Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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why would someone want to keep their courtship secret?

As I went over my blog stats, I saw this question pop up in the search engine list. I thought it was kind of self-explanatory, but obviously not everybody understands why a courtship might be kept secret (in certain groups/families).

First off, not every girl (or family) feels the need to keep a courtship a secret. As you can imagine, some girls are so happy about being courted that they just can’t keep it to themselves. Openly talking about courtship is something you’ll see in the more “liberal” groups of the P/QF movement. It’s especially important to differentiate between P and QF here – strictly patriarchical families are more likely to keep it secret than families with a strong emphasis on the QF theologies.

And yes, there are families who aren’t patriarchical but live quiverfull. Others again are full-blown patriarchical families, but don’t believe in the quiverfull theologies (aka NFP and sometimes condoms are allowed, but it’s the man who decides when the wife will get pregnant).

The thing is simply that the patriarchs feel very much like they have to use the (successful) courtships of their daughters to show off how well they filtered potential suitors before hand. A failed courtship can imply that the father did not pick well and this might reflect back and his authority and leadership skills – at least in the public eye of the movements. Of course this isn’t true for every case, but the motto is usually “better safe than sorry”.

And it’s not just the fathers. In very strict groups, a girl turns into “damaged goods” faster than you might think. Even a failed courtship might label her as damaged goods and have a negative influence on the range of future suitors. It’s all about the “value of the bride”.

Imagine you’re in a store for soft pillows. The shelves are full of soft, handmade, expensive pillows. Lots of people come in to buy pillows. Now, some pillows might have attracted more customers in the past – they look a tiny bit “touched”, there might even be a little stain. They’ve never been slept on (no pun intended), but one or the other customer already picked it up to inspect it more closely. Now, if you do want a flawless pillow, you won’t even buy the “inspected” ones – you’ll go for the ones in the back, the ones nobody ever inspected, fresh from the storage room – if possible still wrapped in plastic.

It works very much like that in strict courtship movements. If a girl has one, or, even worse, more than one, failed courtships, there’s something “wrong” about her. A girl breaking off a courtship is something rather “wild”. The idea is that the girl will certainly like the man her dad picked out because, well, her dad knows her best. If you hear of broken courtships, the general idea that comes to mind is that the guy broke it off for some reason (or the dad, which then would be kept secret again because dad doesn’t pick “the wrong guy”). The girl’s value decreased with every courtship she goes through. She’ll be labelled damaged, easy to get, high maintenance and so forth. And simply because of that, it’s so much easier to keep courtships secret until the day of engagement.

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Preparing for marriage and kids

Much of the way girls are raised in the QF/P movements is to prepare them for married life. Of course, some families and communities support college for girls to ensure a well-rounded character (within the limits of that group or family, of course). You will typically see girls and young women taking online courses on things such as literature, culture, nursing and other medical classes, nutrition and so on. It’s easy to tell that all of this is things you can use at home, either to teach your own girls the beautiful girly things (literature), to be able to perform first aid and to cook a well-balanced meal. You’ll hardly ever see these girls taking classes like law, architecture or physics. It’s just not a useful thing to know as a wife and mother.

But among the most important preparations to be a wife is child-rearing. Of course there’s always children around. If the family doesn’t have enough children on their own the daughters will help other big families and perform ministries that prepare them for a lot of kids.

My family was lucky enough to have a big bunch of kids that I could prepare with. Except that I didn’t feel like I was being prepared at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings more than anything. I simply didn’t have the patience to take care of 4-6 kids at a time. If I had only one or two I was fine. That seemed easy to me. I was able to stay in relative control of the situation. But as soon as there were 3 or more, things got really messy. You know how kids are, they scream, run and tease each other. They fight. They might play nice for half an hour and suddenly one starts crying for one reason or another.

