Saturday, December 29, 2018

Joyfully At Home: Chapter 2 - Part One

We've entered the third stage of holiday events in our house - Sick Toddler Time!  My little guy was a bit off yesterday.  Last night, my son partially awoke about once every 45-60 minutes, let out random wails for around 30 seconds, and fell back asleep before I could make it from our bedroom to his nursery across the hall.  By morning, I was bleary-eyed with lack of sleep when I fished my son out of his crib and realized he was running a temperature. 

I hate it when he's sick - but he did fine today.  He takes medication by mouth pretty well and he would take Tylenol after a few cursory whines.  Spawn would let me know when he was ready to go back to bed by pointing towards the steps or signing "Sleep".   The rest of the time he wanted to sit on my lap and watch "Sesame Street".  After a while, I couldn't handle another sketch about emotional regulation so I pulled an ace that I had reserved a few weeks before.  My husband had been scanning the offerings on Netflix and a documentary called "Tigers of Scotland" appeared.  The documentary was about the remnant wildcat population of Scotland that are a separate species than domesticated cats.   That was interesting to me - but far more importantly - my son loves cats.   Love might be too weak of a term.  Spawn ADORES cats.   If he sees one, he says "Hi, cat!" or "Miaow-Miaow!" at them.  That bought me 60 minutes of a happy toddler who cuddled on my lap while calling out "Miaow-miaow! Miaow-miaow!" every time a domestic cat, feral cat,  wildcat, lynx or bobcat appeared on the screen.  (Previously, he has meowed at tigers at the local zoo.  I'm enjoying the irony that his survivability is now less than it was as a newborn for large cats.) 

Heck, I wondered if the camera crew that spent six weeks looking for a wildcat to film only to get some less-than-thrilling footage of a mouse eating and a barn owl flying by just needed to add a cat-obsessed toddler to their crew.  I feel like Spawn's unbridled adoration would have drawn wildcats to wander around outside the blind. :-)

Jasmine (Baucham) Holmes has written two articles about her regrets of being a stay-at-home daughter as well as the awkwardness of rereading the book she wrote at age 19.   I have a great deal of compassion for her - but especially in having to hear the 'wisdom' she wrote when she was barely out of childhood.   Honestly, I don't think she was any more idealistic or dogmatic than so many young people on the brink of adulthood; she simply had the unfortunate piece of luck to have her writings published by a now-defunct cultic system.

As an outsider, the voice of the cultic CP/QF belief system shouts loudest when authors like Ms. Baucham, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin or Sarah Mally discuss alleged life events that sound fishy:

I have heard so many conversations between young married women who are sighing, "I wish I knew a Titus 2 woman who could walk alongside me! I have so much to learn!"

They talked about how they were trained to have a career, but not run a home; how they could oversee a business merger, but couldn't manage dinner; how they could juggle nine tasks at once, as long as none of those tasks included the difficulties of child-rearing. (pg.33)

The first item that sat oddly with me is the fact that Ms. Baucham at age 19 had been involved in more than one conversation among young married women.  Granted I married at an older age, but when I was around a group of newlywed and single women, I didn't start with "Oh, my God!  Marriage is hard, amiright?  Who will ever teach me how to wife properly?"   No.  Just no.  We did commiserate occasionally on the quirks of our respective husbands - but that is as much about pride that the worst thing about your husband is a minor quirk instead of  being married to a monster.

The second paragraph reads as an creative interpretation of the CP/QF mythos surrounding what secular education is and how it strips away a woman's ability to run a home or raise a child.  After all, families are responsible for training their kids to keep a home, not post-secondary educational facilities.  Certain families are better at teaching how to keep a home, certainly, but that is a different issue than whether women should have careers. 

I want to meet a woman who is capable - and has - overseen a business merger but is unable to solve the intractable problem that is dinner.   A person who has navigated the hazard-ridden, unmapped river that is a business merger may be a horrible cook - but I suspect they would be fine at either hiring a cook, purchasing ready-to-eat meals or ordering take-out.   Likewise, I suspect that there are plenty of women executives who are fine cooks; they simply choose to delegate that task to someone who does it even better than they do.

