I was a debt-free virgin without tattoos, but Lori Alexander still wouldn’t have approved

I was a debt-free virgin without tattoos, but Lori Alexander still wouldn’t have approved July 23, 2018

Many of you likely came across Lori Alexander’s viral blog post—Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos—when it went viral on Facebook last week. The ever eloquent blogger Samantha Field wrote a response that deserves to be just as well read and shared, titled Men Prefer Uneducated, Naive Objects They Can Easily Control.

In her response, Samantha pointed especially to Lori’s focus on college—and noted that Lori’s objection to women’s college attendance was not just about debt.

Walking down the aisle as tattoo-less virgins is just a bonus– the main focus of the post is that women should not be college educated because it makes it more difficult for their husbands to control them.

There are many more reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.

“The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.” Sadly, most young Christian women wouldn’t listen to their husbands since they’ve not been taught to live in submission to their husbands.

Young women learn nothing about biblical womanhood or what it takes to run a home when they go to college. They don’t learn to serve others either. They learn the ways of the world instead.

Most girls have not read the Bible with their father (Ephesians 6:4) or husband to explain it to them (1 Corinthians 14:35). That part is important. Instead of learning it from their parents, they seek out books or movies on how to interpret the Bible which leads them down the wrong path.

Lori is heavily quoting from a letter she received and agreeing with it, and both she and the letter-writer spend hardly any time talking about tattoos or sexual purity.

Despite the thrust of her title, Lori’s objections to college aren’t actually about debt. They’re about something else entirely. They’re about women gaining independence.

I grew up in a homeschool family much like those in Lori Alexander’s sphere of influence. I believed from an early age that my purpose in life was to be a wife and mother, and that having a career was outside of God’s plan for me as a woman. I was to be a homemaker, nurturing (and homeschooling) my children. And yet, despite this, I always knew I would go to college. My family was middle class, and my parents had college degrees. It was what you did.

By the time I reached college, there were question marks in my mind. A friend tried to convince me not to go to college. She said it wasn’t biblical, that God never called women to go out and serve themselves in the years before they married, that my role was to be at home helping my mother and others in the community, preparing for life as a wife and mother, and not for a career. What she said made sense. I listened. But it wasn’t enough.

My parents sent me to college, they said, because college-educated men want college-educated wives. They sent me to  college, they said, because if my husband were to ever die or become disabled, they didn’t want me working at Walmart. They sent me to college, they said, to make sure I would be prepared to homeschool my children. All of this was in part simply a justification. They sent me to college because they went to college, and that is what you did.

Still, before I left for college, a homeschooling mom we knew—one more conservative even than we were, one who wore kerchiefs on her head and homesteaded—stopped by and tried to talk my mother out of sending me. College would ruin me for being a wife and mother, she said. My mother never told me why she didn’t listen. Perhaps it was because she had a college degree, and it hadn’t ruined her. And so off to college I went.

What did that homeschool mom mean, exactly? I’m not sure I ever really stopped to ask myself that. The idea that a woman going to college could be incompatible with her being a wife and mother wasn’t outside of my sphere of understanding. It was an idea that existed in our community, that was floating around—an idea my parents rejected, but one that didn’t feel strange or different enough to need thorough examination.

Even Lori Alexander, in her viral blog post, is initially shy of broadcasting exactly why she believes women shouldn’t go to college—hence her centering of the idea around staying “debt free.” I am familiar with this idea as well. My parents paid for my college and eschewed loans because they wanted me to stay debt free—they didn’t want my future husband to pay off my loans while I stayed at out of the workforce as a homemaker and stay-at-home mother, they said.

But Lori’s screed is not actually about staying debt free. If it were, she would advise women to attend community college, or advise parents to pay for their daughters’ college if even remotely financially feasible. And yet she doesn’t. Instead, she uses the idea of staying debt free to segue into something entirely different—the idea that college will ruin a young woman for ever being a wife or mother.

Again with that idea. 

In her post, Samantha concludes that Lori is right. College will interfere with a young woman’s ability to be a godly keeper at home, she writes. I would amend this slightly. After all, there are plenty of women who go to college and later stay at home with their children, particularly in the early years. There are plenty of women, too, who go to college and come out steadfast evangelicals. Lori is only right by her strict definition of what being a godly keeper at home entails.

Lori says that good Christian women must be quiet, demure, and dependent—dependent not only financially or in spirit, but dependent theologically as well. Women should not read the Bible for themselves, she says. Instead, they should have their father or husband explain the Bible to them. It’s true—college will  get in the way of that. But my parents didn’t believe this. They had me take apologetics courses, they encouraged me to read and to study the Bible myself.

And that, perhaps, is why my parents sent me to college. They didn’t want the uneducated, naive object that Samantha so aptly argues Lori wants. They wanted an educated, independent person who also espoused their beliefs. What they perhaps didn’t realize until too late is that an educated, independent person is not so easy to control. You cannot both educate a person, and determine where they will land. You have to let go, to let them take the wheel of their own life.

After several years of college I remained a debt-free virgin without tattoos, and yet, despite that, Lori Alexander still would not have approved of me. I had gained exactly what she doesn’t want young women to have—education and independence. And it’s true—those are dangerous things in the hands of a woman.

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