House Proud The troubling rise of stay-at-home daughters

“Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out 
independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has 
the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.’”

“Daughters aren't to be independent. They're not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they're under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can't just go out 
independently and say, 'I'm going to marry whoever I want.' No. The father has 
the ability to say, 'No, I'm sorry, that has to be approved by me.'”

There's a lot of talk in American mainstream media lately 
about the diminishing role of men—fathers, in particular. Have feminism and reproductive technology made them obsolete? 
Are breadwinning wives and career-oriented mothers emasculating them? No such uncertainty exists in the mind of Doug Phillips, the man quoted above. The San Antonio minister is the founder of Vision Forum, a beachhead for what's known as the Christian Patriarchy Movement, a branch of evangelical Christianity that takes beliefs about men as leaders and women as homemakers to anachronistic extremes. Vision Forum Ministries is, according to its Statements of Doctrine, “committed to affirming the historic faith of Biblical Christianity,” with special attention to the historical faith found in the book of Genesis, when God created Eve as a “helper” to Adam. According to Christian Patriarchy, marriage bonds man (the symbol of Christ) to woman (the symbol of the Church). It's a model that situates husbands and fathers in a position of absolute power: If a woman disobeys her “master,” whether father or husband, she's defying God. Thus, women in the Christian Patriarchy Movement aren't just stay-at-home mothers—they're stay-at-home daughters as well. And many of them wouldn't have 
it any other way. The stay-at-home-daughters movement, which is promoted by Vision Forum, encourages young girls and single women to forgo college and outside employment in favor of training as “keepers at home” until they marry. Young women pursuing their own ambitions and goals are viewed as selfish and antifamily; marriage is not a choice or one piece of a larger life plan, but the ultimate goal. Stay-at-home daughters spend their days learning “advanced homemaking” skills, such as cooking and sewing, and other skills that at one time were a necessity—knitting, crocheting, soap- and candle-making. A father is considered his daughter's authority until he transfers control to her husband. It probably won't surprise you to learn that the CPM shares much of its philosophy with the Quiverfull movement [See “Multiply and Conquer,” Bitch no. 37], which holds that good Christians must eschew birth control—even natural family planning—in order to implement biblical principles and, in the process, outbreed unbelievers. Although the CPM has been around for the past several decades, with its roots in the founding of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and the teachings of religious leaders like Bill Gothard and Rousas J. Rushdoony, the stay-at-home-daughters movement seems to have gained traction in the last decade. Kathryn Joyce, author of the 2009 book Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, estimates the CPM population to be in the low tens of thousands, but the rise of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity over the past several decades makes it difficult to predict how large the CPM following could eventually become. Vision Forum, for its part, is fully dedicated to turning back the clock on gender equality. Its website offers a cornucopia of sex-segregated books and products designed to conform children to rigid gender 
stereotypes starting from an early age. The All-American Boy's Adventure Catalog shills an extensive selection of toy weapons (bow-and-arrow sets, guns, swords, and tomahawks), survival gear, and books and DVDs on war, the outdoors, and science. The Beautiful Girlhood Collection features dolls, cooking and sewing play sets, and costumes. There's no room for doubt about the intended roles these girls will play later on in life. Indeed, the Vision Forum catalog brims with yearning for a simpler, supposedly more secure, and presumably more pious time, with a number of items relating to Western frontier living, a “Grandfather's Classic Toys” collection, manuals on medieval chivalry, and centuries-old titles about manners and modesty. Integral to Vision Forum's belief about female submission is making sure women are not independent at any point in their lives, regardless of age; hence the organization's enthusiasm for stay-at-home daughterhood. The most visible proponents of this belief are Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, sisters and authors of the book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God (published by Vision Forum), and creators of the documentary film Return of the Daughters, which follows several young women staying home until marriage, and details how they spend their time serving their fathers. One woman, Melissa Keen, 25, helps put on Vision Forum's annual Father-Daughter Retreat, an event that's described on Vision Forum's website in terms that are, in a word, discomfiting. (“He leads her, woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter.”) Another, 23-year-old Katie Valenti, enthuses that her father “is the greatest man in my life. I believe that helping my father in his business is a better use of my youth and is helping prepare me to be a better helpmeet for my future husband, rather than indulging in selfishness and pursuing my own success and selfish ambitions.” (A video of Valenti's 2009 wedding to Phillip Bradrick shows her father announcing into a microphone that he is “transferring my authority to you, Phillip.”) In So Much More, the Botkin sisters claim women were much happier before being legally considered men's equals, although, unsurprisingly, they reference no studies, scholarship, or evidence for this. They do, however, quote extensively from girls described as “21st-century heroines of the faith,” or “the young heroines of the underground feminist resistance 
