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Quiverfulls! I've heard it all now...

(73 Posts)
Skybore Fri 17-May-13 11:20:20

"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."

NiceTabard Fri 17-May-13 22:22:52

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 22:27:11

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.

Weegiemum Fri 17-May-13 22:33:00

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?

NiceTabard Fri 17-May-13 22:34:26

<shakes head>

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 22:36:10

Well, I shall hope for the rebellion. But I'm not sure at all. sad

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.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 17-May-13 22:41:14

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.

Weegiemum Fri 17-May-13 22:41:22

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!

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 22:45:48

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. hmm

grimbletart Fri 17-May-13 22:46:04

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". grin

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".

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 22:57:37

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.

NiceTabard Fri 17-May-13 23:00:20

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).

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 23:02:20

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.

NiceTabard Fri 17-May-13 23:02:48

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!

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 17-May-13 23:04:01


I know what you mean, FWIW.

FairPhyllis Fri 17-May-13 23:12:34

^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.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 17-May-13 23:14:44

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."

Danvers Statement

Ehhn Fri 17-May-13 23:17:22

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!

TwasBrillig Fri 17-May-13 23:17:30

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.

Ehhn Fri 17-May-13 23:22:45

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.

Ehhn Fri 17-May-13 23:23:38

(Referring to my post not 'twas!) blush

TwasBrillig Fri 17-May-13 23:25:51

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.

NorthernLurker Fri 17-May-13 23:29:47

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.

grimbletart Fri 17-May-13 23:45:38

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 smile

NiceTabard Fri 17-May-13 23:47:59

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


SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 17-May-13 23:48:37

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." confused

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