I had a completely different style of relating to my siblings than my mother did. My Mom was always a good Mom, but she was very much a hen. It started to upset me that she acted this way with the younger ones when I was in my teens, knowing that she would “ruin” what I had accomplished the day before. Whenever one of the kids got hurt – and you know they fall or hurt themselves a lot – she focused on the tiniest things. If one fell outside in the garden and barely even scratched his or her knee, she would swoon all over the little one, showering it with pity and hugs and kisses and sentences like “Oh it looks so bad. Does it hurt? My poor baby!”. I caught myself rolling my eyes more than once a day at that. It was barely a scratch! It didn’t bleed! She fell on the grass, it couldn’t possibly hurt that much! But no, my Mother had them sit on their lap for about 10 minutes, letting them cry, telling them how bad it is and so on. Whenever one fell when I was close, I grabbed them, sat them on the kitchen counter, checked their knees and cleaned them if necessary, told them it’s not bad at all and quickly changed to a cheerful conversation of what we had to do next. As long as Mom wasn’t close, they quickly forgot about their tiny hurts and started laughing again. But whenever Mom was in range, they’d scream my ears off and push me away so they could get Mom’s attention. I mean, I understand that this was partially because it meant individual time with Mom, but it upset me that I had to deal with a cranky little one for 30 minutes just because Mom had to put so much attention to tiny matters. Once the little one came back from Mom, it would stand a bit further away, hugging a teddy or a blanket, and when the other ones asked the little one to come back to play, they’d say something along the lines of “I can’t. I’m hurt badly.” Eye rolling from me.

On other occasions, I felt so overwhelmed by the sheer needs of the kids. I remember days where I had only 2 or 3 of them to watch, that wasn’t many kids at all! And yet I could be close to tears and feel so ashamed for being unable to deal with that little kids. I felt like I was going to make a terrible wife.

I remember one occasion where I had 2 of the boys and one of the smaller girls to watch. They played in the boy’s room while I was sorting through their closet. They jumped on the beds, played dragon and princess and screamed bloody hell. I was exhausted that day, I had gotten up even earlier than usual, got scolded by my parents for not doing some chores the day before (because I didn’t have time, just to add that) and had to those chores as well as the new ones. And the screaming of the kids made me incredibly angry. I stood there repeating over and over “Keep it down guys!” – “Be careful, don’t jump!” – “Don’t hit your sister with a stick!” – “Keep it DOWN!”. This went on for about 20 minutes and wouldn’t stop, so I turned around, grabbed them all by their arms, had them look at me and told them to either keep it down and play nice or to go outside. The oldest of the three, my brother, laughed at me and said “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not Mom!”. I grabbed his arm a bit harder and said, very seriously: “Mom told me to watch you. I CAN tell you what to do!” He kept laughing and wriggled his arm free. He them took his “sword” and yelled: “LISA IS THE DRAGON! ATTACK!” and all three of them started whacking at me with their swords, my little sister grabbed one too even. The other two were too small to really get it. Oh wow was I angry. I was feeling tears in my eyes and an incredible urge to – excuse me – beat my brother with anything I could find. Instead, I took his sword away, grabbed him by the arms and held him, yelled at the two small ones to sit down RIGHT NOW, dragged my brother to the bathroom and sat him down on the toilet and told him to stay there until I called him back in. He screamed and screamed at me, face red, kicked at me, the full show. The other two started crying because I had yelled at them, my brother ran off and screamed and cried and left me sitting in the bathroom. I locked myself in for half an hour to calm down and cry some.

I was so ashamed of being such a terrible mother. I couldn’t even control 3, how should I ever managed 10 or more? And this is just one example. This happened so often, me trying to be nice and not use any violence and ending up with something like that – me defeated, the kids winning and laughing at me. I would never make a good mother.

And then again, there were situations were I got upset at my sisters for doing what they were supposed to do. I remember one occasion where one of my smaller sisters, she was 5 or 6 at that time, played with the real small ones of another family. The little girl was just starting to walk and wanted to explore, of course. My little sister kept holding her hand and helping her around. But she wanted to play doll with that little girl, so she kept sitting the little one on her lap. The little one struggled to get away from my sister to play with the other kids, who were playing and running around on the grass. My sister kept holding her. When the little one started to wail because she couldn’t get away from my sister, my sister started to “console” the crying little one, sang songs and rocked it back and forth. She didn’t get the little one didn’t want to stay. The others ran over and asked my sister to come play but she replied “I can’t. I have the baby and she’s crying.”. I watched the scene and felt anger rise up in me. Why was she so insistent to keep the baby? The little one cried more and more, my sister looking all serious, asking what’s wrong, shhhing it, singing and looking like a little Mom, while watching the others play. And that was the point where I lost my patience. I went over to her and told her that the baby didn’t want to sit on her lap. She answered “Yes she doesn, she’s crying can’t you see?”. I told her the baby was crying because she was holding it. She let it go then and the baby quickly got to her feet and started walking away, now happy again. I turned around to go away, after a few steps looking back at the scene just to see my sister off to catch the baby again, forcing it on her lap, doing the same thing. NOW I was angry. I stomped over to her, took the baby away and yelled at her:

“Stop it! Quit acting like you’re a grown up! You’re a kid, go play! YOU’RE NOT A GROWN UP! You’re not supposed to play baby’s Mom!”