movement,” who claim following submission teachings changed their lives. A stay-at-home daughter named Sarah, for instance, aspired to be an attorney before realizing that her career ambitions displeased God; Fiona left home for college at 18, only to return five years later having experienced much “grief and depression.” Many of the Botkins' fellow believers have taken to the web to extoll the virtues of the stay-at-home- daughter life, spreading their archaic views via the most modern technology. On, which recently ceased operating, Courtney, one of the authors of the website's blog, describes herself as “learning to run and care for a home while under the training of my dear parents.” The section “What We Believe” states that “Stay-at-home daughters are defying cultural standards by purposing to fulfill their role at home, with their family, and under their father's roof and authority until marriage. We are anti-feminism, and we are counter-cultural.” Another blog, Ah the Life, is written by “Miss Kelly and Miss Andrea,” who list among their interests “homemaking, theology, hospitality, and femininity.” Their favorite movies include Return of the Daughters and The Monstrous Regiment of Women, the latter a film that inveighs against feminism via soundbites from, among others, Phyllis Schlafly. (On Hillary Clinton: “She's angry about a lot of things.”) And the blog Joyfully at Home was until recently maintained by Jasmine Baucham, daughter of preacher Voddie Baucham, whose 2009 patriarchy primer, What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter, has chapters titled “He Must Be Prepared to Lead” and “Don't Send a Woman Out to Do a Man's Job.” Jasmine, who was featured in Return of the Daughters, wrote on her blog that she “chose to forgo the typical college experience so that I could live under the discipleship of my parents until marriage,” but her bio nevertheless notes that she is completing a degree in English literature. The number of these blogs and their followers may be surprising to mainstream women, who would likely find the tenets the bloggers live by disturbingly retrograde, if not just plain disturbing. For instance, stay-at-home daughterhood means, among other things, subsuming one's own identity into the family unit. The Botkin sisters write in So Much More that loving your parents means agreeing with all their opinions. “When your parents have your heart you will truly 'delight in their ways,'” write the sisters in one blog post. “You will love what they love, hate what they hate, and desire their approval and company and even 'think thoughts after them.'” The Botkin sisters aim to validate living a life of confinement with staunch, if unfounded, opinions and beliefs regarding college. “College campuses have become dangerous places of anxiety, wasted years, mental defilement and moral derangement,” they write. Although neither of the sisters has attended college, they also claim universities are hotbeds of Marxism that forbid a free exchange of ideas and seek to indoctrinate students in leftist thinking. Elsewhere, they quote a document from the pro-patriarchy website Fathers for Life that states that the “prime purposes of feminism are to establish a lesbian-socialist republic and to dismantle the family unit,” echoing Pat Robertson's notorious statement that feminism is a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” Learning critical thinking and immersion in a diversity of viewpoints and opinions—a chief goal of the college experience—seems to be what the Botkin sisters truly fear. Well, that and Satan—the sisters use the age-old image of women as helpless to resist temptation as another argument against a college education: “Recall that Satan targeted a woman first, too. God's enemies have recognized that women are not only the weaker vessels, and consequently more easily led, but they are incredibly influential over their husbands (think of Eve again) and children, and they make excellent and loyal helpers,” claim the sisters [italics theirs]. The story of one misled college attendee, the providentially named Evangeline, is instructive. A homeschool graduate attending a Christian college away from home, Evangeline recalls, “I will never forget the night I sat on my bed reading [So Much More] until 4 in the morning, weeping over it.” She continues, “My heart had ached for a protected mission, a biblically sound mission, an ancient mission. And here it was! What joy! What relief! I was not designed to be an independent woman, but rather a part of a man's life, a helper.” But not all stay-at-home daughters accept their lot so unquestioningly. A young New Zealander named Genevieve, profiled on the Botkin sisters' blog, decided to live at home until marriage after trading in her dreams of becoming her country's first female prime minister for ambitions to become a Christian homeschooling wife and mother. Now the author of the Isaacharican Daughters newsletter, Genevieve exemplifies how young women in this lifestyle are encouraged to subsume their own thoughts and identities into those of whichever male figure in their lives currently acts as the authority. In writing about the process of swapping her father's “vision” for her new husband's, she notes that a woman having independent thoughts is evidence of Satan gumming up the works.

