by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
All quotes from the book are in blue text
Last section in Chapter Six! Yay!
You’ve probably become afraid of dressing attractively since you read the section on modesty.
- Well, yes, after reading the book up to this chapter, I had decided that being attractive to men was a major issue that should be avoided in the Botkin worldview.
- The problem, as I see it, is that CP life is uncomfortable with both sexual attractiveness AND sexual unattractiveness in women. If women are sexually attractive, they are drawing men into evil. If women are not sexually attractive, they are derided as being masculine. Somehow, women are supposed to be attractive, feminine, pretty, but not visibly sexual.
- I can understand the sentiment; the vast majority of teenage girls feel uncomfortable about how their bodies compare to media portrayal of female beauty. I took comfort in the fact that I could see that the real women in my life were each lovely in their own way and that I was lovely in my own unique way, too.
- The reason I grew out of baggy, hooded sweatshirts and jeans was four years of college science classes. Going to class in t-shirts and jeans was a lot of fun at first; my high school had a business casual dress code so jeans were a new experience for me. Over time, though, having to wear clothing that could get chemical stained, sweaty, muddy or crumpled made me want to wear a skirt or nice dress for a change of pace.
- I imagine that Rebekah, Sarah, Esther and Abigail each spent a good portion of their lives looking rumpled, dusty, stained and/or wearing baggy clothing. Keeping a kosher home while raising children could not have been easy. Preparing every meal from raw ingredients, caring for livestock, nursing babies and preparing fibers for dyeing, spinning and weaving takes a ton of energy and is messy.
- I find the inclusion of Esther on that list to be unintentionally ironic. I’m guessing that Esther was wearing clothing that appeared quite worldly when she went before the king.
Be more afraid of dressing unattractively – God doesn’t like that!
- I would not feel comfortable deciding that deliberate ugliness says “I’m in a bad place with God”. That’s a easy cop-out to allow you to decide that anyone who is dressed in a style you personally don’t like is a sinner or a heretic or just a bad person.
- Unintentionally, the Botkin Sisters are setting up a terrible precedent when they oversimplify a bunch of Bible verses down to “beauty can be taken away as a curse.” That is sliding perilously close blaming disabilities on personal sins which contradicts the teachings in John 9.
Honestly, you are screwed no matter how you dress because we can attach anything we want to your clothing choices.
- I’m getting a clearer picture as to why so many CP/QF families get deeply into feminine wear from the late 1700’s-1800’s. It’s safe. Girls can put on a ton of layers but still look stereotypically feminine. The fact that the clothing options recreated today were worn mainly by a small slice of the emerging upper-middle class for the short transition between being a child and being old enough to be out doesn’t come into play much.
- It’s doubly funny when the modest design is of the tea-dress fashion. Those first came into usage because men (often royalty) were having affairs with married or unmarried women during the daytime. Corsets and other detailed designs are really difficult for one, untrained man to put a woman back into so a new, easier to replace style came into being. (Thank you to my theater costuming buddies for that tip.)
- I find it amusing that the Botkin Sisters see “I’m a punk rocker” as a major sin to be avoided. Punk rock was really an edgy motif in the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s. The problem with that is the mid-1980’s were when the Botkin Sisters were infants. If they wanted dated cultural elements that they could remember, I’d stick to Garth Brooks’ “Achy Breaky Heart” (might be a bit early) (Editor’s note: That was Billy Ray Cyrus and his mullet – father of Miley Cyrus) , Whitney Houston, Shakira, Ricky Martin, any grunge band and the entirety of emo bands. Actually, I think I would adore that paragraph if it was rewritten as a warning about emo….that could be fun.
- If you are sitting demurely with folded hands and someone calls you a flirt, the problem is in the eye of the beholder, not the behavior of the young woman.
- At least the Botkin Sisters are being honest here – as a young woman in CP worldview, you are going to be judged and found wanting on your behaviors towards young men. Be ready for it.
- Dear God….they’ve formed a modest dress recursive loop! Dress conservatively and you are offending God therefore you dress more modernly; modern dress tempts men therefore you dress more conservatively and offend God. You can’t escape……
When in doubt, keep your parents nearby!
- My first concern is that this set-up never teaches young women and men to mind their own behaviors. Since their parents are always watching over their shoulders, young women and men never learn how to enforce group expectations without an authority figure present. That’s a huge problem because parents are not going to be present for the rest of the offsprings’ lives.
- My second concern is that this set-up never allows home schooled teens / young adults to try out different personality traits away from their parents. The assumption is that young people act completely like themselves or the best version of themselves in front of their parents. That’s not always the case! I’ve known plenty of teenagers who show a much kinder, easier-going self in front of teachers or other students than they do in front of their parents as well as vice versa.
- My third concern is how this dynamic plays out after marriage. Both sets of parents will not be present in the new home after the wedding. Will both members of the couple be able to act exactly the same for the rest of the lives? I doubt that highly. My husband and I both act slightly differently around our families of origin than we do when we are alone together.Well, that’s this chapter. Half way done with the book!
Thanks to the Punk Rock/Emo digression, I’ve had the Big Bang Theory scene where Leonard walks into their apartment singing “Boston” from Augustana after a breakup.
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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