I also want to meet someone who can smoothly juggle nine-tasks at once - but fails miserably as soon as one of the tasks involve children.   IMHO, most of the problems with child rearing is that small children require caregivers to juggle nine tasks at once while continuously changing the order of priority for the tasks.  In other words, sauteing onions for dinner goes instantly from the first task of importance to the third when you see your toddler balancing precariously on the back of the sofa.  (The second most important task is "Occupy toddler so they don't do that again".  :-) )   The capricious and never-ending needs of infants and toddlers are the reason that women around the world specialized in gathering foods, food preparation and making textiles.   Women can hunt, mine or blacksmith perfectly well - but those activities don't mix well with the curiosity of toddlers.

This next quote is adorably naive in a truly teenage girl way:

As I sit here typing today, working on my first book and babysitting a six-year-old, a three-year-old, and a two-year-old, I can only imagine the overwhelmed feeling that is sending many a new wife and mommy reeling. My youngest brother Micah  (a year old) will be up from nap soon, ready to eat. My three-year-old brother Asher is insatiably curious, and has me running outside every few minutes to answer his plainative knocks at the door. The two year old (Judah) will need a diaper change soon, and will probably have a smell that would send you running for the hills. Elijah is the oldest of the younger set, and he knows how to keep things in order. The only problem is, this little guy isn't exactly seen as an authority in his toddler brothers' lives.

So how am I not screaming my head off and running for cover? (pgs. 33-34)

Obviously, her response is that her parents trained her up right - which is what I would have responded at that age, too. 

The truth is that babysitting your four siblings in a household that contains two seasoned adults and her 15 year-old brother is nothing like being a young wife to a man who is starting his career while you are caring for your close-in-age preschool children.  It's not even in the same universe.  I know nothing of how long it took Voddie and Bridget Baucham to reach the point that he had a stable career and a consistent income - but the couple sensibly spaced their two biological children four years apart.  Since Jasmine is the eldest child, she may well have scant memories of any hard times the young family faced. 

The hardest part to foresee about having children before you do is the fact that your child is your responsibility.  I'm sure that teenage Jasmine could feed, play with, comfort, dress and handle the toileting needs of her young siblings - but that's the easy bit of parenting.  The weeds of parenting is making decision after decision after decision.   Deciding if the toddler is sick enough to need to go to the doctor - or will a doctor's visit simply exhaust a sick tot without speeding their recovery?  How will we afford the bill if we're a cost-sharing plan that doesn't cover non-catastrophic illnesses?  Should I start weaning my kid from their pacifier?  His doctor says yes, but his dentist says no.  My kid has refused to touch a vegetable in two weeks - should I be worried?

CP/QF leaders push young marriage and militant fertility - but different people are ready for marriage and parenthood at vastly different ages.  I've certainly known people who married in their early twenties, had a large family and did fine; I've also known people who married early, had a huge family and descended into the chaos of a dysfunctional marriage with kids who are barely hanging on.  My husband and I have been clear on one fact for a long time - we would have been terrible spouses in our early twenties.   We were too young and inexperienced.   We both needed time to learn additional lessons in patience, cooperation, tolerance and forbearance. 

My son and his medical struggles have taught me what I sometimes refer to as militant patience.   That's the patience that requires every bit of my strength to maintain because I want badly to have something I can fight against or do to promise a good outcome - but there is no enemy and is no magic bullet except time.  And so - patience that goes against every fiber of my being.  Militant patience.

Thirty-seven year old me does have one tip for 19-year old Jasmine, though.  Don't let the three-year old go outside without of an adult's line-of-sight, please.  I'm all in favor of free-ranging kids, but the kid needs to be old enough to not get hurt to due to impulsivity.  Three-year-olds have no decision-making skills other than "Let's try this!" - and that can end so badly in a safe area.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Joyfully At Home: Chapter One - Part Three

Happy Boxing Day!  We had a good holiday run here in Michigan.  There was a bit of snow on Christmas Day itself so I think we can count this as a white Christmas.  I'm enjoyed the last Christmas that I can get away with really half-assing Christmas decorations since Spawn's just barely two.  I greatly enjoyed seeing my sister, her wife and my niece who is growing up so fast.  Today, I'm simply chilling out and trying to get Spawn back on his normal calendar.  He's done really well with a slightly akilter nap and feeding schedule - but he didn't eat much at large family gatherings so he's wolfing down food today.   He managed to eat 5 chicken nuggets and a small fry from McDonald's which is a ton for a small 2 year old.