My loyalties have had to undergo a change. I was used to thinking Dad knew best. Now I needed to learn to think that Pete knows best. I used to do things and invest my time in projects according to what I knew Dad would want me to do. Now I needed to be guided by what Pete wanted me to do. When faced with a problem or option I couldn't think “What would Dad have done in this situation?” Now I had to think “What would Pete do in this situation?” These were exciting times and difficult as during this state of flux—learning to replace one man's vision with another—the devil would come around and say, “But what about what you want? What about what you think?” 
[Italics hers.]

Genevieve's words are worth noting because most stay-at-home daughters can't truly be said to have chosen this lifestyle—they are often brought up in homes where feminism, college, and a woman's independent choices are vilified, and they rarely interact with those who think differently. One has to wonder if Genevieve, with her childhood dreams of national politics, bought into the myth that feminism is antimotherhood and antifamily, and thus feels she must choose between having a family and her own personhood, something most would consider a false choice. Although submitting to either your father's or your husband's authority may seem like perpetual childhood—or indentured servitude—to modern, first-world women who value their ability to do things like vote, go on dates, and determine the course of their lives, the Botkin sisters have a different take. “The sign of our maturity and our adulthood is when we willingly submit ourselves to God-given authority and therefore to God Himself,” they write in one blog post. “This is a struggle, and it requires strength, wisdom, responsibility and spiritual maturity.” And though one presumes these women's enthusiasm for submission means they come from safe, loving, and abuse-free homes, there are potentially chilling consequences to the spread of their beliefs to those who may not be 
so lucky. Furthermore, the stay-at-home-daughter movement holds that girls are only ready to marry when they've completely tamed individualistic traits—when, as the Botkins put it, they've learned to “submit to an imperfect man's 'whims' as well as his heavy requirements. To order our lives around another person. To esteem and reverence [sic] and adore a man whose faults we can see clearly every day.” Fathers are never to be criticized or even teased: “When you speak of him to others, you shouldn't talk about his mistakes, but of the good things he's done. When you speak of him,
 instead of criticizing and nagging him for his faults, you should tell him how much you admire his strengths,” say the Botkins. Stay-at-home daughter Ruth says she honors her father by finding out his favorite colors and wearing them; Kelly says she finds that her father's convictions “are becoming my convictions, his passions my passions.” Although it's likely that many women would find such an existence frustrating and unhappy, if not completely infantilizing, within the context of the Christian Patriarchy Movement it's not difficult to see the appeal. After all, women raised in the CPM are brought up to believe that the world outside their community is sin-filled, godless, and dangerous; opting for stay-at-home daughterhood represents a lifetime of safety. Still, they're not safe from everything. Although the Botkins and their stay-at-home sisterhood believe that women have a duty to be obedient, if men fail in their endeavors—their work, their marriages, their faith—guess who's responsible? “If our men aren't successful, it largely means that their women have not made them successful. They need our help,” the Botkins write. Wives, claim the Botkin sisters, have the ability to “win” over their husbands with respectful and submissive behavior, for when the husbands observe this, they will become “ashamed and repentant.” (The sisters are strangely silent on what to do if this isn't effective.) And daughters have the same responsibility: “Before you can accuse your father of being unprotective, ask yourself: 'Do you make it clear to him that you are a woman of virtue, worthy of his special protection? If your behavior was more gentle, feminine, respectful and lovely would he be more inclined to be protective of you?'” Relationships with mothers, by contrast, get little consideration within the literature and blogs of the stay-at-home-daughters movement. Mother-daughter dynamics are mentioned in the Botkins' book and film only in the context of readers becoming future mothers. The stay-at-home-daughters movement has inevitably inspired controversy and dissent, much of it among dedicated Christians who consider the movement to be a dire misconstruction of their religion. According to Cindy Kunsman, a survivor of what she terms “spiritual abuse” and the author of the blog Under Much Grace, stay-at-home daughters who have exited the lifestyle are—despite what the rest of us might presume—usually well prepared academically, but lack certain key skills for success in life. “Those young women who received excellent training have an easier time acquiring job skills when pursuing college and healthcare training, as many of them have done quite successfully,” said Kunsman in an interview. “However, because [these young women] were required to abdicate all significant problem-solving to another agent while in their families of origin, they lack skill and practice in critical thinking and planning… They must work to build integrity, self-reliance, autonomy, and trust in themselves, which they were taught to derive from the identity of the family.” One of the most outspoken counter-CPM blogs is Quivering Daughters—the name a play on the phrase “Quiverfull”—authored by Hillary McFarland. “Increasing numbers of women in their late twenties and thirties remain 'safely' at home, patiently waiting for husbands to find them,” writes McFarland in her book Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy. “As unmarried adult daughters continue to perfect the art of homemaking, help to mother and school young siblings, and learn to be a godly helpmeet, many through spiritual discipline strain to cauterize wounds made tender with disappointment.” Despite the assertion of stay-at-home daughters that they are “protected” (albeit in a country where they have every legal right to walk away from their families and churches), it's difficult not to view them as being extremely vulnerable. After all, men who grow up 
believing that women were created to serve their whims are generally the ones who are just as likely to abuse the women they see as “theirs” as to protect them from others. Such sexist views of women's roles are certainly not limited to the Christian Patriarchy Movement. But unlike other extremely conservative religious groups such as the Amish or fundamentalist Mormon polygamists, which are typically closed off from the rest of society, the stay-at-home-daughters movement and the CPM might be capable of seeping into the already-booming populations of evangelical and fundamentalist churches and Christian homeschoolers, which already advocate a less-rigorous version of female 
submission. In this sense, stay-at-home daughters might feel that they are the most pure, and most righteous, of Christians. In a complex world where women have more choices than ever, perhaps the appeal of this lifestyle for both men and women is perpetual female childhood. Men make all decisions and are never told they are wrong, always getting their way, while women are free of any decision-making: a markedly different, albeit less complicated relationship than one between two equals. Only time will tell how far this new movement will spread. In the meantime, those of us who were lucky enough to have fathers who delighted in our accomplishments and growth as individuals—rather than believing our existence was to serve their own needs—should count our blessings. Gina McGalliard is a San Diego–based freelance writer whose work has appeared in @UCSD, Sport Diver, Conscious Dancer, Dance Studio Life, San Diego City Beat, San Diego Family Magazine, and the San Diego Union Tribune. She would like to give a shout-out to her feisty Italian grandmother, who spent the 1970s and '80s breaking down barriers for women, for raising her to be a good feminist, and introducing her at a young age to the writings of Gloria Steinem.

This article was published in Confidential Issue #49 | Winter 2010

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64 Comments Have Been Posted


Well, that's just creepy as all hell. D:

Also, "Quivering Daughters" just sounds... wrong all over, doesn't it?

Now I'm really grateful that my stepdad is cool about stuff like this. He's pretty conservative and very religious (my family DOES live in the deep south), but he's also pretty progressive regarding women; he always encourages me and my stepsisters to do what we like (and even supports my horror-writing hobby), tells us never to take any crap from guys, and applauds our achievements. So that's awesome.

Hey there. Apply for student

Hey there. Apply for student aid and go to a Community College for a year or two. The student aid should pay for your tuition and hopefully basic on campus living. Or get a place with roomates so your expenses are low. Get a job at a Starbucks or something similar. Go to school and start with some "easy" classes to get your feet wet so that you are used to the independent lifestyle. You cannot depend on your parents so you must depend on yourself. You're old enough to walk out the door. You can learn to drive by taking a class and if you can locate a decent CC and arrange for living arrangements take a cab or bus or whatever to get there. You can organize everything online before your mom knows what's going on and then you just open the door and leave.... don't look back. If she doesn't like it that's okay b/c its your life and not hers. Do you really want to end up single, uneducated and dependent on her your entire life?

Sorry this was meant for the

Sorry this was meant for the commentator below!!!

Yikes! This sounds like me!

I'm 20 and I live at home with my mom and 2 younger siblings. I go to school online, but I'd rather go to a "real" college. My mom doesn't want me to leave the house or take on such a costly decision. I feel like a prisoner sometimes, cuz no one is helping me learn to drive and I have no escape.
My dad is divorced from my mom, and he's told me even if I went to college for 8 years, I'd only end up getting a job as a secretary. (Yes, he's the reason I became interested in feminism!)

