Quoting Quiverfull: Why Buy the Cow When the Milk is Free?

Quoting Quiverfull: Why Buy the Cow When the Milk is Free? November 6, 2013

by Susan Dench of Ladies Against Feminism, SusanDench.com and Bangor Daily News

Ms Dench might or might not be Quiverfull but the fact that Ladies Against Feminism are quoting her makes it likely she is connected to some evangelical patriarchal religion.

In the traditional world, women brought out the best in their men, who subsumed their more base instincts as they fought hard to earn and win the respect of the women they loved.Before the sexual revolution, the woman was put on a pedestal, and both sexes expected the man to court her, woo her, fight for her hand, solicit her hard-won affection. Oh, of course there was premarital sex, but it wasn’t as prevalent, and if a girl got pregnant the guy was expected to marry her.

Today, men and women can both sleep around with little consequence — at least looking at things from an emotional distance. If she is on the pill and it fails, there is always an abortion (which is the greatest war against women, if we figure 50 percent of babies aborted are girls and if a baby is aborted for sex selection, it will almost always be a female). Of course, feminists have told us that we women hold all the cards, and we have the “choice,” so one of two things happens to the father: Either his responsibility is eliminated or, if he wants the baby, the heck with what the father wants.

Talk about irony: Men have taken advantage of casual sex on demand and ended up with even more power as they asked themselves, “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” and wriggled out of monogamous dating, commitment, marriage and responsibility. Women are left without an emotionally engaged long-term partner and asking themselves in slack-jawed disbelief, “What happened?”

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

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


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  • Sarah Henderson

    I know the QF movement didn’t make this up, but I still find this analogy incredibly offensive. The value of women indeed.

  • persephone

    So very much wrong with this, it would take a book. I won’t do that, though. Promise.

    First, what self-respecting woman would want to marry a man who only wanted her for sex?

    Second, a number of women have no interest in a long-term partner.

    Third, since most women are killed by men, I’m thinking abortion is way down on the list for causes of death.

    Fourth, women are not cows to be milked by whomever comes along, nor purchased for use without a say.

    Fifth, JUST STOP RIGHT NOW COMPARING WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO NON-HUMAN ANIMALS. JUST &*)$-&)(# STOP! Just be cause we’re not adult men does not make us not human.

    Six, in my younger days I really enjoyed taking advantage of men for sex purposes only.

    Seven, in conclusion, marriage is not the be all and end all. There is way more to life.

  • Jennifer

    Actually, you might be surprised at the number of women killed BY boyfriends over not getting abortions.

  • Brennan

    “Third, since most women are killed by men, I’m thinking abortion is way down on the list for causes of death.”

    Um, actually, most (American) women are killed by heart disease, cancer, or stroke. While most homicides are committed by men, it’s still (thankfully) a small proportion of the population that dies that way. In general, though, your point stands.

  • Catherine

    I hate the “why buy the cow” saying.

    Though I’ve been known (long ago before I met my husband) to turn it around with “why buy the pig when I can get the sausage for free?”

  • KarenH

    I’m not all that pressed about not being married. I have a job I enjoy, a home I love, family I’m close to (both emotionally and geographically). I enjoy dating, but at this stage of the game, marriage looks like a far better proposition for the man than it does for me.

    for me, it’s less that no man has chosen to buy the cow than it is, the cow has chosen not to be sold.

  • Andi GreyScale

    “Women are left without an emotionally engaged long-term partner and asking themselves in slack-jawed disbelief, “What happened?””

    Lol, what?

  • Nea

    Women are left without an emotionally engaged long-term partner and asking themselves in slack-jawed disbelief, “What happened?”

    … when their biblical courtship started, blessed by God marriage falls apart, doesn’t she mean? Because if she hasn’t noticed the higher divorce rates among the religious, we seculars certainly have.

