Quiverfulls! I've heard it all now...(73 Posts)
"Campbell believes that many women have forgotten their biological, and for her, God-given function. "He created her with a womb. And in fact that's the most distinguishing characteristic of a woman. In the American Webster's 1928 dictionary, it says that woman is combination of two words: womb and man. She is a womb-man."
The Duggars (from 19 kids and counting) are Quiverfull.
What a hideous description of a woman. A man with a womb. I'm pretty sure the etymology of the word mentioned is absolute bollocks.
Oh dear me.
I dont really see this as a feminist issue though, more a religious extremism issue. Unless people are actually being convinced that it is the lot of a woman to bear child after child and be the bit player to the 'head of the household'.
I think it's both types of issue Stealth. Pregnancy may be God-given, but it takes a massive toll on the mother's health and wellbeing. This seems to me another religious reason for men to control women's fertility.
It's totally irresponsible on an environmental and ecological level too.
but there doesn't seem to be an implication that the women featured are coerced in any way? They seem to have bought into it as a cultural choice?
If the women themselves are embracing this philsophy of family life then what's the issue?
Hmm yes maybe. I suppose my thinking is that this is a minoritt of women and theydoseem have chosen the life
Is it a free choice, or have they been indoctrinated?
It's certainly a minority of women, but it's still a patriarchal society where men are in charge of everything.
Sorry, I am in an ironic mood today. If these people are so determined to do things "how god intended them", why don't they breastfeed their children until the age of 3 or 4? This way, they will not be producing babies on an annual basis. This whole movement seems to be rather about male dominance and obsession with reproduction than following any natural order of things.
It's a very patriarchal, one-sided interpretation of 'how God intended', methinks. Designed precisely to ensure male dominance...
That is an (inaccurate) folk etymology for 'woman'. 'womb' has a derivation distinct from that of the 'wo-' element in 'woman'. But I was pretty shocked when I checked to see that it is actually in Websters 1928 edition. Guess their lexicographers were not too hot on Old English.
I get fed up of people twisting linguistics to serve their own agendas.
/end of tangent/
I get fed up of people twisting linguistics to serve their own agendas.
I remember being told as a child by a Christian fundamentalist that the etymology of "woman" was that Eve brought "woe" to man.
I saw this on the BBC as well.
I was reading parts of it out to my colleagues in amazement.
Now they are not feminists, and I generally try to keep a lid on it for peace and harmony, but this was so ludicrous that there were no dissenting voices
stealth, FWIW, I have a friend who is a lovely, intelligent, talented woman, and who has bought into at least some of this stuff. IMHO it is a huge feminist issue, the more if women are convinced by it than for any other reason.
My friend truly believes that she has a god-given role as a woman, a mother and a wife. So far as I can see she spends much of her life trying to examine how to be better at these roles and how to conform to what she feels God and her husband expect. She is a convert (admittedly, from a not-terribly-open-minded Christian denomination previously). The fact that she isn't being overtly coerced is of course good, but the fact that I see her twisting her life into knots to conform to these standards is appalling.
This is an issue where I really cannot bring myself to give a flying fuck about whether or not someone feels they have 'chosen' this life. If I see someone on a bridge trying to jump off, I don't stand around agonizing about whether or not it's their choice. If I look at someone staying with a partner who hits them, I wouldn't be saying 'well, it's her choice'. I know this isn't the same but I think it's on a continuum. Seeing someone who I know is sane and intelligent beating herself up because she's convinced men and women have different god-given roles and she needs to be a perfect mother by suffering, is horrible to watch.
There is a good exploration of the movement by Kathryn Joyce: Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.
The subservient roles in religious groups - what you describe LRD - it seems almost masochistic.
There has been a lot said about subverting sexual tendencies into religious fervour, hasn't there.
Sorry not sure where I was going with that!
But just that there are surely a range of reasons for this "lifestyle" agreeing with people, IYSWIM.
LRD: I am sure you know your friend well and of course I have no idea about her.
But TBH I really have a problem putting the words "sane, intelligent" and "different god-give roles" in the same sentence.
When I read about women like those on quiverfull (and the examples on the link seem to have been women led, not coerced particularly) I keep wanting to ask them "where the hell is your self-respect?"
Thing is if they have been raised to this - or similar as with LRD's friend - it is not a matter of self respect etc, it's just how it is.
We have some closed religious sects around our way and it is exceptional for people to leave.
If people have been brought up with these types of ideas then fundamentally they have been brainwashed.
grimble - me too. This is why I find it difficult.
But she is sane and intelligent. This is why it is so hard to understand. And it wouldn't be ok if only unintelligent or mentally ill women got sucked in, obviously.