Stay-at-home daughters

Hi Emma,

It's definitely a bummer that your parents don't want you to go to college outside of the house. However, the very fact that you wish you could be more independent makes your situation very different from those of the women in the stay-at-home daughters movement. They *want* to be at home, because they believe women should function as helpers to the men in their households and not live independently.

It sounds as if your mom is

It sounds as if your mom is doing everything in her power to keep you from being independent.

Do you have a friend who can teach you to drive? Are there any local community colleges near you? Find out if the city buses are within walking distance. If you learn a trade it will be easier to leave home. My mom didn't really want me to drive either. I applied myself for college, filled out the Pell Grant forms, talked to the counselor myself and took the city bus to school.

Although I hesitate to tell anyone to join the military, if you really have no other way to leave home and you are desperate to do so, joining the military might not be a bad choice. The reason that my husband joined the Air Force was partially to escape his home life.

I would debate whether the

I would debate whether the majority of the stay-at-home daughters *want* to be at home with no independence and no individual worth. If this were the case how would women from past sexist societies have gained the rights that many of us enjoy now? Our rights as women weren't given to us by men, but fought for by women who refused to be told what to think and who they should be. Sometimes the appeal of relinquishing all responsibility to another can be tempting, and sometimes simple brainwashing can go a long way. For me I'm highly suspicious of any woman within the movement trying to convince other women that this is a better way of life etc since by their own beliefs they have no opinion outside what the men in their lives have told them to think. Thus really their books and blogs and movies become ways these men use women as puppets to convince other women to join them or spread their beliefs on how others should live.

Agreed. If indoctrinated

Agreed. If indoctrinated enough, kids can learn to want all sorts of weird stuff. I was brainwashed along these Quiverfull lines - that ultimately women needed men and a family to complete them... yet in the midst of it all my innate feminism rebelled and now I can't speak out openly enough against the patriarchal silliness that passes for normal among fundagelicals.

The ray of light is that I can vouch that many of these girls will find a way out - and I support people who look to welcome and encourage these girls when they do. Why leave if you have no place to go in the scary secular world that is totally foreign to your upbringing? I've started a Former Fundamentalists support group in Minnesota and and so excited each time I meet anyone, male or female, who has walked away from this type of religion. I find it so promising to hear men talk about how disturbed they are at their former selves - some of them openly embracing "feminist" as a descriptor for themselves. Not only will some of these girls walk away - but even some of the men and boys will see the light... There just needs to be more people welcoming them on the other side.

Agreed! My inner feminist had

Agreed! My inner feminist had started calling BS on some sexist views when I was in grade school. First I was told that women couldn't be President, around the time Clinton was elected and when I asked why, I was told "Because God said that women shouldn't be in authority over men." Now, I must've been about 5 at the time, and my opinion (which I didn't say because I already knew that trying to argue with anything prefaced by "Because God said..." would be fruitless) was "That's silly. Having a penis doesn't make you smarter than if you have a... why doesn't anyone say what girls have, anyways? It probably makes you dumber, because I don't see any girls having armpit-fart contests." When I was 10, and 7-year-old boys and severely developmentally disabled adult men were trusted with responsibilities I was denied on the sole basis of my ovaries (by then, that was one thing I had figured out women had that men didn't), I then made the decision that when I grew up, I was NEVER going to let anyone tell me I couldn't do something because I was a girl, even if I got arrested for it, because then I'd be a hero like Rosa Parks. That last bit should speak volumes for how little my homeschooling parents taught me about women's rights - basically, they taught me about the suffrage movement and left it at that. I guess they hoped that I would just assume that there was nothing more to be done in the field, but I thought that they meant that everyone else in the world was still OK with discrimination based on sex.

I have to disagree with you

I have to disagree with you re *want." Many of these women, young and old, have bought into submission as an article of their faith, which means they feel their life (and eternal life) hinges on this. So it's not so much "want" as "must". They appear to believe in their inferiority (or buy the old, separate-but-equal argument) and kowtow under man's authority. That's not the same as *want*.
The most distressing part of this is, a woman who can't/won't think for herself is a person who will be easily led, which very well might make her unfit for work outside the home.

Hang in there.

Girl, I'm 24 years old and do not have a license, never have but that has not stopped me from completing my degree, moving across the country and getting a job that I love. Hang in there, stay positive and start saving your money. Once you've got enough money for a months rent, get out of there. Parents can be a wonderful support system but as long as you rely on them, you have to accept their standards for your life.

Thank you

Thanks for your support ladies. I'm trying to get some wheels in motion.

You can leave and go to school

If you go to college for 8 years (steady) you could be a Doctor, Lawyer or even an Executive Secretary for the White House (which by the way makes around $75 a year).

Hi Emma, there are alot of

Hi Emma, there are alot of very good websites around for people in your situation. A very good one is There are links to other websites there. I think you need a support group of other women who have been in your situation, can understand how you feel and can help you make decisions and plans for your life. "Good luck.

What's wrong with being a

What's wrong with being a secretary anyways? I'm an engineer but the secretaries here make almost as much as I do and work far nice hours, 9 to 5 with 1 hour lunches! They all seem to get along very well and are friends that socialize outside of work. They make anywhere from 35,000 to 50,000 and have great medical benefits and 401ks. If you could make even 25k in a regular city you could live within your means with a small apartment and a used car (or public transport if you are lucky enough to have access to that). Cook most of your meals at home and you can indulge in cafes and some dinners out with girlfriends as well as few new pieces of clothing here and there. You need not live a luxurious life... just a free and independent one according to your own rules. And hopefully you can enjoy some hobbies and eventually find the man of your dreams too. Then the two of you will be fully realized human beings instead of him being your master and you being his slave.