  • mayarend

    I REALLY hate that either.
    You’re being BOUGHT? Sex is “milk”, something to be bought, as in, men have no interest whatsoever in the women, they are only interested in sex or else they would never get near these icky women?

  • Trollface McGee

    Yay, more “things were better in a fictional historical period that doesn’t match up with reality. Yes, women in the good ‘ol days were on a pedestal – that they legally and financially couldn’t get off of. No employment protections, legally women were considered somewhere in between livestock and children – but pretty much property, premarital sex was just as prevalent – people just tended to marry younger – but a pregnant woman’s fate was up to the “graciousness” of the man who impregnated her. Healthcare, including safe maternal care was terrible for centuries – making pregnancy a major reason for women’s deaths (and their precious foetuses).
    Also way to go with the misandry. It’s rather insulting to men to think that the only thing they would want from a relationship with a woman is the “milk” and nothing else. (Or that a woman’s interest in a man has nothing to do with sex)

    “If she is on the pill and it fails, there is always an abortion”

    Really? Always? Always? If you’re going to lie, at least do so semi-convincingly. And the greatest war? There are actual wars/genocides going on now that are real wars on women but then again she’s probably the sort that bleats about Christian persecution and totally ignores real persecution vs. the “you don’t allow me to legally convert you” sort.

  • Saraquill

    Is she saying that historically black and Native American women were respected and never murdered or exploited?

    Ms. Dench, I strongly ask that you cite your facts. Your sources should not be from “bob.com,” but a government or academic publication.

  • It always bugs me when I see this type of thing –

    First of all, focusing so myopically on the condition of a woman’s vagina is really debasing. It’s saying that there’s nothing more to a woman that’s worthwhile than her vagina. Her character doesn’t matter, her intellect doesn’t matter, her capacity for compassion and patience doesn’t matter, her ability to find joy in life doesn’t matter … None of that matters because the only thing that matters is her vagina.

    There’s also the assumption that women don’t have a sex drive. These types of people see women who have sex as “confused” and “broken” because what women REALLY want is love; not sex. It’s insulting and patronizing.

    Oh – and regarding marriage? Who, then, is marrying those of us women who are not ashamed of enjoying sex? (Here’s a clue: We’re not all lesbians.)

    But the biggest reason it bugs me is that it has no bearing in reality. It’s an unfortunate quirk of mine that it really bugs me when I see things that are so blatantly not true.

  • It’s an unfortunate reality of a culture that expects abortion to happen in certain circumstances.

  • Jennifer

    Very much so, and just plain selfish men. Pro-choice men should not be praised automatically because abortion, of course, makes the possibility of sex and no responsibility much easier for them.

  • I live on a farm, and have experience with cows. It costs approx $90/month to keep a cow in feed and hay in the winter. In the summer it’s like $60, but you have to pay for the water so the cow doesn’t dehydrate. So whoever thinks buying the cow is cheaper than buying milk needs to spend time at a dairy farm.

  • Saraquill

    Do you have a source?

  • persephone

    I absolutely would not be surprised. A woman is most likely to suffer abuse during a pregnancy than at any other time in her life.
    And they’re still killed by men, not abortions.

  • $66283444

    Wait…what pedestal? I seem to remember hearing stories from the older women in my family that they didn’t have options like my generation and therefore had to get married or stay in their parents’ home. Getting a job and one’s own apartment (and thereby setting her own rules) wasn’t okay for a single woman. Some of those women had happy marriages, but most didn’t; their marriages (I observed) seemed to be escapes from unhealthy lives in their parents’ homes. So, again I ask, where’s the f***ing pedestal?

  • Jennifer

    You may wish to check out the short film “The True Meaning of Choice”, which is based on the many cases of women dying at the hands of boyfriends who killed them because they wouldn’t abort. If you’d like, I’ll pop in the DVD later and see if a website is mentioned.