In our review of "Joyfully At Home" by Jasmine (Baucham) Holmes I've pointed out the issues with the views of feminism she held at age 19.  The end of the first chapter connects the failings of modern feminism to the benefits that stay-at-home daughterhood (SAHD) brings to believers.    Ms. Baucham begins by pointing out the difficulties of fitting single adult women into the CP/QF view of female life where all women fit into a subordinate position to men:

Still, where do single women fit into this understanding of mankind? Though hierarchy and marriage may seem ordered enough to you, even the most die-hard complementarians often shrug their shoulders when it comes to how unmarried women fit into our understanding of male / female distinctions. While young men and married man are both trained to be leaders and providers in society, often times, young women are trained in the same pattern as young man, then told that, once they marry, they are given a different world to occupy. (pg. 26)

Hmm.  Why might die-hard complementarians fail to object to training young single women to be providers before marriage?  Well, not all homeschooled conservative CP/QF girls are lucky enough to marry within a few months of turning 18.  Since many - probably most - CP/QF families live below the federal poverty line due to a combination of very large families and limited career prospects of weakly educated men, sensible parents educate their daughters so that they can bring in income by their late teens or early twenties at the latest.  No one has proposed a serious answer to who is supposed to support an unmarried adult woman once her father dies so I'd assume that even stay-at-home daughters who can live at home while their parents are alive will eventually need to work.  For young women who marry, being able to earn money is still useful. 

Let's be honest - the skills that make a good employee translate well to being a good wife and mother.  Marriage is built around communication.  Being able to communicate clearly can smooth relationship difficulties.  Marriage requires cooperation.  Marriage requires compromise.  Marriage requires deciding which issues are worth a principled stand as well.  I've been concerned for years at the idea that a wife is supposed to be submissive to her husband in every issue that is not a Biblical sin.   The best outcome of that belief system in practice requires that a husband be able to make decisions that are always in the best interest of his family with minimal input from his wife.  Why minimal input from the wife? Well, it's hard to be totally submissive if you're giving better to remain as a child without knowledge or life experience.  The worse-case scenario has already been described in "Preparing To Be A Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl.  A girl can be married to a man who moves the family every two years in search of his next big idea that will end their crushing poverty or to a man who expects his every whim to be catered to by his wife and children while he abuses them.

Parenting brings an entire different level of organizational skill into play - but that's no surprise, right?  Oh! I always point out one fun factoid to the HS students I sub with: I totally used the math skills I learned in Algebra II to figure out how to make the exact amount of 24-calorie formula my infant son needed.   The steady nerves I developed teaching in rough schools along with the manual dexterity I acquired from years of lab work made inserting an NG tube on my son easy.   I was grateful for my years of experience managing the bureaucracy of education as I've managed the scads of different medical, educational and service agencies who work with my son.

[...] for a woman of my age - of the age of many of the young ladies reading this book - to still be single in Biblical times would be seen as an anomaly.

For a woman my age to be single fifty years ago would have been seen by many as an anomaly as well. (pg. 27)

The first sentence is not entirely wrong.  During Biblical times, people married very young compared to modern times with women marrying not long after puberty.

On the other hand, plenty of women in the Bible never married.  They were slaves or concubines instead.   With the much higher mortality rates, some number of women who married in their teens would be widowed by age 20.  I immediately thought of Tamar from Genesis 38.  Presumably she was married to Er when she was between 12 and 16 years old.  Er died and his brother Onan married her but refused to get her pregnant so God killed Onan.  Judah sends Tamar home to live with her father until Judah's one surviving son is old enough to be a husband.  Genesis 38:12 says that Judah's wife Shua died after a long time - so presumably her son Shelah was quite a bit younger than Er or Onan.   Tamar pulls off a honey-trap on Judah which seems quite risky if she was post-menopausal - but makes more sense if she was in her thirties.  Two thousand years later, the nascent Christian community was still trying to figure out how best to care for young widows - and there must have been a decent number of them since the solution for their care was to require most of them to remarry.