All too familiar

This is the first commentary I have seen on patriarchy from someone outside of [I presume] Christianity. I've read massive amounts recently, from Christians on all sides of the spectrum, from those who support patriocentricity to those who are shocked by it.

Very good article, more balanced than we are told to expect from a magazine like Bitch ['feminist hatred' seems to be one of those ideas which is pounded into many conservatives from birth].

As someone who was grew up reading patriocentric books [although my parents do not espouse patriocentricity], I can vouch that this is not exaggeration. I've always wondered how it must appear to 'ordinary people' :) The author picked up on some particularly horrifying phrases used by patriocentrists, chiefly the apparent subjugation of all individual interests in women.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I am concerned by this movement both for my own sake [patriocentricity has had overwhelmingly negative effects on me], and for the future of homeschooling. I want it to be clear that NOT all homeschoolers [definitely not all Christian homeschoolers] believe these things!! That doesn't stop patriocentricity from becoming increasingly popular, though.

Again, thank you for an insightful article.

Thanks for spreading the word.

At some point, I can hardly remember when or how, I found out about this f-ed up movement and have had a morbid fascination with it ever since. (I apologize for the crude language, but something this bizarre and disturbing merits a word like the F word.) It might have been when I unknowingly purchased a craft kit on Etsy from one of the most notorious Vision Forum families in the "ministry". I've been keeping an eye on it by subscribing to Vision Forum emails and even their catalogue. I'm not sure what to do with this knowledge other than to have a good laugh, spread the word, and thank Bitch for publishing this article. Seeing a messed-up lifestyle like this actually gain popularity is just plain scary. I'm so glad to be a feminist, science-degree-earning, liberally religious, gay-friendly, unmarried, etc., modern woman! What a world we get to enjoy and what possibilities we get to achieve!

what's the difference between

what's the difference between this kind of husband and a boss for most working women? both require a high level of submission -- besides women's jobs are generally much less autonomous - many female jobs, especially those without an education, require a lot of subordination: maid, secretary, .... and even with a college education, so many women end up with these kind of jobs.

again, what's the difference? maybe these women want to stay home. single motherhood or working mothers have a rough time. the wage gap is actually a mommy gap. single women with children are the poorest demographic, regardless of race. capitalism is hard. there is no longer much of a social safety net to catch them. there is no choice between motherhood and working - it's working and maybe some time for your kids.

the problem with this article is it romanticizes women's independence and falls to this logic that just because men and women are equal, their needs are equal. for women to really have rights and not have to put up with this bull*, they need childcare, they need equal access to fulfilling work, the need maternity leave, decent healthcare, etc.

a very important difference

a very important difference between living under a domineering husband and a domineering boss is that a domineering boss is legally required to pay you. there are plenty of other differences too, like the potential for intimacy and therefore abuse being so much deeper and the legal ties so much more difficult to disentangle, especially if there are children.

you're setting up a false dichotomy. i think the writers of this article and most of its readers are concerned about stay at home daughters, and ALSO workplace inequality and the lack of child care and support for mothers. i know i am. but it isn't one or the other, and because this article focuses on the former doesn't take away from discussion of the latter.

The difference is

So you're saying that a woman working as a maid or secretary has to submit to the sexual wants of her boss on top of doing his bidding 24/7?

Because that is where the differences lie.

I was in an abusive relationship with a man who used religion as a means to control me. Since I got out of that situation I have also been a single mom (no, the kids are not his thankfully) and worked as both housekeeper and a secretary as well as nurse aid. I've held very demanding postitions where they at times act like you should be putting your work before your child. I have to say, as an employee there are legal ramifications you can take to a demanding boss who demoralizes you and makes your life hell. As a woman in a bad relationship, there isn't much you can do legally unless he is beating you. Since my ex was a good Christian man no one would believe me when I told them what he was putting me through. It wasn't until recently (after he had put a couple more girls through the same) that anyone started to believe me.

In my relationship, I was raped and torn down until I felt I was less than human-the whole time being told it was god's will. I couldn't leave without fear of what my ex would do to me or someone I loved. I lived in fear all the time.

In my demanding jobs, I quit when I was treated like I was less than a human. I found a new job and went on with life.

Do you see the difference?

i think what bothers me most

i think what bothers me most about this is how completely vulnerable it leaves these women. they have absolutely no plan B, no backup. what if things don't work out? what if their husband cheats or is abusive? where will they go, and how will they support themselves and any children they have?

they could even be married to a good man, although it's hard to imagine one who would want a slave for a wife. what about when he dies? or if he is not successful? right, right, it's her fault, but that doesn't answer the question of how she's going to survive.

or maybe she (or her husband) is infertile? stay at home moms i can understand, kids are a lot of work. but with no kids? is she just going to stay at home washing her husband's socks her whole life? i know we've already established that her personal growth and self worth are not important; it just sounds like a ticking time bomb.

one very strong critique of traditional gender roles is how little leeway it provides for women whose lives fall into paths other than the "ideal." women who espouse this way of life just better pray for luck, i guess.

Anna J., you have

Anna J., you have successfully pointed out the very fundamental (no pun intended) flaws. The "what if's" of death, abuse, infertility, and financial survival ARE potentially devastating prospects for those women whose lives do not fall neatly into the "ideal" paths. Life (or God) will always throw the best laid plans a curve or two...

In these situations the women

In these situations the women are taught that if the husband is unfaithful or abusive it is their fault because they are not a good wife. They have to do better to keep him happy. If he is sleeping with another woman they are not to question it because their husbands are supposed to be equal to god to them. If he dies they find another husband or go back to their parents. It's very scary because the husband can do whatever he wants to the wife without question.