I can’t explain where that came from. She was supposed to do exactly that. But seeing it made me so angry. She started crying and ran inside. I let the baby down, the baby just being happy to be finally free. But I felt so bad. Had I just yelled at my sister for doing what we were trying to teach her? She ran to my parents and told them about it, my Dad coming outside to yell at me what I was thinking, that I did the wrong thing and I should let her play with the baby. I went inside, excusing myself, to cry about my weird behaviour. I didn’t get why I said that. I didn’t get why it made me so angry. Once again I felt ashamed for being such a terrible mother.

You see, while all of that was supposed to prepare me for married life and kids, it instead scared me. It made me feel inadequate and stupid. Until this day I feel like the only thing it taught me was that I neither want nor am able to have more than two kids myself. I feel like I have already raised enough kids in my life and doing it again doesn’t seem like something I want to do any time soon. The fact that I love my siblings doesn’t change that I don’t feel suited to raise kids. I keep wondering, if I didn’t have this many siblings, our family would’ve been so different, I might have never left, and might have gotten married, and might have ended up with 10 myself. I’d be thrown into the cold water just to realize that I’m not made for that. I guess I’m glad I could at least learn that.


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Quiverful men and why they can’t leave

Libby Anne is starting to put the questions for her Raised Quiverful project together. And just now I realized that, though I read all blogs written by the people who participated, there’s one person whose answers I’m most curious about. And that person is Joe from Incongruous Circumspection. I don’t mean to insult the women who answered in any way, I dearly love reading their blogs as well and I’m curious about their answers too. I think I’m so curious to read Joe’s answers because he is the only man to answer.

It’s so rare to read about men who lived in the P/QF movements and left them. It seems as if they don’t exist! Now, you could certainly argue on a gender based foundation, saying that women simply feel more comfortable talking about such emotional topics, that they talk more anyway, and that it’s easier for them to word these things because they know their emotions better than men do.

I don’t think that’s the (only) reason. I’ve been thinking about it and this is what I came up with:

In the P/QF movements, men model Christ with all they do, and they’re supposed to possess qualities such as strength both physical and emotional, intelligence, discipline, leader skills, responsibility, self-sacrifice by working and providing and so on. Women on the other hand are submissive, meek and quiet, simple (-minded), following their husbands who, as I said, are like Christ to them. Men are leaders, women are followers.

When a woman breaks free of these structures, she certainly will face a lot of problems with the circles she’s leaving. She’ll be called rebellious, evil, sinful, worldly. But you can’t ignore what she’s doing at that point: From being a follower, she strives to be strong, self-governed, responsible. She tries to equalize herself with men and, ultimately, with Christ. While that’s negative within the P/QF communities, she’ll be respected in the ‘real’ world. She’ll probably experience a lot of positive feedback from the normal people she meets, who will tell her she was right and strong. A woman always breaks free of rather negative characteristics and adapts positive (manly) characteristics.

Do not forget that women are blamed for ‘feminine’ men. It’s not the men who give up their strength, it’s always women who take it away from them. The strong woman is feared in the movement. She is something you have to scream about, criticize and beat to show her her place in the world. It takes a lot of violence to make a woman submit – or at least try to do that.

Now, men are never blamed for a loss of their power. It’s always women who take it. Men are generally attributed all these positive characteristics and the second they reject any part of this system – watch out, this is where it gets interesting – they lose their Christ-likeness. They voluntary step down from their position of power to a lower position – namely that of a woman. They lessen themselves by rejecting the P/QF beliefs. They supposedly admit their weakness, their lack of responsibility and intelligence, their lack of leadership skills.

While a woman who leaves is strong (in the position that only men should have), a man is weak and scared, retreating into the passive position of a woman.

And while a woman who leaves gets all this positive affirmation from the normal world, what do men get? Even in the normal world, they might seem weak and emotionally unstable. Even for the normal world, he loses his position of a ‘man’. And that’s precisely what I think doesn’t only keep most men from talking about their experiences, it’s also what stops men from leaving those movements in the first place.