Likewise, the second sentence isn't entirely wrong - but I think Ms. Baucham made a claim based on a faulty understanding of history and statistics. 

Let's discuss statistics first.  The US median age of first marriage for women has been between ages 20 and 22 from 1890 to around 1980.  Median measure the central tendency of a data plot - so we can say that around 50% of women were married by ages 20-22.   Ms. Baucham's claim that she would have been an anomaly as an unmarried 19 year-old in 1950 is a stretch. 

Statistics have the advantage of presenting large data sets in a concise form - but the concise form by definition loses the finer grain of the data.   We have the median age for first marriage - but we don't have the total range of the data or the first and third quartile points that would give a better idea of when people were marrying.  Let's think about two examples.  In the first example, half of the women in the US married between the ages of 18 and 22 while 49.9% of women were married at ages 23-26 years of age.  In this first society, a 30-year old single woman is unlikely to find a marriage partner who is not divorced or a widower - and this is pretty much what the US was like in the 1950's and early 1960's.   In the second society, 50% of women are married at ages 14-22, but the next 49.9% of women who marry do so between the ages of 23 and 50.  In this society, being unmarried at 30 doesn't mean that a woman has no chance of being married - and this is pretty much what the US has been from 1890-1940 and 1970-1980.

This next paragraph is an example of how Ms. Baucham was better grounded in reality than the Botkin Sisters at a similar age:

Stay-at-home daughterhood - the practice of living at home, under your father's authority and parental discipleship until marriage - was normative during biblical times. While the passages that talk about daughters in this context are limited in God's word, they certainly do seem to point to the biblical validity of staying home more than they do to striking out on your own. However, it is difficult to make a case that not staying home between high school graduation and marriage is a sin. Moreover, because of the fallen world we live in, for many young women, stay-at-home daughterhood in the sense that I will be talking about it in this book is an impossibility because of your family situation. (pg. 28)

Yup.   Being a SAHD was normative in biblical times.  So was slavery, death in childbirth and foreign occupation for people who are keeping track of their normative biblical trends.

Making a case that a single woman living outside of male authority is a sin is more than difficult; it's impossible if you read the Book of Ruth. 

And yes - being a SAHD is impossible for ever so many women.  It's just not financially possible for many families - and I would argue that it's irresponsible for any family that can't create a trust fund that can keep each daughter at the same socioeconomic level for the rest of her life.  Each year that the Botkin Sisters, the Mally Sisters and the Maxwell Sisters are out of workforce, the less likely they are to be able to be integrated into the workforce when their parents die.  Fair or unfair, many women spend some time out of the workforce due to caregiving for children or the elderly - but these seven women have no work experience outside of niche-market family businesses.  I suffer secondhand embarrassment on their behalf when imagining them trying to explain what they've been doing for the last two decades of their life.  After all, we've all got family members or friends who have self-published stories, novels or poems while still managing to hold down a traditional job - so what have these women being doing?

Let's end on that upbeat note. 

The beginning of Chapter Two is one of the sections that I believe Mrs. Holmes finds difficult to re-read as a wife and mother - because 19-year-olds often have so very little life experience......

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Joyfully At Home: Chapter One - Part Two

Mr. Spawn is three days post-surgery and I am flabbergasted at how well he's been doing.   He tires out a bit more easily than he did before the surgery - but he's eating well, playing like a happy toddler and getting into trouble.

The fact his surgery went so well has taken a huge weight off my chest.  Spawn's a robust little trooper- but last February he had a cold that set him back for weeks.   Since then, he's weathered several colds without any major lags - but I was worried that this surgery would set him back again.   My concerns have turned out to be imaginary - and I'm thrilled.

On a similar note, I find writing about Jasmine (Baucham) Holmes' book "Joyfully At Home" to be far easier than any of the other books written by stay-at-home daughters.  Mrs. Holmes' writing is of an entirely different caliber of quality than the poor standards set by the Botkin Sisters or the Maxwells so reading it feels like a breath of fresh air.   Also unlike the women of the Botkin, Maxwell, or Mally families, Jasmine Baucham finds a man whom she marries and is raising a family with.  The other authors' books were written with all the energy and vigor of young women who believe that they will be in marriages that will be the envy of all their friends any day now - but as readers who are five to fifteen years in the future we know that that assumption is faulty.

