Women are still chattel. Film at 11.

I don’t even have to comment on this article from the LA Times about a new major in homemaking (for women only, of course) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. So much in the article speaks for itself.

Painful excerpts below:

Seminary President Paige Patterson and his wife, Dorothy — who goes by Mrs. Paige Patterson — view the homemaking curriculum as a way to spread the Christian faith.

In their vision, graduates will create such gracious homes that strangers will take note. Their marriages will be so harmonious, other women will ask how they manage. By modeling traditional values, they will inspire friends and neighbors to read the Bible and then, perhaps, to follow the Lord.

…guest lecturer Ashley Smith, the wife of a theology professor, laid out the biblical basis for what she calls “the glorious inequalities of life.”

Smith, 30, confided that she sometimes resents her husband for advancing his career “while I’m changing diapers and getting poop all over me.”

But…

“If we love the Scripture, we must do it,” said Smith, who gave up her dreams of a career when her husband said it was time to have children. “We must fit into this role. It’s so much more important than our own personal happiness.”

Another former career woman was counseled that problems in her marriage could be solved by following this sort of arrangement:

Cecrle credits Dorothy Patterson’s lectures on God’s vision of womanhood with helping her embrace her role as helper — and restrain her instincts to take charge. “I have to be able to shut my mouth,” she said.

However, even her own husband isn’t sure that women should do everything:

Andy Cecrle, 42, takes it one step further: He would like to see a homemaking class for men, or at least a survival boot camp. He happens to know his way around the house and is proud that he changes his children’s diapers. But he knows many guys don’t even have a clue how to start the washer.

“What if my wife is sick and my kids need clean clothes? It may not hurt to have some basic tips,” Cecrle said. Then he added cautiously: “A lot of people would take great exception to what I’m saying.”

A college sophomore, Emily Felts, disagrees with him:

The whole point of taking college-level homemaking, she said, is to ensure that her husband won’t ever feel that he has to darn a sock or do the laundry. Those are her jobs.

***

“I’m not one of those out to rebel, out-to-be-my-own-woman types,” she said.

***

“It really doesn’t matter what I think,” Felts said. “It matters what the Bible says.”

So you have here a lot of women who admittedly sometimes resent their husbands, feel they need to keep their mouths shut, surrender their own happiness, and it doesn’t even matter what they think about it, because they claim “the Bible says so.” And this, of course, is the formula for a marriage “so harmonious, other women will ask how they manage.” Yeah, I bet they’ll ask that, but not for the reason Mrs.-Paige-Patterson-I-have-no-identity-of-my-own-anymore thinks they will. I should also note that I think it’s great if a woman (or a man) chooses to stay at home with the kids while their partner works, but the way it’s done here–out of expectation, coercion, and fear–I have no respect whatsoever for.

Finally, in the interest of fairness, I’ll say that this certainly isn’t a universal Christian teaching, even for Southern Baptists. They quote in the article another Baptist pastor who disagrees with these throwback-to-the-50s roles, and emphasizes other passages that contradict the attitudes expressed at Southern Baptist seminary. Still, with books like “The Surrendered Wife” remaining popular, this isn’t just a fringe attitude.

Oh, and why is this relevant to a science discussion? Well, lookie at one reason they want women to stay at home:

“We’re equipping them to do home-schooling.”

And you can bet it won’t be to teach those kids evolution…

Comments

  1. #1 Narc
    October 12, 2007

    Seminary President Paige Patterson and his wife, Dorothy — who goes by Mrs. Paige Patterson

    Why not just go by Ofpatterson?

  2. #2 blf
    October 12, 2007

    There there is “Christian Domestic Discipline”, which is apparently biblically sanctioned S&M and/or wife-beating. (From PZ’s blog.)

  3. #3 Jeb, FCD
    October 12, 2007

    And surely none of those happy, harmonious homes will have wetsuits and dildos in them!

  4. #4 Anne-Marie
    October 12, 2007

    University of Montevallo, in Alabama, has a home-making degree (I can’t remember their term for it, though…). I girl I graduated with in high school went on to that program, although her real goal was to earn an MRS in college as opposed to a degree. . .not sure how that all worked out, but just thought I’d comment, she was extremely religious but I had never thought about it in relation to her obsession with being a good wife, thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  5. #5 SMC
    October 12, 2007

    That’s….quite horrifying.

    Here in the rural northwest they call the subject area “Family and Consumer Sciences”, though at least the course catalog explicitly mentions the interrelationship of “work and family”, which at least implies that it wouldn’t be unusual for a graduate in that field might have an actual career.

    Whether that career is expected to go beyond “teaching family and consumer sciences” I’m not sure…

  6. #6 Brendan S
    October 12, 2007

    You know, this is a horrible way to treat women.

    However, I find it, at least, more HONEST then people who argue that the Bible says women should have equal rights. The Bible does, basically, say the things that they are teaching.

    Now, I don’t think this is a compelling argument for actually teaching those things or believing the Bible. (Rather the opposite, really.) I just think it’s nice that these people are being honest to their beliefs. As wrong as I might think they are.