No matter how you turn it, a woman will always be in a positive, strong position, a man will always be in the weak position. I can fully understand every man who is afraid of losing his entire manliness because of this. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t leave to preserve this manliness. But I understand what makes it so much harder to show ‘rebellious’ characteristics as a man.


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God hates fags, that’s why he made AIDS.

Heard that one before?

I remember my Dad looking at a man who was supposedly gay (not officially). Dad (note: I mistyped God here first… Freudian slip?) told us kids that God hates “fags”. Sodomites! Perverse ones who engage in perverse sodomy. I had not the slightest clue what sodomy really was – it could’ve been a sinful game of cards for all I knew. But Dad said that God hated fags, so I hated fags too. I said that out loud when I was small and those were the days I was Daddy’s girl.

My Dad told us kids that sodomy – being gay – caused AIDS. In the 20th century, when more and more sodomites appeared, and when people started taking drugs and sleeping with each other without being married, he made AIDS to make all of those people suffer and ultimately to kill them. I was really afraid of getting too close to gay people. I didn’t want to get their AIDS! I was afraid that their gayness would rub onto me and then I’d have AIDS and die and go to hell because I committed sodomy. Some days I was so afraid, I didn’t even want the guy at the checkout counter touch my hand when he gave me my change. He looked so stylish, I bet he was one of those AIDS-fags. I once saw a transvestite when we took a day trip to a bigger city, and it scared me half to death. I swear, if he had come into the shop we were in, I would’ve run out crying, afraid of him spewing out AIDS.

I’m thankful I don’t have to think that way any more. I’m not afraid of gay people any more. But that took a lot of convincing. And a lot of making sense of it. I want to go through some of the questions I asked myself in order to understand what it’s really about.

1. AIDS is something gays and promiscuous people get.

Partially true. Being faithful to each other helps prevent AIDS. But so do condoms. Aids is mostly something careless people get, excluding the ones who got it for other reasons (rape, trusting their spouse and being cheated on, blood transfer etc). I don’t believe that infected people run around forcing people not to use condoms. It’s a mutual decision. It can be prevented if everyone takes responsibility for themselves – and others. I do not mean to offend infected people with this. We all make bad calls, trust the wrong people, get carried away by the moment. It’s human. It takes an effort to constantly remind yourself not to make those bad decisions and I don’t mean to blame anyone who made one or two mistakes – I make them all the time, too.

2. AIDS is something gay people are punished with.

Not true at all. If two gay men get tested, get married and live faithfully together, they won’t get it. If a heterosexual couple doesn’t get tested or cheat on each other, they might get it.

What’s funny to me at this point is that the fundamentalists point out that it’s a curse for all homosexuals. But what about lesbians? You hardly ever hear of infected lesbians! Shouldn’t they be affected just as much as gay men? Matter of fact, You hardly ever find them in the statistics even. Because AIDS transfers via massive exchange of body fluids, and even better if it’s anally due to physical aspects. Women don’t produce massive amounts of fluids to begin with, hence it’s very hard to get it even if you’re sleeping with an infected person. The logic of the punishment for homosexuals crumbles when you look at this. Because, simply by this logic, I’d have to supposed that being a homosexual man is more sinful than a heterosexual person is more sinful than being a homosexual woman. If I don’t apply this sentence, that means that God fails to punish certain people for the exact same sin, and that doesn’t make sense at the end of the day. If God wanted to punish anybody, I’m sure he would do it right – read the old testament for more information on this.

3. Aids is a punishment period.

http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm

0.8% of the world population are HIV-infected. 1.3 Million in North America (including Canada, so take out some here to get the US number).

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/cancer-prevalence

6.5 Million US-Americans have (diagnosed!!!) cancer. No numbers on how many people actually have it including those who don’t know they do (obviously).

I was taught that people who have Aids are being punished. You can actually have a decent life with Aids these days. Imagine how many people die a cruel, slow death from cancer. How many more have it. How many fundamentalists have it. So what’s that talk about punishment?

Oooooh I forgot. Of course. If a non-christian gets sick, he’s being punished. If a christian gets sick, he’s being tested. Silly me.

I feel terrible that I used to think that way about people, no matter if they’re straight, bi, gay, whatever. Seriously ashamed. I swallowed up everything I was served. At one point because I was too young to know better and get informed, at another because I was too ignorant and scared to question it. I really wish I could make up for it somehow, but I don’t think that works. I wish I could apologize to every gay man (because, funny enough, I never even considered gay women!) as well as to every HIV-infected person (whatever they might be) for thinking that way about them.


