership,” “godly womanhood,” “head of the household,” “chain of command,” “God’s hierarchy” and “woman’s greatest calling” are only a few of them. The head elder at my old church eventually switched to the word “subjection” rather than “submission” when referring to a woman’s place. That really scared me, because submission is no picnic, but subjection is another thing altogether… and to this man they were interchangeable.

    I also get twitchy when people refer to chapters of the Bible as if they’re living people that God wants us to emulate. “Proverbs 31 woman” and “Titus 2 woman” seem to be the biggest ones.

    In the circles I was in, the concept of “modesty” has become so twisted that their use of it actually contradicts the original word. Basically, you’re supposed to be drawing attention to yourself at all times or you’re probably not being “modest.” Your “modesty” should be so obvious that people stop you to ask about it, and God wants you to use those questions as opportunities to proselytize.

  • Jenny Islander

    @whisper: Ditto on “modesty.”

    In my experience, people who use “convicted” to mean “feels strongly about something and presumes that this strong feeling is divinely inspired” are not safe to be around. The problem is that people who go around being “convicted” all the time will disregard anything that disagrees with the “convicted” feeling. They may even call disagreement “Satanic.” Even high-school-research-paper-level fact checking a la Snopes. Also note that “convicted” is another fundamentalist word that was hijacked from its original meaning; people who get “convicted” are likely to go to a church whose preacher practices “strong preaching.”

    “Strong preaching” is yelling at people about sin. It’s designed to make people feel guilty (hence “convicted”) and wretched, or scared and clingy. It’s a cathartic experience; people can come to depend on it for a regular dose of emotional Epsom salts. But it does not lead to anything except more “strong preaching” and “standards.” It has little or nothing to do with growing up into the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ. As a general rule, if the preacher is shouty and accusatory, don’t go back.

    “Strong preaching” isn’t the only bad preaching style. If you ever get the sense that the preacher is hinting about a specific member of the congregation in a sermon, run away! Good pastors don’t go in for passive aggressive crap.

  • Nunya

    I grew up in Germany, where most women sun bathe topless, and the men just get used to seeing all sorts of different types of bodies – young, old, fat, thin, imperfect, etc.. It makes for a much more tolerant view of women’s bodies.