  7. #7 synapse
    October 12, 2007

    Why are these women going to college in the first place? That’s a lot of money to spend on learning how to do things your mom can teach you.

  8. #8 Fross
    October 12, 2007

    sounds like the same reasoning the S. Baptists used to make for keeping slaves back in the day.

  9. #9 student_b
    October 12, 2007

    Smith, 30, confided that she sometimes resents her husband for advancing his career “while I’m changing diapers and getting poop all over me.”

    It’s so much more important than our own personal happiness.”

    I really feel sorry and sad for her.

    I mean how can they stand that, throwing away happiness for some nonsense some male once wrote in a book? How deluded people like this are, it breaks your hear. :(

  10. #10 RBH
    October 12, 2007

    Seminary President Paige Patterson is the guy who fired a female Ph.D. religion prof (who got her Ph.D. from the seminary) because the Bible forbids women teaching men about theology. See here and here for that story.

    ‘Course, the only woman teaching at the seminary now is Patterson’s wife.

  11. #11 David Marjanović
    October 12, 2007

    Hmmm. Does she actually believe she’s surrendering her personal happiness? Isn’t she doing that to get eternal happiness later?

  12. #12 Ezekiel Buchheit
    October 12, 2007

    It has GOT to be connected to religion. Nobody, given an honest choice, would choose to live their life in the service of another if goes against their happiness and shatters their dreams. Only the promise of eternal rewards can overcome that kind of stupid (Overcome? Complement? Not sure how to phrase that.)

  13. #13 matt
    October 12, 2007

    Ack. Ack ack ack ack ack!

    You know, I’m really going to have to give up reading ScienceBlogs. I’ll happily bumble along in my urban homo liberal existence without ever being forced to acknowledge that this kind of dark age fuckwittery holds sway in significant portions of the supposedly civilised world — my own country included, probably.

    What am I supposed to do about it? What can I do? Shit. I’m morbidly compelled keep reading, but why? For what purpose?

    I can’t help thinking, sometimes, that ignorance may really be bliss…

  14. #14 Alan Kellogg
    October 12, 2007

    Speaking as a guy, I find this sort of thing plain wrong. Ladies, we want you to run the show. The fact is, we’re utterly incompetent at it. We don’t have good memories, we suck at taking direction, and we have no whining resistence what so ever. Putting a man in charge of things is a sure road to disaster.

    And no home ec. for guys. Where do these people live? More guys live on their own than you’d think. Knowing how to cook, really cook, would help out millions of us.

    Attitudes like that are not only contemptuous of women, they are just as contemptuous of men.

  15. #15 Kristine
    October 13, 2007

    Well, I’m going to interject a new angle here.

    Notice how the conversation veers toward the women being able to manipulate their men? “I’ve trained my husband to shop for me.” “Men are told to put their wives’ needs first even as they flex their muscles.” There’s a couple phrases to describe this: emotional blackmail and passive-aggressiveness!

    I don’t doubt that these women feel empowered. They’re probably eating it up, dictating everything without seeming to, while not having to hold down a job.

    They just pawn the kids off on the nannies, anyway.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “traditional” society today is really all about emasculating men. Come on, what are these “masculine” guys doing with their time? Climbing mountains? Rafting down the rapids? Parachuting out of airplanes? No, they’re mincing around in suits and ties, living a whole life indoors (commute-office-home), becomine overweight and pasty, talking about how “Goddidit” the way over-the-hill athletes talk about professional sports figures’ past triumphs. They even think it’s daring to suggest changing a poopy diaper once in a while! *Gasp!* “How bold of you, dear!”

    What friggin’ fun for the guys. Oh, yes. I think these femin-nancys have nothing on so-called “feminazis” for ball-busting. They should take a hike or go fishing with us ungodly tomboys and rediscover their evolution-given manhood.

  16. #16 eugene_X
    October 13, 2007

    Wow. “We must fit into this role. It’s so much more important than our own personal happiness.”

    George Lakoff was right!

    I am not the right person to give a detailed explanation of Lakoff’s theories on why some people are politically liberal and some politically conservative, but in a nutshell, it comes down to different views of social relationships, especially in the family:

    He maintains that conservatives in general believe that there is a “proper” social order, and social roles within the family are dictated by some unchanging, external rule: in this case, the christian bible. It may just as easily be the koran, or the traditions of hinduism or whatever.

    Liberals in general view the social order, and especially social roles in the family, to be the products of reciprocal negotiation, whether verbal and intentional or not. They may be informed by an external order, but there is an understanding that it’s all flexible and up for adaptation based on the shared and individual needs of the people involved.

    So these women really do say “It really doesn’t matter what I think; it matters what the Bible says.” And liberal couples in response generally say “look, I want you to be happy, and I want to have a life too, so let’s arrange this so we are both fulfilled in career and family, however un-traditional that may be.”

    And that, according to Lakoff, is the source of a person’t larger tendency toward liberalism or conservatism… You know, I read about it, but it all seemed hypothetical.

    Reading those words that have come out of a woman’s mouth in 2007 is just surreal, and disturbing.

  17. #17 Ex-drone
    October 13, 2007

    As George Orwell wrote, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Different ideology, same result.