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How to find a spouse?! – Part 2

I love my commentors! hehe Yesterday’s post received a comment and I wanted to add some more along the lines.

Comment by Latebloomer: “In my family’s church, the spin was a little bit different because compatibility was downplayed. The pastor taught that marriage was about sanctification, not happiness, so really any godly person could marry any other godly person. Your personality didn’t matter. In my opinion, this is a really irresponsible teaching to direct at singles, and I’m glad I found someone that I had a deep connection with because we are very compatible. I actually just wrote about this on my blog yesterday, haha. It must be spring :) .”

I didn’t even think about happiness and emotion when I wrote my post, but it’s such a huge deal!

Now, even when you’re believing that there is “the one”, emotion, happiness and love aren’t what you’re looking for. To quote countless sites and people talking about this issue: “Love is not an emotion, it’s an action. Love is not an adjective, it’s a verb. It’s something you do, not something you feel.”

I think this pretty much sums up what the movement preachers think about marriage. You don’t marry someone you love, you (as a woman) marry someone whom you can support and help achieve life goals, such as missioning. And as a man, you look for a woman who has all the abilities you need as support. Emotion is generally something that is not needed to start a courtship or get engaged. Love (emotion) isn’t even something you need to feel once you’re married!

For them, as love isn’t an emotion, all you need to do to “love” someone is.. well… let’s make a list!

Men loving a woman: Providing for her, listening to her, giving her gifts, respecting her mood swings, protecting her, being her spiritual leader, correcting her, training her.

Woman loving a man: Submit to him, respect him, fulfill his sexual needs whenever he needs it, follow him, share his vision, be a good mother and home maker, don’t talk back, don’t correct him even when he’s clearly wrong.

These are just the most common ones I could name off the top of my head. Depending on the author/church you’re looking at, there might be much more things to do to “love” someone. And some of the points I mentioned do sound very weird! For example the giving gifts part. They might not express it the way I did, but they certainly all mean it: A man should buy flowers/candies/give her massages every once in a while. The core of this idea is a very nice one, but it’s turned into an obligation here, and in that it means nothing if you ask me. Gifts are only worth something if they come from the heart, if they show thought, and as obligation they are nothing more than a meaningless duty.

One point that has bothered me to great extend, even more than the “submit” talk, is the “fulfill his sexual needs” part. Believe me, during my courtship I was given plenty of books to prepare to be a good wife and all of them stressed this issue. What you’ll typically read is something like this: “even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. Get pretty and do it. Offer it even if you’re tired and not in the mood. Be cheerful and happy during, show him that you enjoy it, even if you don’t.”

Can you imagine that? Out of the seven days the week has, would you feel good having sex with your husband every day if you don’t feel like it at all on 5 of the 7 days? As a man, would you enjoy it if you knew that there is no enjoyment for the woman? That she does it only and purely out of obligation? I think that’s a terrible thought. I know I wouldn’t enjoy something the other person is forced to do. Just like the gifts, it means nothing when it isn’t done out of love and honest joy.

So where does all that talk leave christian couples?

All of those fundamentalist speakers, authors and churches talk about the fact that there are so many divorces among the non-believers. They blame it on the fact that people marry out of emotion-love, not action-love. Besides the fact that this is untrue, because with emotion-love action-love usually comes naturally, of course christian couples don’t get divorces because they don’t love each other anymore! They didn’t love each other to begin with. Sure there are couples who are in love. Sure most couples have at least a crush on each other when they’re courting. But that doesn’t mean that emotional love will actually come – and stay. And because this part of a relationship is so unimportant, it’s easy to say you’re still loving each other when by love you mean actions out of obligation. None of the partners in a fundamentalist christian marriage want to break biblical law, hence they will keep up all the actions needed to qualify as “love”.

I’m not saying that none of the points I mentioned before are bad or not a sign of true love. If you bring your woman flowers because you thought of her that day, want to apologize, or simply want to see her happy smile, perfect! Go for it! If you give up your dream to help your husband fulfill his dream because you love him, good for you (and him)! Do it before you end up wondering for the rest of your life! Everything you do out of true, emotional love is worth doing in my opinion. Everything you do out of pure obligation, something you despise or would not do unless forced by some sort of law, give it some honest thought if your actions are really worth the price.