I don't think my friend was precisely raised to this. And I know women who certainly weren't raised to this. But we have all grown up in a world where there is a lot of pressure not to be feminist, and where we do all have a constant pressure on us to just give up. I think.
Even our next door neighbours FGS would be contenders for this sort of thing.
Although not so extreme - they stopped at 3 due to her severe PND. But still they do the whole roles and dressing them and the kids modestly and "physical chastisement" and all the rest of it.
This is part of what bothers me with this - OK only a part out of a whole LOAD of bother - but what about PND, birth injuries, people who are unsuited to it being at home with loads of kids etc. One of the women was doing it even though she knew it was about to kill her FGS. There is NO value placed on the woman's wellbeing, her only function is to reproduce. Really troubling.
Yes. It's horrible.
I think part of the issue is how widespread ignorance about PND, and women's health, is.
I was chatting to some (really disgusting, btw) blokes the other day who had very crappy views about mens' rights. One of them kept talking about abortion as if it were nothing, and labour as if it were nothing. At some point I tried to explain the health risks of pregnancy and labour, and it was then I realized that he honestly had no idea. I think this is true of far too many people.
I think if you go into this sort of thing without knowing how PND might work, you are horribly unprotected. And then the whole cycle starts, and I don't know how you get out. I mean, my friend, she had PND and she's blogged about it and she's eloquent, but she doesn't connect it up with the fact she feels it's right for her husband to behave in ways that we would see as borderline abusive. She talks the talk about needing to accept PND as a mental illness and not anyone's fault, but she doesn't link it up to the fact she is isolated with very little support.
I'm a (fairly) evangelical Christian.
But this is anathema to me. We know one family following the quiverfull principles - they've bought a small rural farm (that will never support them), both parents are home full time with their 7 children, all homeschooled due to the "poison" of "science" in schools - they're young earth creationist, etc.
There's nothing we can do but it terrifies me for heir kids. We have visited a couple of times since this became serious - they don't want our dc to mention school, or church, or scouts, brownies, swimming club etc .
I find it terrifying.
But what can you do?
Is they are not part of a community all living the same way then I suspect they will have something of a rebellion on their hands when the kids get bigger.
Well, I shall hope for the rebellion. But I'm not sure at all.
I think this kind of nuclear family is actually hugely isolating, even if there is a community made up of lots of small nuclear families. We actually don't have much precedent for it, so people think they are living a 'traditional' lifestyle but actually, these women are far more alone than women in the past, near to mothers and sisters and cousins, would have been.
The Quiverfull movement is an extreme manifestation of patriarchal Christianity, but there are similar tenets in more mainstream conservative denominations in the US. To me they are even more alarming because being less extreme, they are more attractive and more widespread.
LRD yes you're right,it's worrying. No mainstream (and as far as I know, fe if any minor) denominations approve of this. It's a vey individualistic thing in the uk.
Which makes it scarier!
True, weegie, although as scone says, there are reflections of the same thing in less extreme but more insidious forms.
I am C of E, and generally very happy with that despite the various possible issues, but I was brought up short when I was going to marriage counselling and someone remarked that they did hope I was planning to have children as they felt having children was an essential part of Christian marriage.
NiceTabard: I concede your point to some degree.
But it makes me wonder how come, when I was being brainwashed by the nuns at my Catholic School (and believe me nuns do serious brainwashing) and being told at the age of 6 that children who weren't baptised would go to limbo and that God "always was, always is and always will be" I still managed to think "bollocks" - or rather the 6-year-old equivalent of "bollocks".
If brainwashing is so effective women would never have had the vote, got educated and got careers as the whole patriarchy crap was massive brainwashing exercise.
I think there will be those who can't buck the system but, thank fuck, there are always others who will put two fingers up to it.
I had a friend who had the most awful childhood and who had every reason to be a totally fucked up mess. I remember her saying, when I asked her how ever she managed to become the person she was, "you have to grow up sometime - you can't blame everything on your parents for ever".
Some people are naturally more inclined to be speculative or dissenting. Some people are brought up to it, despite living in a repressive society.
Some people just happen to have the right sequence of experiences to provoke them into challenge, while others have experiences that make it harder for them to see that social conditioning even exists.
I am uncomfortable with the idea that it's to do with intelligence or anything like that, and uncomfortable with the idea that, just because some few people make very small changes, social conditioning isn't very strong. I believe it is. And when you think about it, even changes like getting the vote were incremental and are tiny in comparison to the huge amount of misogyny out there.
Your friend's mantra is a good one to have, but I think judging other people to make yourself feel better is a shitty thing to do - and she's coming close to that if she really is saying 'you' have to grow up.