House Proud

<p>In your comment, "After all, men who grow up 
believing that women were created to serve their whims are generally the ones who are just as likely to abuse the women they see as “theirs” as to protect them from others", just wondering what the research is on this statement? Perhaps this is a statement of opinion rather than fact?</p>

Surely you're joking? You

Surely you're joking? You think perhaps that seeing women as owned objects leads to them being treated as something *OTHER THAN* owned objects?

Some how that all manages to

Some how that all manages to sound like it comes strait out of a <href="">bad male dominance</a> fantasy.

A lot of the views of

A lot of the views of Christian puritanism DO have an uncanny resemblance to a bad male dominance fantasy. However, one of the most apparent differences is that fetishists who are into dominance and submission generally know that they belong to a sexual minority whose practices aren't for everyone. The Christian right, on the other hand, thinks that their puritan brand of master/slave relationship should be the norm, that all people would benefit from it and that anything else is a deviation from "God's will".

Hillary McFarland has a great

Hillary McFarland has a great blog though perhaps too much still clings to Christianity for my tastes - having left entirely. Another great resource is by Vyckie Garrison - a mother who has left with her seven kids.

I was number three of 7 kids. The seven children represents the number of arrows in the quiver and was a fairly deliberate Biblically based parental decision. So - Thank You for writing about this. At least I got out and missed out on the more organized aspect of the Quiverfull movement but fundagelical Christianity needs to be exposed like this as much as possible. The girls who leave need as much support and understanding as they can get - whether they leave the extreme home schooled Quiverfull movement for more enlightened Christianity or if they leave Christianity altogether. Thanks again for this amazing article!

What's it like to call a guy

What's it like to call a guy like this and say, "Hi! I'm a reporter with Bitch magazine"? I applaud your chutzpah.

"—the devil would come around

"—the devil would come around and say, “But what about what you want? What about what you think?” ...ummmm I think I wanted to serve in the U.S. Military. Seriously, I took an oath saying that I am willing to take a bullet to defend the right of these people to try to deny me my rights. But, you know, i guess that's just Satan talking... they are just one shade of crazy away from being just like the Taliban.

Hugh ?!? Why on earth someone

Hugh ?!?
Why on earth someone would like to be considered second hand person? I doubt these girls actually have a choice - if their parents begin preparing them for life of submission, motherhood and wifehood(?) from very early age, guess they don't know any different.I am so happy that my family have always being telling me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.

Independent women

What rational man -- of any era -- would want his grown daughters underfoot, totally dependent on him? My mother was born in 1911 in West Virginia. Her father encouraged his four daughters to get an education and be able to support themselves. My grandparents had a farm and grandfather had an outside job hauling timber to a coal mine. My mother said he was the prime mover regarding his daughters’ education. There was a high school about 15 miles away. But the roads were bad and there was no bus service. So my mother and an older sister, after finishing eighth grade, were sent to board with a family near the high school. They went on to college and became teachers. One of their younger sisters went to nursing school. The fourth sister, against all advice, married young and all her life regretted her decision to forego nursing school. Later she did attend college.

Although I am a fairly

Although I am a fairly conservative person (and a Christian) and know quite a few people who home-school, I have never heard of this "movement." Honestly, it sounds like a really extreme view of Biblical principles - no, it's really a distortion of Biblical principles, which is sad. It's deceptive for the people endorsing this view to say this weirdo stuff is Bible-based.

I'm so thankful for my parents who encouraged me and each of my siblings (my brother and 2 sisters) to do whatever we loved to do. I am finishing a PhD, one sister is an artist, the other is working in the medical industry and my brother has a corporate job. I am the only one of my siblings who wasn't home-schooled, but we were all encouraged to be social - playing sports, being active in clubs, etc. When we transitioned to public school in high school, I was co-valedictorian of my class, my brother was a letter-earner in multiple sports, one sister was prom queen, the other was thespian of the year. So, not all home-schooled kids are weird or maladjusted! And my Mom and Dad were always proud of our individual accomplishments - both mine and my sisters' right along with my brother's. I didn't realize as a child just how blessed we were to have such supportive and amazing parents who didn't push us into a one-size-fits-all mold.

As a woman with an advanced degree, I place a very high value on education and encourage young women in my sphere of influence to go to college, be capable of taking care of themselves, have informed opinions, etc. I do think that submission is important as a Christian wife, but submission is NOT being a doormat or whatever is being advocated by this group.

By submission, I wonder if

By submission, I wonder if you are referring to submission to God's grace and teachings or to your husband's will and opinions?

Very interesting and thorough

Very interesting and thorough post!

Coming from a culture where a man is allowed to change a woman's first name as well as her last; and where women are routinely blamed for their husbands illnesses, sexual transgressions and financial failures, I can understand that these women might have succumbed to tremendous pressures within their societies.
I've always been told that all the great figures of the world were men, so there's no point in striving to be great at anything, just adequate. Also, I have heard many, many times that the sexist practices of the culture of my parents were put into place to protect women. Examples of such practices include: walking behind a man, eating only after the men of the house have eaten and excluding yourself from any celebrations if you are a widow. There are so many sad examples I could mention, yet there are so many women I know who take it as "just the way things are" and absorb all the emotional abuse.

I suppose the solutions have to come in the form of continuing to stay strong, seek education, voice opinions and support each other as women.

Perhaps when these women

Perhaps when these women visited college campuses - they found what they were looking for - the depravity they secretly wish to be a part of? When I went to university, I was mostly busy studying and learning the scientific techniques that I use today at my job working for a man. This man I work for isn't domineering. In fact, all the women (and men) who work with him have a highly collaborative relationship with him. He's older and has a lot to share with us.