Let's continue discussing Ms. Baucham's understanding of the evils of feminism when she was 19, shall we?

I know, this is not a popular notion. As a young, American woman, I have been told time and again how thankful I ought to be for feminism: it is giving me the right to vote and own property; it is giving me protection from an abusive marriage; it is giving me options beyond the scope of the Suzy Homemaker mold that women before the rise of feminism have been forced into! Women before the dawn of feminism had it bad. Right, guys? (pg. 25)

The people who created the materials for Vision Forum's homeschooling wing have a lot of  resulting ignorance to answer for; that paragraph is such a muddled mess of historical steps for women that untangling it is daunting.

Let me start with this statement: feminism is not offering protection from an abusive marriage.   No one can do that because abuse happens at a person-to-person level.  No, what feminism offers is the ability to leave an abusive marriage without losing all assets and all access to children born in the marriage.  In countries that are based on English Common Law, an unmarried woman had the ability to own property and custody of children born out of wedlock.  Once a woman married, her entire legal existence was subsumed by her husband.  Her husband owned outright all of the property either person brought to the marriage, any assets gained by the couple during their marriage and had complete legal and physical custody of their children.  Divorce was strictly confined and divorced women had little or no expectation of equitable distribution of assets or access to their children.   The most clear example I can think of was in the book "Governess: The Lives and Times of the Real Jane Eyres" by Ruth Brandon.  Eliza Bishop was the married sister of Mary Wollstonecraft when Eliza suffered a bout of what we would now call postpartum depression.  Since Eliza was an adult, she could legally leave the home of her husband - but if she took her infant daughter with her she would be guilty of a felony.   Eliza left - and most likely never saw her infant daughter again before the baby died at 11 months old.  Eliza left - and spent the rest of her days working as a companion, a governess or a schoolteacher to try and earn enough to live on.  She had no financial support or settlement from her estranged husband - and no reason to expect one.

Getting a divorce today still requires bravery since legal proceedings and starting a new life are challenging - but at least women have a chance of eventually gaining financial independence after a divorce.

In terms of Suzy Homemaker, she's a myth perpetuated to idealize the decorative, protected wife and mother of upper-class Victorian times.  She re-appeared for a few decades in the 1950's and 1960's for white middle and upper-class women during the exceptionally rare economic times that allowed families to be supported by a male breadwinner of limited education.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news - but that level of economic prosperity regardless of education for white males is never returning.  People who idolize that time period ignore the fact that the prosperity of the 1950's was built on a massive infusion of government cash to veterans through public housing, VA mortgages and the GI Bills support of education plus the oft ignored fact that the other countries that had manufacturing skills had been bombed into ruins.  Oh, and the generally ignored fact that this largess toward white males came at the expense of women and men of color who had also sacrificed for their families and countries during the 1930's and 1940's. 

I think a more realistic historical idea for married women is as half of the economic engine of a household.  Women have always either earned wages directly or done unpaid work in the home that frees other members to produce materials or earn wages.  CP/QF bloggers glorify the stay-at-home mother as lovingly doing things at home - but they generally ignore how much work she completes.  The cost of child-care for an infant or preschool child is often equal to or more than the amount that most women can earn plus we would need to factor in the cost of a cook and a maid to do basic cleaning.   Plus, women nowadays have far more time and energy available to interact with their young children than they ever have in the past.  I suspect young children spent far more time under the general supervision of their mother or older sibling while the older members of the family worked on food production, food preservation and the never-ending process of creating cloth from fibers or skins.

For unmarried women or women whose children are older than 4, the historical model was far more tilted towards working.  Women worked on their farm, in the homes of wealthier people, or in industrial settings.

Really, the dependent adult woman model that underpins both the SAHD movement and the CP/QF married woman ideal is far more of a historical abnormality than the "feminist" model of recognizing that women work throughout their lives in and out of the home.

I feel like I've read and wrote about this quote before:

[...] although, before the dawn of our modern egalitarian leanings, women and men occupied completely different roles in society, we have the legacies of women like Abigail Adams, Sarah Edwards, and Anne Bradstreet, and others to show us that this position was not one of mental or spiritual inferiority, but one of order. (pg. 26)

Is there a Vision Forum brochure somewhere that writes about the glorious anti-feminist views of Abigail Adams, Sarah Edwards and Anne Bradstreet?   I feel like I've run into this sentence - or one strangely similar - in the Botkin Sister writings somewhere. 