Putting the onus on yourself is good if it motivates you and if it helps you to let go of the bitterness that goes with blaming someone. But if you start telling other people 'you can't blame your parents for ever', then to be honest, you are coming very close to the sort of crappy victim-blaming we see far too much of anyhow.
YY I went to a RC covent primary as well.
I get where you're coming from. We were allowed to "mix" though.
In my area we have a lot of people who are Exclusive Brethren. we also have the hasidic jews in stamford hill. I know much more about the brethren than that jewish community but both have a lot in common in terms of closed-ness and dress and traditional roles and lots of kids and stuff. the brethren were a bit different in that their children used to attend mainstream schools and there was a big thing when I was at school with a court case because they are not allowed to watch tv / listen to radio / read papers and when the national curriculum came in they got an exclusion. Anyway I knew some brethren children through school and they were just, their upbringing was so strict and different. I know that when they leave they get cut off totally and leavers often go back or commit suicide. they don't even work in jobs outside the group they all work together. this is similar to the hasidic population in stamford hill from what I have heard although like I say I know less about them.
Bottom line is I think if you are surrounded by this stuff and it is your community and family, and turning away has consequences, it takes an exceptional person to do so. I knew a brethren boy who clearly wanted to be in the wider community and I was worried about him (don't know what happened to him).
I find it extremely hard to know what to make of someone who claims to be happy and content, and doesn't want to turn away from any of this stuff, but who is behaving in a way that clearly, to me, isn't the way a happy person behaves.
I don't see how it helps to compare that person to someone else who turns away and gets free. If everyone could do that, patently, we would never have any prejudice in society.
Sorry I sound very possessive about local religious sects there!
I re-read my post and my turn of phrase sounds odd.
I guess because I grew up around / near these people and seeing them around I feel an odd ambivalence between live & let live and wow that's wrong. IYSWIM. The curse of the hippy lefty feminist I guess!
I know what you mean, FWIW.
^I find it extremely hard to know what to make of someone who claims to be happy and content, and doesn't want to turn away from any of this stuff, but who is behaving in a way that clearly, to me, isn't the way a happy person behaves.
I don't see how it helps to compare that person to someone else who turns away and gets free. If everyone could do that, patently, we would never have any prejudice in society.^
I suppose it's like DV - victims of DV often claim they are OK, and it's not clear what enables one victim of DV to break free while another stays in an abusive relationship for their whole life or up to the point of being murdered. In fact it probably isn't unreasonable to assume that the psychological mechanism and cycle of rewards and abuse which keeps people in DV situations is the same that operates in these extreme dynamics promoted by some religious groups.
It is complicated in the US; evangelical does not automatically equate with fundamentalist or even conservative; there are strong feminist elements in some evangelical churches, including ordained women, and strong emphasis on social justice issues, especially poverty.
And then there are a considerable number of traditional churches in the reformed tradition, such as some Presbyterian denominations, that refuse to ordain women and that support the "Danvers Statement," which one commentator said was formulated to "staunch the spread of biblical feminism in evangelical circles."
Etymology of woman from old english wimman from anglo saxon wif-man, meaning wife of the man. No great origin, but better than the false womb-man suggestion!
My ex and I went to a small church for a while as I knew the pastor (a lovely local doctor). The longer we went though the weirder we realised it was!
They were a lovely couple with 5 or 6 kids. On the surface the typical lovely open home family, lovely kids, great dinner discussions. As we got to know them though they told up about the quiverfull principle, and the 'I know I'd rather have more arrows in my quiver to face an enemy' type comments. At the time I thought fair enough. I wanted to be a sahm (ex oxbridge. Wasn't an intelligence issue as such!) I wanted a big family!
We realised they home schooled. Fair enough, we knew some home schooled families and liked the idea. However, we realised they were doing it as they were fearful of wrongful teaching in school, had scary curriculum from America (teaching all subjects through the bible) and encouraged all in the church to home school!!
They all often ate in one another's homes -again we liked this, and the sense of community, until the breaking point, we realised that friendship with non Christians wasn't encouraged unless it had the aim of conversion.
It was a strange period of my life. I strangely miss the people and community and closeness but I did used to refer to them as 'the cult' for a few years. They weren't a cult, it was all freely chosen and just on the more extremes of evangelicalism but hey ho! I know better now.
Woops just saw someone else said that... Should've read the whole page but was too enraged by the vision of the womb-man, which revolts me to the core.
Gosh I'm tired and ought to go to bed. Alongside u'd errors is rather an abundance of exclamation marks. . . Oops. In defence it does all seen far fetched and surprising looking back.
