I’m fascinated by a realisation I’ve made recently.
In order to ‘keep up’ with what’s going on and what’s new in the P/QF circles, I frequent a number of blogs to stay up to date. After all, I can’t sit here blogging about old news all day. I want to know what’s going on, and I want to be able to write about it.
I’m rather well-informed about the number of films, documentaries and books coming out, as well as blogs about new ideas in the VF/LAF/AR community, and on top of that, I like to know what’s going on in the SAHD circles. And I realized something –
The incredible obsession stay at home daughters have with writing books. I do not want to openly bash young women here, or put them down in any way, hence I’m not linking any of the young authors, but a little look around VF and similar insider pages will give you a good overview of what the young generation is doing – though I don’t think I can avoid naming the very popular names.
I find that there are two types of stay at home daughters. On one hand, there’s the daughters of large families, often lower class, whose parents have no significant higher education and who will never get higher education themselves. The working class QF. As a daughter of this social group, I grew up admiring those young ladies writing books. How did they do it? I had no time. I wouldn’t know what to write about in the first place. And even if I did, had no skill, no idea, no anything. I simply couldn’t express what I wanted to express. I know many daughters like me, who felt writing was a dream so far out of reach that it seemed like a completely different world. But we were still involved in the young stay at home writers fad – we swallowed up those books, discussing them. They were written by young women like us, or so we thought, who went through the same problems.
This, however, was a major illusion, I can see that now. There are no books, literally, not a single one, written by a daughter who, cheerfully, goes through the same as young QF girls from very large families. They simply don’t have the time do write, or the skill. Those masses of books are written by a completely different society.
And that’s the second group of stay at home daughters – the ones from middle and upper class families, often with a significantly smaller number of children. These girls, and I’m not saying this in a negative way but rather in an observant way, have less to worry about. Their parents don’t have to struggle with finances, they don’t have to watch their 10 siblings all day, they are usually better educated or even take some college classes. Of course, some still come from very large families, but they are rare (take the Duggars). Their lives at home provide many options to learn, to observe, for example the Bauchams, who travel quite a bit, or the Botkins. Their parents are educated, providing a better home education. And at the same time, because there aren’t that many children the women have to take care of, they have much more time on their hands. Time they can use to think, to express, to write.
I’m getting the feeling that many of these stay at home daughters are actually bored with their lives. I feel like they’d love to change some things, they just can’t, being caught in an environment that tells them to spend their lonely days at home. They write not necessarily because they have something to say but because it is the only form of expression available, because they are unsatisfied with their calm lives which do not allow to go to a real college, so instead they talk about their lives and their struggles. Many of these books are about single years and how to cope with being single.
I don’t want to sound high and mighty, but the lower class daughters seem to struggle much less in this aspect. I’m not saying the desire isn’t there, but when your days are filled to the max, you simply do not have time to contemplate marriage and love all day. Some lower class daughters even fear getting married because they feel like they’d be abandoning their siblings, their parents, that they are so needed at home that everything will fall apart once they marry. In a situation like that you simply don’t spend your days dreaming of prince charming. You may spend a day dreaming of not scraping old food from the floor, though.
The fad, the dream of being an author, seems to provide something these rather educated young women desperately need: Recognition of their abilities, which they certainly have, a voice in a world that tells them they must be quiet, and outlet to make a difference when the only difference you’ll ever make is the number of children you’re able to bear. It’s a form of secret intellectuality, one that they’re not supposed to have, so they mask it with books about how to fill your empty days helping a parents who don’t really need your help.
And finally, I often feel like there is a lot of anger in those books. Sometimes, I feel like “I am miserable in my cage, so I’m explaining you how to make a cage like this yourself, so we can be miserable together” is written between the lines. The books are often full of radical, extremist views, doing nothing but putting down women who have chosen a different life, telling them how much God hates women who try to make things work by themselves.
Do we really need more books on singleness? More books on what to do with all that spare time? And, even more interesting, what does that say about a generation of young women?