What good is it for the partners if nothing is done out of true love, but only because they have to? Of course we all have to do things we don’t like doing sometimes. That’s life. But if life is nothing but obligation, and your only joy the freedom of guilt, not the joy of seeing the other person’s smile when you did something for them… Yeah… That’s not the life us fundamentalist girls dream of when we wait for Prince Charming.


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How to find a spouse?!

There are two beliefs within the movement about looking for a spouse (that I know of, there might be more). Basically, beliefs divide into two groups here: The ones who believe in “the one” and the ones who believe in “choice”.

Basically, the choice believers believe that God didn’t make two people who are absolutely perfect for one another. There are multiple people in the world who would end up being a good match for each person and you still got to pick one of them. There’s choice involved in this.

The other (bigger) group believes that God made one single perfect match for everyone. You have to wait for God to bring that person into your life and nobody else can make a marriage as perfect as this single person could. These are usually the people who strongly believe in the purity movements.

My family belonged to the latter group. While the first group leaves choice and preferences, allowing a man to actually “look” for a wife, the other group doesn’t allow “looking”. It’s all about waiting and seeing what happens – obviously the man still has to make the first step, but only if he feels God is telling him that this is “the one”.

I have major issues with the entire mindset of waiting on God, believing in “the one” and, maybe, even being called to stay single for life. I do not think that the bible means to express this mindset. I think it’s false prophesy and causes a lot of hurt in a lot of people.

Why? Well, I base my belief on the following verse:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.(1 Cor 7, 8-9)

Uh uh. So… where did that “one” go? Where did that “God will bring them into your life if you’re supposed to marry” go? I don’t think that’s what’s meant here. What I read is: Paul thinks people should decide whether they should marry or not depending on the fact if they can stay pure without being married (or not). I think this single verse blows up the entire construct of waiting and just taking it if God doesn’t send you “the one”.

I have always had major issues with people discussing this verse away, trying to spin the actual, literal meaning. I think that this is a general issue with Paul’s writings. Too often they are abused and twisted to suit the needs of the individual. Paul has written some of the most beautiful passages in the bible, and some of the most misunderstood, and yes, some of Paul’s writings are the complete opposite of something else in the bible.

I’m not trying to say that there isn’t “the one” for you, neither am I saying that there’s only “one”. I don’t really know what I’m saying, to be quite honest with you. I don’t know what to believe in this area. It’s just hard for me to imagine that there could be only one single person you can spend your life with, you know? I mean, I like to think I’m pretty easy-going, social life wise. I might not be the woman everyone looks up to, respects, is impressed by, but neither am I the person people don’t like or even hate. It’s easy for me to get along with different personalities because I try to accept everyone for what they are – the posh, heavy make up girly girl who talks about lipstick all day long, I understand her because it’s something that she enjoys, just like I can talk to the tomboy type of woman who likes football more than anything and cries when her favourite team lost. And likewise, I love the different personalities of several men I know, some are more quiet, deep thinking and emotional, others loud, funny and sporty. They’re all fine the way they are.

When I was out with some friends on the weekend, I had a quiet conversation with a friend of a friend, a man. I’ll admit he was a bit drunk, but we talked about his family and his struggles, something that he hardly ever talks about. Suddenly he asked me if I could imagine to date him. I laughed because I didn’t take that question very serious, after all, he was drunk! But he put on a serious face and I gave it a quick thought and this is what I said: “Well, you’re really handsome, you’re smart, much smarter than me, you’re a good listener and a hard worker, you’re interesting and lots of fun to be around, all in all you’re the type of guy all women would like to date – but no, I can’t imagine dating you – at all.” All of what I said was 100% true. I keep wondering why my answer was no. Well, obviously I can’t imagine because I already have a wonderful man I date, but that’s not all of it. There must be something more to it. By no means I believe I found “the one” with Daniel. I can’t say that after such a short time! I don’t know, I just keep wondering! The man who asked me this question looks A LOT like Daniel – the stereotypical tall dark and handsome guy.

At the end of the day what I end up with is: I think most people are compatible with a larger amount of people. In this group of matches, there might be one, two, maybe even three exceptionally perfect ones. But you can make it work either way. Does that make sense?