Like weegiemum I'm a Christian and I think it is important to stress that this movement is an extreme and imo utterly misguided minority.
Just to clarify LRD: when my friend said "you can't blame etc." she wasn't blaming anyone who couldn't. She was far too nice and non-judgey. By "you" she actually meant "I" - IYSWIM
Oh I forgot the BEST BIT about the BBC piece
"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They shall not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."
Accompanied by the picture of the advocate mum with her 6 children 5 of whom are girls (assuming she adheres to pink for girls - not a reach there).
So, UM, 6 kids and according to the definition she has barely even started as her "quiver" currently only holds one
NorthernLurker, I agree, but then there is the issue of who is defining Christianity.
One of my friends who is a Roman Catholic recently moved to a new neighborhood. Her next door neighbor came over with cookies and a friendly welcome. It was not long before the neighbor asked my friend to come to her church, a well-known fundamentalist congregation in the community. My friend said that she already had a church and named a well-known Catholic church in town. Neighbor paused and then said, Well, if you decide to try Christianity, we'd be glad to have you."
Did you see a documentary a few years ago called 'Deborah 13: Servant of God'? It was about a conservative evangelical family called Drapper who had this kind of setup - although I don't know if they would call themselves part of the Quiverfull movement. They lived on a remote farm somewhere (Wales?) and HEed their children (I think they had well over 6 or so). And of course the father ran the whole show.
It focused on the 13 yr old daughter. It was totally heartbreaking because it was clear that she was extremely bright, but was being brought up with the destiny of being wife and mother - she seemed a bit ambivalent about that. And her view of God was just awful (I say that as an Anglican) - she was totally consumed by thinking about her own wickedness and had this utterly bleak view of God - no joy there at all. I found it very upsetting.
Well, it's revolting, but it's just an extreme form of the Abrahamic superstitions, which are all really about putting reproduction under male control.
Ughhhhhhh just Uggggggghhhhhhhhhh religion to me is the sky fairy promising everlasting pain if you don't do things his/her way. In case you can't guess I am not religious. So we have many religions all of whom have the one true way and if anyone believes differently they will go to hell. I have been reading about Christian Concern (or Christian Concern for the Nation as they was known) where the CEO is a young Creationist. Watched a video of them on their site where they had been campaigning against gay marriage and were praying that the MPs would change their opinion.
I have no objection to people choosing to follow a religion but when they try to stuff it down people's throats then I get annoyed. The problem is this British Organisation has strong links to very right wing American Christian organisations that are funded by private military contractors. And they are lobbying for in local communities.
Rambling but these religious groups to me are dangerous, because many are being considered more mainstream and because they will fight on local issues and have free legal support (Christian Legal Centre) people will engage with them for short term gain which may turn into long term loss.
Still saw a wonderful cartoon where people of different religions were queuing up to get into Valhalla with Thor on the gates.
Just going off on one a bit, grimble, sorry!
fair that sounds awfully sad.
And the defining things about a woman are not just those that distinguish her from a man are they .....
They are things, common to human-kind, such as having a large brain, using tools, developing language, the dependance of our young at birth & raising our young for a long period before they become independent, living in social groups, developing agriculture, later in the evolutionary period developing art and culture ?
I wonder what happens if the woman can't have children? Or if any of their children are gay, or want to go to university?
S'ok LRD - when I re-read it I realised how it must have read. That's the trouble with the net - nuances or intonations just don't come over sometimes
The thing is too that sometimes (not always I know, but there's enough of a correlation for it to be concerning) these religious fundamentalist ideas overlap with the surrendered wife kind of principle and even something called "domestic discipline" which is real and happening now, in the UK. I can't work out whether there's a fetishistic aspect to that one because a lot of the blogs etc stray into clear spanking fetish territory, but if you actually read through the justifications etc (the women often sound totally happy about being there ) it seems less like a sexual thing and more like a genuine belief that women are like children
or pets and "need" training/correcting. But the mighty husband of course needs no such thing and knows exactly what is best for her. I find it quite terrifying and very very sad.
Just thinking though Yoni that if you're at home looking after small children it is good if your DH asks about your day when he gets in. So, I'm just saying that I can see how him taking an interest in your life, and even making some contribution to organising it could sometimes be OK for some people. Better than just being completely ignored and living independent lives from each other.
All very controversial I know.
And of course taking an interest doesn't actually have to mean taking over, it could be done in a much more equal way, and that would always be better.
Sunny That's one of the things that made the documentary I mentioned so awful - it focused on the very close relationship the 13 yr old DD had with her older brother, who I thought from the film was likely gay.
