by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
Quoted portions of the book are in blue
This chapter is going to be nice and short. The actual chapter in the book drags on and on, but….well, you’ll see.
Actual lists about how to treat guys like your brother (i.e., what good girls do) and how to encourage guys to pursue a romantic relationship with you (i.e., what bad girls do)
There are two lists that I consider “good girl” lists.
Of course, there is a difference between how affectionately we can treat our biological brothers and the other guys. This is because, unlike a brother-sister relationship, which is permanently defined, non-brother relationships do have the potential to turn into something else. However platonic they might seem, the possibility is there for them to become sticky. According to our father and brothers, physical affection, deeply personal conversations, etc., can be stimulants for other-than brotherly emotions.” (pg. 77)
- Again – what kind of physical affection are we talking about here? Honestly, I’m not very physically demonstrative except to my husband and small children, so I’m having trouble figuring out what the Botkin Sisters are talking about. I hug my brother goodbye at the end of family gatherings. I played rough-and-tumble sports games with boys until I was a teenager. I punch same-age male cousins in the arm and shove them playfully occasionally – and I did that with same-age male friends. With my students, I would pat shoulders or rest a hand on the forearm when working with either gender as a positive relationship reinforcer that was nonsexual. I’m assuming all of these are off-limits.
- Side note: One thing I learned when teaching is how severely we as a society restrict the amount of physical touch teenage boys get. Around puberty, we teach parents/teacher to lessen the amount of touching boys get, outlaw boy-girl touching as overly sexual, and criticize male-male touching as wussy. Girls get some of the same messages, but girl-girl touching is viewed as normal and can make up a lot of the difference lost. That’s why I started shoulder patting and resting my forearm next to the forearm of male students; those were touches that I did instinctively with female students along with shoulder-to-shoulder leaning when a student was in a desk and I was kneeling next to him/her. I was amazed – and a bit saddened – at the number of boys who would lean into my shoulder and their entire posture would become softer.
- Remember the prohibition on “deeply personal conversations.” That’s a recurring theme likely to mess people up.
- Notice that a “good girl” can’t do anything that might stimulate a boy into being attracted to her. That’s feels like a mismatch in a Protestant/Evangelical religion. Since I’m Catholic, avoiding romance/marriage makes sense because there is an unspoken theme in Catholicism that “if we really loved God/Jesus, we’d become priests/nuns.” (Not saying that’s healthy; just saying that it’s there and logically supports avoiding romantic interactions) The Botkin Sisters, however, have stated that being a helpmeet is the sum total of a woman’s purpose. To me, this would mean that teenagers and young adults should be fostering romantic relationships to do what God expects of them.
- This sounds painful. Don’t touch boys; don’t talk to boys about personal things; be restrained in their presence. It’s like the first part of a junior high dance where all the girls are standing along one wall and the boys are standing along the other. The only people enjoying themselves are the chaperones who are talking about personal things and not being restrained. There’s a lesson in that, IMHO.
“Most men we come across will be neither [handsome princes or toads], and deserve the same kind of sisterly concern we give our brothers; which would look something like this:
- She views him as a fellow human made in the image and likeness of God – neither more or less.
- A sister should be looking out for her brother’s best interests. Of course she doesn’t want him to get hurt, defrauded, or painfully disappointed.
- She prays for him, for his future wife and family.
- She understands that he is an imperfect human being, with flaws and weaknesses that should be viewed with charity, patience and understanding.
- She knows that he has a sin nature, like hers, that can be played on by others; and that God promises “woe to those through whom [temptations to sin] come!” (Luke 17:1)
- She recognizes that her behavior can play a part in building him up or tearing him down.
- She realizes that he is up against attacks on all fronts from our culture, and that his manliness needs reinforcing, not weakening.” (pg 85).
- Well, the first and fourth point are solid.
- Disappointments are a part of life. He’ll get over them. Equally problematically, the Botkins want girls to protect boys without being cold or distant towards them. That’s not going to work well.
- Praying for a future wife and family is a bat-shit crazy recurring theme in the Pearls and Botkins works. That’s asinine. Pray for him now as he is if you want, but don’t pretend you can read the future or God’s Plan for anyone.
- Points 5,6 and 7 would have reduced me to a silent nervous wreck when I was a teenager, so I recommend ignoring them.
Here’s the “bad girl” list:
“There are two major ways that we tend to fail when it comes to relationships with young men.
- Flirting. Right, right, none of us were actually flirting. We meant coquetting, teasing, joshing, bantering, being over-friendly, acting giddy and giggly, trying to attract attention, “being cute”, clutching or shoving, or generally high on boys’ company and acting frantic to be noticed.
- Shunning. Being so shy and uncomfortable around boys that we pretend they don’t exist; when forced to acknowledge their existence, we’re cold and rude. If we see them coming, we duck and cover behind human shields. We check our invisible watches multiple times as we pass them in the hallway while simultaneously pretending to tie our shoes. We avoid their glance as though it would steal our souls.” (pg. 82)
- Learning how to flirt is a basic social skill that most people learn by/in their twenties. Banning teasing, bantering and giggling is likely to make meeting guys a hell of a lot harder – and reduce the number of girls who are willing to hang out around you. Well, unless the girls are using you as a foil. The aristocratic young woman who can’t talk about anything personal or touch a guy does make any girl standing next to her so much more approachable…..
- I agree with number 2; shunning people is not a good long-term strategy for all males. For specific males, though, shunning and cold-shouldering are completely acceptable strategies. Women are not required in the Bible to be happy-go-lucky companions for any guy who comes along.
So….the entire chapter is 20 pages long. There are exactly two themes (“Botkin Girls need more socialization” and “Good Girl/Bad Girl”) that encompass roughly five pages of type. That leaves us with the third theme:
SHIT! We have five pages of material for a chapter that should be twenty pages. Let the rambling and contradictions begin!
- A chunk quote from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary (1/2 a page long!) followed by a page of random reflections on the quote. It ends with “wait, nevermind, Webster’s isn’t Scripture!” which made wonder why it was included until I realized the third theme. (pgs. 73-75)
- Drag in chunks of Scripture. There are 22 full or partial verse quotes in this chapter plus 9 non-quoted citations. Clearly, the verses don’t match most of the uses. My favorite is when they start quoting the Book of Philemon; that’s always a bad sign.
- Do you need male friends?
- Pound in that young people don’t NEED friends their own age because these relationships can end badly with hurt feelings; they should be hanging out with real adults. This theme appears on page 75-76;87-89)
- Age and gender don’t really matter when making friends; it’s all about spiritual maturity. (pg. 88) Yes, that contradiction is smack in the middle of a section that says that teens don’t need teenage friends.
- You shouldn’t let getting hurt stop you from making boy friends (pgs. 76, 78, 85, 86). Ignore the fact that that contradicts previous statements about why you don’t NEED male friends.
- The safest friends are “family friends”(pg. 81, 84, 89-90) Ignore the fact that two of our sister-in-laws were family friends….or is that a positive….hard to say.
- Rehash the whole Abigail/Bathsheba thing to argue that Abigail didn’t give David something that was bad for him while Bathsheba gave David something that was bad for him. Oddly enough, they missed giving Bible quotes for this section. This probably due to the fact that Abigail handed over to David everything he wanted.
- Insert six quotes from “young men” to fill up 4 pages.
- Block quote John Gregory from 1774 to fill up another half a page.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.
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