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The female J.O.Y and the male J.O.Y

I’ve received some comments about my last post on JOY in which people described a very similar “illness” of being very afraid of making decisions and the (imagined) reactions you might end up getting. And Holly, another commenter, pointed out the following:

“There is something I have never understood about “JOY”. If person A puts person B ahead of themselves, then person B is putting themself ahead of person A. Therefor, “JOY” hinges on at least one person being selfish. For example, Jack needs a ride to the airport but Jill needs to study. If both follow JOY, Jack would never dream of asking Jill for a ride but on the other hand, Jill would feel compelled to drive Jack. Ergo, one or the other would have to routinely impose on the other. Is that how it works in actual practice?”

This pretty much hits the nail on the head. Of course it doesn’t work like that in real life! But why?

I came up with the fact that there isn’t actually just one JOY practice – there’s two. The one females practice, and the one males practice. Let me go into detail.

We know that women are raised to believe that they are subject to the men in their lives. Now a good subject obviously does what you demand of it. And this is where JOY comes in: As a girl, you are to serve your parents. They come first. You are serving them like Gods. Whatever they demand of you, you do it. There is no talking back because that’s selfish (and harshly punished). Your parents, or better, your father, may put you into somewhat of a position of power over your siblings, arguing that this would in fact teach responsibility and the ability to make decisions. That’s plain wrong, You still carry out the orders your father gave you and you do not get to make any decisions at all.

Later on, once married, your husband is your head, which, again, gives you a “God” to serve. And again, since you are always serving others, there is no decision-making for you to do. The only the decisions you really might get to make are decisions that affect ‘only you’. Mind you, what ‘only you’ means depends on your husbands opinion. While in some marriages the color of your eyeshadow might be your business, in others it is not. I have seen marriages in which the woman didn’t get a say in what she would wear, cook or clean. There are husbands who actually make plans for it, husbands who will have you return clothes he doesn’t absolutely love and so on.

The entire problem with JOY is that it doesn’t work once two people (of equal level) want different things. And that’s exactly where biblical proof for structures of authority comes in. And it’s also were things get really screwed up!

And the matter is worsened by a ‘relatively’ new but very very big controversy in the movement. “Let men be men”. I’m saying relatively new because this problem with manliness wasn’t so prominent, say, 10 years ago. If you haven’t heard it yet, imagine this as the counter-theory to “metrosexuality”. A man who puts on face cream isn’t manly. Men become more feminine, at least that’s what the fundamentalists say. And why is that? Exactly, because women don’t let men be ‘real’ men. This automatically put EVERY man, yes, every man, in a position of power.

The let men be men hype is very popular especially among very young fundamentalist girls, see the Duggars who don’t claim to practice it but if you watch the show, you see clear signs of it, see the Ludys who openly proclaim it, see various blogs and authors of fundamentalist QF literature.

You end up with a very dangerous mixture of both philosophies, putting women in a place of mere voicelessness, a place were saying, doing, even thinking anything that might make a man look less is immediately followed by the JOY mantra, put the others first, let the man be the man!

A man is to lead his family well. Now what leading means might be a stretch again. In general it means decision-making. Men make decisions because it’s their responsibility. They are raised to make them. They don’t end up in this JOY trap where they end up crying because they asked to order Pizza instead of Chinese. They are not afraid of wearing green instead of blue. For men, JOY means to tell others what to do and ultimately to express their needs and wants in order to be a good leader, to enable their servants to be able to serve them best. Don’t want to be a stumbling block, after all, and let the man be the man!

And yes, it means that some men actually thing they are sacrificing themselves for their wives because they take the time off their free time to make the cleaning and cooking plans, to look through their clothes and tell them what they like and what they don’t.

In a world where the man is the leader and the woman is a mere servant, JOY really only affects one gender and that is female. Men don’t need to worry about JOY because as long as their “leading” by telling others what to do and how to please them, they’re already practicing it. For a woman however, JOY is a daily struggle of crying because it seems you’re just not able to shut up those tiny voices inside telling you what YOU want, asking you why, yet again, you have to give up even the desert in order to be someone else’s doormat.

Sounds too crazy? Best indicator that you’re reading something about P/QF.

Last question: What does happen if two people of the same level of authority get into this conflict? Typically age would be the factor to decide what to do, hence the older person would be served first. However, if we take the given scenario Holly came up with: If Jack and Jill were married, Jill would delay her studies. If Jack was her brother the same would be true. If they were not married, Jill would keep studying because she’s actually ‘serving’ her future husband by studying – plus, Jack and Jill wouldn’t be allowed to be alone in the car anyway.