I can't help but think that these women only see what they tell themselves to see. Isn't the very idea of faith, allowing yourself to overcome your ego and prejudices and see beyond to something greater?


Thanks for sharing about this movement. It is truly scary that in today's times people still have this ridiculous notions. I can admire conviction, but not extremism, and this movement screams of it.

Cookie Cutters for people don't work

I chose to stay home after getting a college degree because I wanted to. My Mom is a career woman and did a damn good job raising me while balancing her job demands. Also, there are educated men in my family who've chosen to stay home. My husband had stay-at-home grandparents. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to family. The simplistic view that men and women have specific roles is archaic nonsense that may work for some but due to psychological variation cannot work for everyone.

Another Thing

New Zealand already had two female Prime Ministers. Good job with your fake evidence, Vision Forum.

Also- this entire concept is hella creepy.

I went to

I went to and read the interview with Genevieve Smith.

She is identified as being home-schooled for all 27 years of her life.

Then it says:
"On one trip to the USA (back in 2001) the Lord taught me many things, the end result of which was a new direction and vision in my life. Read my testimony here. Where once I was a Legal Executive with aspirations to be the first woman Prime Minister in New Zealand , I was now at home, helping my father with his ministry to home educators...

That means not only was she a 17 year-old Legal Executive, but she made the conversion two years into Helen Clark's first term (1999 to 2008), and unaware of Jenny Shipley's stint as PM (1997 to 1999)

Don't Get It!

I will never understand the women who believe in this. I have sympathy for them. I am also angry at them. It's complicated.

Not all Christian homeschoolers are like this!

I just wanted to chime in that not all Christian homeschoolers try to poison their daughters like the stay at home daughter people. I am Christian and was homeschooled. My parents encouraged me in my academic pursuits, and now I own my own marketing company. My sister is applying for PhD programs in history.

However, I did know people like those described in this article. It's shameful how stultified and incurious these girls became- and that their parents would encourage it. As a practical matter, I don't know how most of these girls I knew would attract husbands.

From my experience, it's likely that mothers are not mentioned much in the books, blogs and videos because they've had the personality ground out of them.

Not reading the Bible very closely, these people...

Because there are tons of example of strong, educated, working women in the Bible, including Deborah, a judge and general who lead Israel's armies, Jael, who, husband absent, drove a tent peg through the head of an enemy leader, and many of the early leaders of the Christian church.

Can't Believe This

Wow, it's hard to believe people still live like this, and even harder for me to see why any girl would choose this for herself. I thought this all ended like um, 50 years ago? It certainly makes me realize how lucky I am to have the opportunities I do, and to have parents and family who encourage me every day to do what I want.

Excellent article.

Yes! Yes! Yes! I wish there were more articles like this out there.

Well done!


This is where religions turns me off. All in the name of god...


Thank you for posting this article!

It drives my ambition even brighter and hotter then before.
Best-selling author dream, here I come.
Look out world, you ain't seen NOTHIN yet.

I don't care if I'm not going to heaven. If this is what your God wants me to do, then he surely hates me and I'd rather go to hell.


Make a ripple, it turns into a wave ;)

Good day

Ok, i can't speak for every

Ok, i can't speak for every relationship but i want to share mine. I am a christian stay at home mother. However, i did not always stay at home with my kids. I worked 50-60 hr weeks as a resteraunt manager, and i loved it. But, i hated coming home. My family and private life was a mess, my kids were being raised by someone else, they were emotionally unstable because there lack of a mother, they seldom listened, my house was always a disaster which put me in a bad mood not to mention reflected my inability to keep my home to anyone who stopped over, my husband as well was rarely in a good mood. When he got home the kids were being bad and i was in a bad mood and complaining. I was generally to tired to make any good food and my husband would burn soup. On week days i layed in bed let the kids fend for themselves and yelled when they would complain. It wasnt working. So i quit. I am now staying home, following a daily schedule, the house is always clean, my husband and kids never have to ask for food, and my kids are well behaved, everyone including myself is much happier. I typically follow most, not all of the 50's house wives ruleswith a few modern ones stuck in. I daily allow myself down time and i dont push myself to exhaustion. The way i lived before was not good for my family i simply enjoyed my job and do what i want lifestyle. It was selfishness at its core. I do believe a husband deserves the wifes respect but that doesnt mean a wife cant have an opinion. It just changes the manner of which we share it. A husband is also suppose to love his wife like christ loved the church and layed down his life for it. The bible also tells the husband not to treat the wife harshly. Any typed of emotional or physical abuse would be considered a sin and isnt consistant with a Godly life or marriage. Of course this way of life can not be forced on unbelievers because morals doesnt save a person Gods grace and the sinners repentance does. This may work in a non christian home but a wifes thoughts first need to change from self to others. This is uncommon in our society. I will teach my two girls these principles but i wont force them to stay home or not go to work or collage, that will have to be there choice. Like i said pushing these values on someone wont work. It is first a heart change.

It sounds like you married a

It sounds like you married a manchild who lacks the most basic of adult skills if he can't even make soup.

Homeschooling? I hope not.

I sincerely hope you're not homeschooling those selfsame children. They'll need college just to learn how to accurately render the English language. Point in fact, I believe they're going to need to be taught a lot of things you can't and won't be teaching them. For instance, how to be a happily independent human being, how to discern who is and who is not a worthwhile life partner, problem solving, critical thinking, and (very possibly) the warning signs of an abusive relationship.

By the way, I speak as someone who has not, in fact, gone on to higher education. Just a reasonably well adjusted and functional young adult who is, quite frankly, appalled that people such as those profiled in this article and their apologists (that would be you) are so successfully reproducing.