  • brbr2424

    I think I would be surprised if there were any significant number of women killed by a boyfriend for not getting an abortion. I watch a lot of crime shows and this never comes up. Getting away from a homicidal and abusive boyfriend is the best way to ensure safety. If I found myself pregnant by a violent and homicidal man I would be more inclined to have an abortion.

  • brbr2424

    I suspect it is the same source that alleges that women who have had an abortion suffer mental illness and regret.. ie. pulled out of thin air.

  • Nea

    I can’t believe that I’m defending Jennifer, considering that every time I ask her to cite a neutral source she cites the ones that feed her emotional biases and/or moves the goal posts. However, in 2004 the Washington Post did a series on pregnancy and homicide, with the conclusion that if a pregnant woman dies of violence, it is most likely at the hands of the man who wanted her to abort. The first article is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10074-2004Dec18.html

    That said, Persephone’s right – they’re killed by *men* not *abortions.* This is about domestic violence, not women’s rights to their own bodies.

  • Saraquill

    Interesting. I’m more familiar with pregnant women who are murdered by those who want the fetus inside. There was an article on it on Crime Library and the Investigation Discovery channel’s done some specials on it.

  • Saraquill

    Do you know who produced the film?

  • Nea

    Those article doubtless exist too, but I didn’t spend a week reading them in the local fishwrap. 😉

  • Jennifer

    Crime shows generally deal with long and detailed mysteries, not cut and dry cases, and not all boyfriends are violent BEFORE their girlfriends do something they don’t like.

  • Jennifer

    Well lol, thanks Nea, that link’s very helpful. I’d say it’d be hard for any of us to find sources with the info we want that don’t have some sort of bias; it wasn’t until I saw people who had worked deeply in certain matters change their minds that I changed mine (I originally scoffed when I saw that Roe of Roe vs. Wade had changed hers, and what I’ve read of her story of conversion still sounds somewhat strange to me).

    “That said, Persephone’s right – they’re killed by *men* not *abortions.* This is about domestic violence, not women’s rights to their own bodies.”

    Very much so, though it does to a point involve a woman’s right to her own body, because such men attacked women when they didn’t take the actions with their body that the men wanted.

  • Jennifer

    It was a small company, called Freedom Warrior Productions. An amature film, and I got it when I was still more pro-choice (the girl in it WAS making her own choice, after all, as she pointed out to her selfish boyfriend) so even though I loved the impact it made and thought such a small film pretty good, I also spent the first few minutes of the film mentally throwing paper wads at the speaker in the beginning :S (she did sound a bit sanctimonious to me).

  • Jennifer

    In other words, murdered by very stupid people (you don’t want a baby killed, so kill the mother too pro-lifers!)

  • Jennifer

    Have you read any accounts at all by women who do in fact regret abortion, brbr? They’re not out of thin air, or deserving of being swept under the rug.

  • Jennifer

    In a glass display case, shutter.

  • Nea

    There is a world of bias difference between a movie of unknown provenance as you cited and a national newspaper with a record of research (and often pro-choice articles) that I cited. The Post did not need to rely on emotional appeal to make its arguments.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve never seen pro-choice folks not rely on some emotion to make their appeals either. But while the movie naturally had emotion as most movies do (and I’ve confirmed to Saraquill their provenance), it’s based on a problem that you know to be factual. In any case, I know there’s a difference between the two, I just recalled that I bought the film for entertainement purposes and was then surprised by the problem they said they respresented. There are a great deal of writings in places with records of research, but when it comes to sites and books in general and issues like abortion, it’s simply hard in general not to have some bias based on what you’ve experienced or read; that was my point.

  • Nea

    Preferably both if possible – they do exist; Consumer reports comes to mind. Certainly transparent so that one can confirm the likelihood of extreme bias (or Clever Hans).

  • Lucreza Borgia

    “Oh, of course there was premarital sex, but it wasn’t as prevalent, and
    if a girl got pregnant the guy was expected to marry her.”

    Bullshit. White women were sent off to maternity homes and forced to give up their baby. Women of color generally kept their child.