Regardless of where they got this drivel from, it's still wrong. 

Abigail Adams wrote her husband frequently to tell him push the rights of women to vote.  To point out the obvious, her candid and fervent requests to her husband didn't lead to women voting during her lifetime - or the lifetimes of her immediate descendents. 

As for Sarah Edwards, I can't find more than a few surviving letters she wrote to her children.  The stories of her life that are embellished and shared among conservative Christian women are second-hand accounts of how nice she was to visitors to her home and how much her husband worried about her when he was dying.  All of this is nice - but it's a far cry from understanding how Sarah Edwards felt about her life personally and privately.  Her daughter Esther Edwards Burr left a far more honest set of journals prior to her death at age 26 and she struggled mightily with the stresses of being a wife and mother.  Cynic that I am, I often think that Sarah Edwards' main selling points to the CP/QF crowd is her convenient silence on troubling ideas combined with the fact that her descendents are both numerous and include some famous people. 

Anne Bradstreet works for CP/QF families as long as they pick the poems she wrote carefully.  If they stick to "To My Dear and Loving Husband", she is completely unobjectionable.  If they include "Before the Birth of One of Her Children" where she implies that her husband might remarry someone who abuses her children after she dies or "In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth of Happy Memory" where she explains that women can be excellent warrior rulers, she becomes much more objectionable.

In the next section of the first chapter, Ms. Baucham begins explaining the rationale of being a stay-at-home daughter which will lead to our next post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Joyfully At Home: Chapter One - Part One

Hello, everybody!  I wrote this post in bits and pieces over a week-and-a-half so forgive me for the jump backwards to before Spawn's surgery!

Life continues jogging on in Michigan. 

This has been a rapid descent into winter year where we got accumulating snow starting in early November instead of early December.  The accumulated snow has not been terribly deep, thankfully, but it's been just consistent enough to be annoying.   I dawdled at mowing my lawn in mid-October and now I've got a six-inch long lawn growing underneath snow.  Two nights ago, we had strong winds caused by a warm front that brought our daytime temperatures from the high 20's-low 30's to the high 40's - low 50's.  That's ideal grass-cutting temperatures, in my opinion, but we had a slow, steady rain that prevented me from doing any lawn work.  Right now, I'm afraid to step on my lawn for fear that it's become a bog that will swallow my legs to the knee.

On the flip side, the hard freeze has stopped my seasonal allergies dead - so that's been marvelous.

Spawn's eye surgery is next Monday.   He's been medically cleared for everything.  After a 90 minute long opthamology appointment where three highly trained doctors had to independently verify that his eyes are still crossed AND a team of super-technicians had to take photos of his eyes looking in eight different directions, I declared that insurance claims departments should have to provide their own people to take the photographs. This was universally acclaimed by eye doctors of toddlers.  My son is a very mellow tot who seemed to think this was another example of adults acting weird - but trying to get a not-yet-verbal kid to understand that he needed to look up and to the left is a Sisyphean task.

The best advice we got from the cadre of people in the eye doctor's office on applying eye ointment was to do it as sneak attacks while he was sleeping in the morning and nap time.  He's going to be awake and fighting at bedtime - but my husband and I are both home then so we'll just immobilize him and swoop in. 

On a positive note, after a week of eye ointment, I think Spawn will look more kindly on his physical therapist.  She - after all - does not attack him with eye goop when his guard is down like his psychotic parents.

After reviewing two Maxwell books in a row, I needed a break.   A friend recommended reviewing "Joyfully at Home" by Jasmine Baucham.  Ms. Baucham was a featured spokeswoman for the Stay-At-Home Daughter (SAHD) movement after she was interviewed by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin for their documentary "The Return of the Daughters".  I own a second-hand copy of "The Return of the Daughters" but I have not been able to force myself to watch it yet.   "Joyfully At Home" was written after the documentary was filmed and was published in 2010 when Ms. Baucham was 20 years old.  In 2013, she graduated from Thomas Edison State University's online program - possibly through the use of College Plus.  If Ms. Baucham did use College Plus, she is the first person I've heard of to successfully earn a degree using that program.    In 2013, she met Phillip Holmes who she married in 2014 - which means she's the first SAHD published author I've heard of who got married.  Currently, she has a little boy who is close in age to Spawn and she appears to be pregnant with her next child.  Mrs. Holmes teaches two days a week and looks forward to homeschooling her kids once they are old enough.