Now that my snark is out of the way, have you ever so much as considered the possibility that the problem wasn't so much having a job as having a job that sucked? That the problem wasn't so much having to do everything yourself as having a partner whose idea of pulling his weight ended where what he could get from you began? That the problem wasn't that he couldn't, but that he wouldn't? That the problem wasn't so much not having enough time as not having enough time for all the choices you, yourself, made?

I'm not saying that being a homemaker wasn't the right choice for you. If you're happy and it's working out for you, that's dandy. But you didn't change yourself and become selfless. Getting married and having kids were your own choices, for yourself, for your own selfish reasons. (And that's not wrong, it's just true.) When you quit your job, you merely made a practical choice - and a selfish one, given that you yourself descried doing it for selfish reasons and being happier on a personal level because of it - in the face of a lack of other options due to your own lack of an adequate support system.

Kindly call a spade a spade. Your career path sucked, you didn't have enough time to make the life you wanted, your husband never learned to be independent and self-sufficient, himself, so you made the choice to take up the slack instead of continuing to kill yourself trying to both take up the slack and pull the weight at the same time and failing. This holier-than-thou crap ("It was selfishness at its core.... This may work in a non christian home but a wifes thoughts first need to change from self to others. This is uncommon in our society.") is just that. Crap. Own your choice, own why you made it, and be happy with it for your own reasons.

That you feel a need to justify it with quasi-spiritual snobbery is asinine.


Sorry about the double post. I wasn't sure if posts appear instantly here or not.

Proverbs 31, Anyone?

I am a modern thinking but fairly devout Catholic woman, and my Biblical inspiration for what womanhood should be comes from Provebs 31.....a woman who takes care of her family, works hard to keep a home, yes, but also succeeds in business and values intelligence. Apparently the CPM forgot to read that passage, eh?

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this is just sick!

I'm a Christian, maybe even a hard-core Christian... and this is just sick to me! I have neighbors who home-school their kids, and the two daughters are fine, IMHO, because they are NOT treated in this sick way... yes, they have learned "feminine" skills, like sewing, but the younger daughter also loves astronomy and her parents got her a telescope for Christmas (which involved a great deal of saving on their part). The older daughter is more of an entrepreneur - she has organized the neighborhood kids (when she was 10) to raise money by washing cars, running a lemonade stand, etc. The daughters do joke around and tease Dad. They also adore their father - I think most girls do. And Dad does try to spend one-on-one time with them, but they are definitely not his unthinking slaves. The daughters sometimes disagree with the parents, and sometimes the parents actually compromise the rules! The younger daughter (the one who loves astronomy) is planning to go to college. The other daughter does not want to go to college, but she wants to move to New York and start a business in the fashion industry! who knows if she will do it - but the parents are not squelching their daughters. I see these parents as healthy - the children are sheltered and protected but not cut off from the world - they make friends with all sorts of children (they have Muslim friends, agnostic friends, etc., and friends of various races). They play sports and take dance classes and have sleep-overs and so on.

The problem with the whole stay-at-home daughter movement - it's not even Biblical! If these people actually read the Bible, they would know that! Not even the Puritans were this chauvinistic. The Puritans believed that all people, men and women, needed to read the Bible for themselves and determine for themselves what they believed. It was about a personal experience of faith as well as belonging to a community of believers. Many Puritan women were very well educated and were encouraged to learn, though Puritans still believed women were in the subordinate role. The Quakers, however, were very egalitarian. Martin Luther (the author of the Protestant Reformation) called his wife "Captain Kate".

Or forget even the Bible - look at books like Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prarie - the heroines definitely respect their elders, but the girls are NOT simpering Stepford-daughters. Laura (in the LIttle House books) tells her fiance she cannot vow to obey him, so that is not in their marriage ceremony. She knows she must use her own judgement, not be a passive follower.

My personal experience of a Christian marriage - my husband and I are partners. We serve each other. When I had cancer, he made me juice several times a day and cleaned the carpet when I threw up. When he was out of work (before I had cancer) I financially supported us for several months.

Christ came to free us from chains, so why are people sticking themselves back in prison?

Lived This

I was imprisoned in this world by my family. I finally married against my parent's wishes at 27 and they refused to attend the wedding because they didn't believe that I was allowed to make the choice for myself. I had to completely break ties because of endless stalking and came very close to multiple restraining orders. I got word via one distant relative that they are waiting for an apology from me lol.

What if a woman doesn't want that?

I come from a broken and dysfunctional family. My dad was more than happy to let me go at the age of 20 to a supposedly christian man who would abuse me for almost six years. So badly I developed PTSD. 30 days from the finalization of divorce from that man my dad was more than eager to pawn me off on the 30 something Air Force Sergeant I brought home to meet him. I moved in with my wonderful second husband 48 hours after meeting him. Starting my relationship with Roy brought a turning point in my life. Roy told me that I was NOT to be dependent the rest of my life and that I needed to learn job skills. I obtained a CDL and worked as a truck driver until I quit to go to school to become an EMT; midway through I suffered a stroke and had to quit. Roy literally handed me his GI Bill and said to use it to the best of my ability. One of my passions has always been industrial electronic and mechanical systems. This summer I start classes for my Associates in Applied Sciences in Electromechanical Engineering. Factories in my town are paying at minimum $25 an hour for recent grads to work as repair/installation technicians. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven when I found that out! My husband was quite pleased with my career choice. When he retires from the Air Force he hopes to be a stay at home dad. Between his Air Force pension, me working at a local factory and free living on his family farm in Kentucky, we will be set for life. My husband DOES NOT want as he puts it, a dependasaurus.

Don't Christian Patriarchy people realize that not everyone wants to live that way?