by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
Chapter Two has the delightful title of “Why We’re Interested in Boys And Why That’s a Good Thing”. This chapter can be divided into four themes, but two of the themes are so absurd that they need a separate post to deal with. Today’s two themes are strange in their own right.
The Botkin Parents are incredibly weird.
- I don’t think Anna Sofia and Elizabeth meant to portray their parents as monomaniacal lunatics, but that’s what outsiders will see them as based on these vignettes.
- “It’s a great testimony to our parents’ wisdom that they knew how aware we were [about boys, marriage and romance] – and not only aware, but eagerly searching for information to feed our curiosity. By highchair age, most of us have had a lot of exposure to romance, too. [This theme goes on for a while but can be boiled down to “see married parents” and “culture dumps romance down our throats”] (…) Mom and Dad knew if they weren’t filling our heads with the right ideas, there were plenty of other sources to fill our heads with the wrong ones. So we remember having those serious highchair conversations as we chased our dry cheerios (sic) around on the tray and acted out dramas between the boy animal cracker and the girl animal cracker. Mom would talk to us about being sensible about boys. Dad told us there were good boys and bad boys, and he would help us know the difference. Mom talked to us about being wives and mommies someday. Dad would look at picture books with us – our favorite was a collection of Norman Rockwell Post covers – and he would tell us the story in each picture. We were already eagerly soaking up information about relationships with boys, and we had plenty of questions. “Why is that boy trying to kiss that girl?” “What are proms for?” “What’s a date?” “Aren’t those kids too young to get married?” “How is he going to support a family with nothing but marbles and a sling shot?” (pgs. 16-17)
- Victoria Botkin was teaching her daughters to be wives, mommies and cautious around boys before they could eat at the dinner table. Seriously?
- Geoffrey Botkin was teaching his daughters that they could never be trusted to judge the character of men. That’s insane.
Women exist solely to serve their husbands. Failing to have a husband, women should serve their male family members.
- God created men first for the purpose of “dominion”.
“When God created man, He gave him a mission: ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it.’ (Genesis 1:28). To take dominion over everything else that God had created – to “tend the garden”, tame the wilderness, build nations, explore the unknown, manage creation and bring forth its treasures: cultivating its soil, mining its gold, silver and precious stones, naming and taming its creatures, studying its plants to learn their nutritional and medicinal value, and harnessing its natural energy. God knew that this mission was too big for man to accomplish on his own, so Eve was tailor-made as “a helper fit for him” (or as the KJV translates it, “a help meet for him,” Gen. 2:18)(pg. 18)”
- The Botkin sisters pulled a fast one on the Bible verses.
- Genesis 1:28 reads “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
- Why did the Botkins leave out the first portion of that verse? Because Genesis 1 gives men AND women dominion over the Earth rather than just men. Acknowledging that causes the entire “Men are made for dominion and women for helpmeet” storyline to fall apart.
- In Genesis 2, God creates Eve (a helper and partner in NRSV translation) after showing Adam all of the other creatures in existence – but dominion over the world isn’t given explicitly until after the Flood a few chapters later.
- The Botkins are REALLY into men are to dominion as women are to helpers. It is the cornerstone of the entire book, unfortunately.
- Because of women’s “help meet” status, we can’t avoid our fate – to be with men.
“But because of what God created us for, we can’t escape from our need for [men]. Every woman’s life is built around men and their leadership in some way. Girls who run away from their fathers usually end up working for male bosses; women who refuse to commit to a man in marriage are frequently tossed from boyfriend to boyfriend; and feminists who build their identities around not needing men still define their lives and achievements in reference to men: earning as much as a man or doing any job a man can do. Even the radical feminists who lead the charge against male authority were actually furthering the agenda of male social engineers (more on this is Chapter 3). (pg. 19)
- This sounds more like anti-feminist propaganda from the 1950’s than a reasoned discussion on problems within feminism.
- This paragraph especially reflects badly on Geoffrey Botkin. His adult daughters – 25 and 23 years old at the time this book was written – believe that they will be treated like trash by male bosses and sleazy boyfriends if they leave home for any reason except under the protection of a husband.
- Unmarried women, then, are less than whole.
“In the end, we can’t do without [men] any more than they can do without us. And we’re not supposed to. What about those of us who are never meant to marry? Even for women who have truly been given the gift of singleness or will never marry, this holds true. All of us will have men in our lives that we will need to know how to relate to according to our created purpose as helpers. Of course, a married relationship is the only place where our created purpose as helpers will be fully realized. In other words, until you are married, you will not experience the level of unity that’s exclusive to husband and wife or the full role of “helpmeet” that only applies to a wife with her husband.” (pg. 20)
- Generally, marriage-biased drivel like this makes me mad. In this case, though, I have mixed feelings of schadenfreude and sadness. When Anna Sophia and Elizabeth wrote this book in 2011, the brothers on either side of them (David and Ben) had married. The sisters had a thriving public speaking ministry and no reason to expect to be single for very long. Well, in 2012, Vision Forum – who gave a lot of business to the Botkins – collapsed due to sexual assault allegations. In 2014, the oldest son, Isaac, got married. It is now 2016 and the Botkin sisters are still single and – in their own words – not fully realizing their created purpose. That’s gotta hurt.
- Create absurd explanations for any Bible verses that directly contradict the “logic” shown above.
“But as we’ve already established, this doesn’t – and mustn’t- mean making men our ultimate interest. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says, ‘There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for things of the world, how she may please her husband.’ (KJV) This verse isn’t saying that it’s less holy to be married or that married women can’t love the Lord. It’s also not saying that there is a conflict between loving the Lord and loving others (such as our husbands).” (pg. 29)
- Actually, 1 Corinthians 7 is pretty firmly on the side of singleness. Paul states repeatedly in that chapter that singleness is the preferred state according to God, but that marriage is not a sin and better than fornication.
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