There’s a bit of a viral discussion going on, and since it involves some people I already follow online on opposite sides of the debate, I figured I may as well join in.
It’s that whole “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos” thing. Written by Lori Alexander.
First I saw the reaction from Phylicia Masonheimer and then from Katie Emerson. Both I have followed for a while now and I generally like their content. Pretty much my take away was that the original article was “shaming” and “legalistic.” I didn’t bother reading the article, (and I initially only watched a little bit of Katie’s video) cuz this thought entered my head:
“Is this from one of those Christian groups who saw how bad secular culture is and swung to the other extreme and a bit too obsessed with female submission, and all women must stay at home, always wear skirts, and blah blah it sounds so boring and like the cover of those Christian romances set in Amish places? And the women all sound so quiet and nice and fragile, like how would they stand against Commies if they ever invaded? Meh. Hello apathy.”
Then I read other blogs I occasionally check out, and also Wintery Knight’s blog, and they were supportive of the article.
So I read the article in question.
I do not understand the fuss.
It wasn’t some extreme legalism, it was pretty much: “Hey, Christian men like Christian women who take God’s commands seriously. So, young women, it’s a good idea to think about this for marriage preparation.” Possibly a bit of a rigid, legalist tinge, but I observed enough nuances to not be too concerned about it in this case. As such there were a couple of smaller points I disagreed with, and I want to address those at the end. Overall it just didn’t bash me in the face with any sense of control freakdom. It maybe just made me think, “Well, there are some people with different bents in life, and I’m not quite this style, but the main points still stand.”
But I do not understand the backlash. Except that it appears to be a classic case of missing the point of the article and inserting another, more personal, interpretation. It is a reaction dynamic that any human has from time to time. People need to be aware of their own biases and of others biases, especially in articles that try to present themselves as 100% truth. (Personality bleeds through writing very easily, did you know that?)
Add to that the complication that Lori Alexander quoted another woman’s ideas, and offered commentary on them, including some disagreement about it, particularly over the matter of men teaching their wives submission and such. A sore point from the reactions I saw. But Lori advised against such an idea and said it is older women who are called to teach such things.
So there was misinterpretation there, and I consider that pretty critical.
The last point ties into the college aspect. Lori’s final thought on college was simply that “(…I would agree that most men don’t want to marry a woman with a load of debt! That isn’t right to bring into a marriage.)”
Not: “Men must teach women, and only in the home, nowhere else. Blah blah blah Super Rigid Rules of Doom.”
Nothing about women shouldn’t go to college. Just be careful about it.
There are many reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, sexually available, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.
Part of that is simply the secular culture. I did notice that when I went to college for a bit, there were some other homeschooled girls who joined, and as time went on it became apparent they fell in with a bad kind of crowd. They did become less modest and more liberal in politics. Who knows if it was peer pressure, or if they didn’t have as solid a foundation of conviction as you’d think nice homeschoolers would have. (Especially given that I was just a 17-year-old at the time and was naive about “Everyone is obsessed with politics and how Leftists are messing things up, right?”)
I will have another point related to that quote later on. Back on topic:
Debt makes things harder. It’s something a couple needs to think about. It’s sensible advice for women to consider, “Is this man I’m interested in able to handle his debt, can we make this work?”
I suppose there may be more emphasis on the woman, cuz if a woman wants to stay home and raise her kids, yet brings in a large debt that she can’t pay off herself…that makes things hard.
Giant debts cause stress and economic consequences. Marriage requires handling your finances well. Financial arguments can rock a marriage, and learning frugality is vitally important. How you handle money reflects your responsibility. It’s about practicality and logistics.
So, for the young people out there, pause and consider why you plan on going to college. Is it an autopilot response from you because of societal expectations? Or do you know what job you want, know what kind of cost it will take to get there, and know how open that job is to new workers? Speculate how you’d live and what kind of budgets you need for different levels of debt and salary. Speculative budgets are kind of fun, actually. Real budgets with debt are not fun.