The boys seemed to be able to go to university or college. Some of the older female siblings had already been married off and had families of their own. I was stunned that a Christian subculture like that existed in the UK. They were YECs too.
I think the doc has made it onto Documentary Heaven if anyone is interested.
Juggling was that aimed at me or a different Yoni? I'm not disagreeing I'm just confused as to how it relates to my post.
I was just interested in the concept of "domestic discipline" presumably somewhat imposed on the wife by her husband. I'm sure there would be lots of problems with this, but as is my way I was perhaps trying to see if there could be aspects of it that might work for some couples.
My DD laughs at me (gently) for seeing every side of things - and calls me agnostic, which I always think is an interesting way for her to think of it - basically am one of life's fence sitters. As someone once said "There's a good view from up here" - even if you get a sore bum from balancing on the edge.
HTH to somewhat explain my thinking there Yoni.
Oh - are you thinking the discipline applies to the children? Because its applied to the wife
Basically a weird sort of crossover of DV, surrendered wives and BDSM with some extreme Stockholm syndrome going on.
No, I realise the discipline relates to the woman's role in the management of the home. I'm just guessing really though from the term "domestic discipline" Like everything the effect would depend on how it was interpreted by the couple, but it doesn't sound a very helpful idea I agree.
Wondering what "Stockholm syndrome" is. I thought Stockholm was quite a progressive place, so interesting it would have that name ?
Juggling: as an open minded person - how about contemplating what aspects of discipline might work if it was applied by the wife to the husband?
Thanks for being understanding, grimble.
juggling - wiki tells me the name comes from a hostage-situation robbery in Stockholm. It's not exclusive to women's experiences - it describes any situation where a captive/abused person bonds with their captor/abuser.
Sure grimble - I'm easily that open minded
LRD, thanks for the explanation.
Btw I think it surely must be crucial for relationships - let alone parenting - if both people talk. A major issue with this kind of relationship is the implication that women have a distinct role to play with their children, that men couldn't fulfill.
I'm glad the false etymology has already been dealt with. Not that the real etymology is all that great from our perspective. I prefer the etymology of "lady" (ultimately derived from a word meaning "bread-baker, I won't bore you with the details).
I seem to remember discussing the Quiverfull movement a while back - a very large family somewhere in America, I think.
Anyway, I get the impression that the goal isn't so much spiritual fulfilment (ha!) for these women, but mostly the idea is to outbreed the Muslims or whoever the target group of xenophobia is, possibly also to provide a large number of conservative voters, so that things don't get too liberal.
re the etymology, utter garbage. If you are not an English speaker how does the whole womb-man thing work? A bit like the nonsense around 'man-agement' or 'his-story'
Hey wimmin can I join the chat, please?
I saw all this quiverful stuff yesterday (not this thread, not sure where I found it) but I started reading and stayed up late just fascinated and horrified!
I took a look at this and it was very scary!
I'm an evangelical Christian, a feminist, an accepting Christian (not against gay marriage), also a bit charismatic, a bit contemplative and a bit liberal! The bit I read onto was about stay at home daughters! I was shocked, I thought we had moved forward and I feel very, very sad we ('womanhood') appear to be going backwards.
TwasBrillig can I ask which church you go to now (if any), please? Just curious.
I watched Deborah 13: Servant of God
I found some comments very sad, the mum referred to a school as an orphanage.
I found the girl very well-rounded for some of it, although of course coming out with utter crap like you belong to your father. But I think the other stuff like not necessarily knowing who Brittney Spiers is, well I think she may be better off for that! I think she sounded very courageous for such a young woman. I mean I don't agree with all she said by any means but she seems a very 'together' person. She goes up to total stranger and speaks to them about God. I don't think she is doing that because of fear but because of bravery.
I was gob smacked at the puppet show, a very sad image of God to give a bunch of children. Matthew (her brother) seemed very kind and caring, lining up different experiences for her like shopping in a big shopping centre.
I just hope she will get the chance to go away to college too!
I just felt sad watching it and seeing it is so much about judgement. I also felt Deborah softened to her brothers uni friends and was pretty much up for the activities she went for. She also seemed to be thinking things through for herself at the disco, was it right to dance etc. I think she was pretty courageous. I just wish she could appreciate the amazing young woman she is. I mean as 13 year old (totally non-religious person) I would have been terrified to go away to uni and go to a night club etc! So whatever I might think of her very fixed and fundamentalist views she came across as a very powerful and strong young woman.
I totally disagree with all the stereotypical roles of men and women!
Sorry back to the stay at home daughters... I found this very distressing...
Stay at home daughters is totally crazy!
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