The first chapter of "Joyfully At Home" is pretty much the standard overview of why Western Civilization is falling apart due to evils like feminism and how being a stay-at-home daughter is part of returning the US to its rightful path.   The section on feminism is strangely similar to writings by the Botkin Sisters:

Feminism is poisonous.


If feminism was simply the notion that women are of equal worth to men, it would be something that I supported wholeheartedly. (...)

But, also, as Christians, we need to be aware of the dangerous side of feminism: Egalitarianism, for instance, or the idea that men and women are interchangeable. Androgyny - the eradication of gender lines. A sense of entitlement - saying " I deserve this or that" or " I am woman, hear me roar!"(...) Sexism - the sneaky idea that women are of more value than the messy, awkward, mentally inferior, and naturally chauvinistic men in their lives. Defensiveness- the idea that women have to fight for their rights because men are hardwired to dominate and abused them. (pg. 25)

Feminism is the idea that women and men deserve equal rights.   That's it.  As ideologies go, it's very simple.   The bit that conservative Christians dislike is the practical applications of equal rights for men and women - like women should receive equal pay for equal work.   Conservative Christians are equally freaked out by the idea that leadership and authority should be a meritocracy where the people who have the most skills should lead rather than an assumption that men should always lead instead of women.

The rest of the ideas that Ms. Baucham stated are a part of feminism are a mix of straw-men and strange definitions. 

Egalitarianism is actually the idea that all people deserve the same rights. I don't like using the term "interchangeable" because it implies that people are like the parts in a machine and can be swapped out willy-nilly.   People are more more complicated than mufflers on a car.  No, egalitarianism could better be described as not letting arbitrary reasons like race or gender exclude people from opportunities. 

Androgyny means a mixture of male and female characteristics or more broadly that some people don't fit neatly into a binary gender system.   I'm not sure why androgyny is so scary to conservative Christians; letting someone else be outside a binary gender system doesn't force conservative Christians from being as gender-conforming as they want to be.  The Botkin, Duggars, Maxwells, Mally and Ms. Baucham can all live in pink floral dresses with long hair if they want.

A sense of entitlement is a genuine problem for practicing Christians - but what does feminism have to do with that?  I find CP/QF wet-dreams of an uneducated man earning enough income to support a 12 or more person family to be far more entitled than the idea that a woman could be president of the US.  Or how about the recent election whining spate of QF families who want parents to be able to vote for their minor children so that conservatives can win election again?  That's insanely entitled - and insanely self-centered.  I also feel compelled to point out that CP/QF families have been frantically breeding since the late 1980's-1990's and have failed to breed/keep enough members to be an actual political force - just ask the Santorums or Duggars.

I adore how feminism is always accused of being sexist.  It's as tone-deaf as the white conservatives who keep blabbing about people of color are really the racist ones......

Eh...the defensiveness isn't because men are hardwired to abuse women; it's because societies tend to have institutionalized ideas that disproportionately harm women, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ persons.   Ironically, I think Mrs. Holmes has come to realize that as she's stepped out of the hothouse that protected and insulated her as the daughter of Voddie Baucham.   She's mentioned on her website that being the only African-American girl at those purity balls was not fun; I wonder if she's realized that the Botkin Sisters' adoration of Rushdoony means that the Botkin Sisters were more than willing to be Jasmine's friend - but Jasmine marrying Noah Botkin would be viewed as immoral because Rushdoony condemns interracial dating and marriage.

Ms. Baucham has plenty more to say on the topic of feminism - but I'm going to stop here so I can cover her next few ideas in the depth they deserve. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Fast Update: Spawn's Surgery

Good news!  Spawn's surgery went just fine.  He had a 9 AM surgery and we were home by 2PM. 

I should have a new post in the next few days, God (and post-surgical toddler) willing!