The Beautiful Girlhood Doll, part 6: Joy and Friendship

The Beautiful Girlhood Doll, part 6: Joy and Friendship June 12, 2011

The woman of God is joyful and seeks companionship with those who share the same vision. For the daughter who has embraced the beauty of Christian girlhood, the richest friendships begin within her family, where she learns to love and honor, and first learns the joy of belonging to another.

I had a lot of friends growing up, and they definitely all shared my vision. In fact, they were all exactly like me! All of my friends were white, middle class, and homeschooled, and they all shared the same religious beliefs that I did. This is because I only ever met other girls my age at church or in a Christian homeschool co-op, and I only ever got to see a friend frequently if our parents were also friends and our families got together regularly. Thus my friends were generally the children of my parents’ friends.

All of my friends were girls. This was probably largely a result of the strange coincidence that none of my parents’ friends had sons my age, but it was likely also furthered by the strong belief in different roles for boys and girls. I also think that the concern that if I knew a boy, I might somehow end up falling in love with him or kissing him or something, against my parents’ wishes, contributed to my not ever going out of my way to seek friendship with any boys my age. And in reality, I would not have know what to do with a guy friend if I had had one. After all, guys do not generally have tea parties, play with dollhouses, cook, or sew. Regardless of the reasons behind it, the fact that I only had girlfriends meant that eventually, when I went to college, I had to figure out how to deal with guys my age from scratch.

My friends and I often discussed our beliefs, but because we were in agreement on all the particulars the result was that we simply moved ourselves further and further into Christian Patriarchy. We were all devoted believers, and our discussions made us only more fervent. Head coverings, skirts only, staying at home rather than going to college – it was all on the table. It was like we had somehow tied our worth to our level of devotion, so the more devoted we could prove ourselves, the more holy we would be. Because of this, several of my friends almost talked me into staying home and not going to college. I admitted to them that they were right, we as girls shouldn’t go to college and should instead spend those years serving others. Yet at the same time I had to reconcile this new-found realization with my parents’ strong assumption that I would go to college. In the end, my parents expectation won out over doubts that had built up in my mind, largely planted there by my friends.

I was, of course, also friends with my siblings. We had some really good times together, whether travelling to Narnia or building forts or swimming in a nearby pond. My sisters and I used to stay up way past our bedtimes whispering to each other in our beds in the dark. In high school, I started to get to know my mother more, and we also became friends of a sort. We would stay up late folding laundry and eating ice cream, or go shopping together.

For the next installment of this series, click here.

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