Think outside the box enough that you end up with only $10,000 in debt, and not $100,000. Pay it off quickly. Go for a one or two year trade certificate, rather than four years of university. Whatever it takes, think through your options before starting.
Or think outside the box enough to see if you even need to go to college to get work.
And if all else fails, look up Dave Ramsey.
(Just don’t become a socialist and hope that will fix all your economic woes. It’ll fail miserably. And people will die.)
Don’t be on Expensive Autopilot, people.
Kids vs. College
“(Is college worth having fewer children? I will never understand how women prefer careers over having precious babies.)”
Some of the response to this was that people felt like, “Women are just supposed to stay home and have kids and not do anything else ever?!” Well, peeps, I’m guessing that an older woman who has watched her kids grow up is way more attached to the role of motherhood and being in close relationship with others over career. Some people don’t have massive career drive, they have massive relational drive. Can you sense the potential for personality differences? How mindsets can paint entirely different pictures and goals for people?
I may as well say I can’t understand people who would be willing to go into a lot of debt to get a college degree.
Some people have religious convictions that tattoos are inherently wrong. I doubt they are the majority among Christians, but it is a thing.
Some don’t like them aesthetically. I personally find that ink makes the skin look duller, and for larger or more numerous tattoos, I tend to wonder how someone can stand having the same “accessories” on all the time. Smaller, symbolically significant tattoos are way more sensible. Those make sense to me even if I wouldn’t get one. I mean, go for the cross tattoo on the wrist, ain’t no way someone can mark you with 666! (Not that I think the End Times are near, but the contrast is the point.)
In fact, simple cross tattoos on the hand or wrist are not only common, but even expected among Middle Eastern Christians.
The Western church is a bit different from that.
I personally find that, aside from the military, the type of people who really get into tattoos and get a lot of them do not have a similar lifestyle vibe to me. I guess they feel like hippie artists. Or hipster artists? Just ain’t my art style.
And there is the inconvenient fact that often criminals and gangs uses tattoos to identify themselves, or even worse, human traffickers use them to brand their victims.
This is obviously a truly subjective matter compared to the other points…and it wasn’t really talked about in the article…?
This is already quite long, and the last point is the one I am really concerned about as far as the response goes.
I think it will take up another post. It’s where all the big theology stuff is at.
Final Thought on that Quote
“Secular universities […] it teaches them to be independent, loud, sexually available, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.”
Katie Emerson got really riled up at this portion. Specifically on the loud vs. quiet spirit part. She’s a very enthusiastic, energetic person, an ESFP. So I can understand it when she said she got this kind of teaching too much and it was terribly painful. I think us other SPs can relate! Even though I am the taciturn, coldly silent ISTP, I can get loud at times too.
In the context of Loud + Immodest + Sexually Available — What does Loud really equal?
I think it’s about being obnoxious and indiscreet. Being noisy when the situation does not call for it.
Unfortunately I can well understand that the general teaching of “Women should be meek and quiet spirits” doesn’t focus on that contrast with immorality, and is instead just literal.
“Don’t be loud. That’s rude. It’s unfeminine. Blah blah.”
Shout to the Lord, all the Earth, let us sing…
Is your loudness praising God, or is your loudness telling inappropriate jokes? Pretty sure I know Katie’s “loudness” is the former.
Come on people, that’s gotta be what this principle is really about.
Is loudness really the trouble? Or is a troubled spirit with “noisy” thoughts the problem?
Be calm. Be in control of yourself. Be the kind of person who is not freaking out and not anxious. Cuz boy do I know how a woman who is anxious all the time can wreck things!
If literal loudness is a problem, it’s from a lack of situational awareness. It’s like that Proverb about a man considering it a curse if his neighbor loudly blesses him in the morning. (Proverbs 27:14)
Okay, at this point I’m likely rambling. Enough has been written for now.