  18. #18 Bob
    October 13, 2007

    Must…fight…the…urge…to…vomit…

    But when I do, my loving wifey will clean it up, of course, because I still haven’t figured out how to operate that clothes-washing thingy. She’ll have to interrupt her doily-making, but she won’t mind. God told her to happily clean up her man’s vomit! (I’m sure there’s a verse somewhere in Proverbs that speaks to this).

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to continue my son’s lessons on How To Keep The Little Woman In Her Place. Where were we…?

  19. #19 Ezekiel Buchheit
    October 13, 2007

    @Kristine

    I’d love, personally, to hang out with some feminazis and go fishing. My current biology teacher is a three concsecutive year national adventure race champion (but I don’t think she is a feminazi, not by any objective measure). She intimidates the hell out of me. I spend my finite free time running through woods, along cliffs, up mountains (okay, hills), etc and have no one to do this with. My wife is a wuss, and the males I know are even wussier.

    Throw some central Texas phone numbers my way. (Oh, and I broke my hand body suffering rapids this summer. It was worth it)

  20. #20 E
    October 13, 2007

    Are you serious? I could have sworn that article was something straight out of “The Onion”…Although I have happened to meet someone (from CA!, no less) who felt that the purpose of life for women is to have children. I will never understand how people can still maintain these antiquated views.

  21. #21 Texas Reader
    October 13, 2007

    Probably the best approach to counteract this type of thing is to point out the 50% divorce rate and encourage girls and young woman to pursue education that will allow them to support themselves and their children in the event of divorce, death of a spouse, etc. From that standpoint I thinks its downright immoral to fail to encourage women to get educations that equip them to support their families if necessary.

  22. #22 Ed Darrell
    October 14, 2007

    What sort of research in biology do you think goes on at an institution that teaches college level sock darning? That’s why Bill Dembski is at home there. None of his socks has a hole. Only his arguments.

    In their vision, graduates will create such gracious homes that strangers will take note. Their marriages will be so harmonious, other women will ask how they manage. By modeling traditional values, they will inspire friends and neighbors to read the Bible and then, perhaps, to follow the Lord.

    It’s as if they took Jesus and stood him on his head. One could imagine a progressive Christian saying, “In my vision I will live such a gracious life that friends and strangers will notice. My life with other people will be so harmonious, my family will be so well provided for, my community will feel my contributions, in such a way that people will ask how I can do so much, so well.”

    But of course, that starts sounding like Bill Clinton, and that’s not the path these guys want their grads to take. Public service, balancing the federal budget, stopping genocide and nearly getting peace in Palestine are all things beyond the scope of someone who worries about holes in socks only with regard to the gender of who does the darning.

    Oscar Wilde said celibacy is the worst of the sexual perversions. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary demonstrates that Wilde wasn’t imaginative enough in his view of perversion.

  23. #23 Justin Moretti
    October 14, 2007

    Why am I thinking of the Stepford Wives as I read this?

    This makes me sick to my stomach, and mad enough to make war.

  24. #24 Renee
    October 14, 2007

    “Although I have happened to meet someone (from CA!, no less) who felt that the purpose of life for women is to have children. ”

    …well, evolutionarily… yes. :)

  25. #25 Sigh
    October 15, 2007

    Women choosing to learn homemaking: HORROR! VOMIT!
    Women being stoned to death in Iran: (Crickets Chirping)
    This, sadly, is what we expect from the Left.

  26. #26 Tara C. Smith
    October 15, 2007

    Complete misrepresentation of my position: this, sadly, is what we expect from some members of the right.

    1) I’ve nothing against learning homemaking. Indeed, I’d suggest that men do it as well–something SBTS won’t go for.

    2) Check out the public health category for many posts on human rights.

    Sigh indeed…

  27. #27 guthrie
    October 15, 2007

    We could of course invade Iran to get them to stop stoning women to death. Of course that leaves it open for them to invade us to make us stone women to death.

    Anway, which left do you mean?

    Kristine- I’m experimenting with making Greek Fire tommorrow. Is that manly enough?

  28. #28 Liberal Homeschool Mom
    October 15, 2007

    I’m a woman attorney. I’m a lifelong Democrat. I homeschool my children. I teach them evolution. Just because these people are intending to homeschool doesn’t mean all homeschoolers go along with this stuff. It’s misguided not to offer the major to men as well but it’s hardly a movement that’s taking over the world. It’s not like this woman-only major is being offered at Berkeley. Surely that would portend the end of the world…but Southern Baptist U? Really, it’s going to be okay…

  29. #29 Tara C. Smith
    October 15, 2007

    Just because these people are intending to homeschool doesn’t mean all homeschoolers go along with this stuff.

    I realize that. It’s not the homeschooling alone–it’s the homeschooling in combination with everything they’re learning at SBTS.

  30. #30 Brian X
    October 16, 2007

    It comes down to a waste of a human being and a college education, though one might argue that the vast majority of Bible colleges are a waste of an education to begin with.

    Honestly, what good is home ec in college anyway? One two-semester class, freshman year, should be enough to make up for anything you missed in high school, but I can’t imagine it would be that popular — it would be ludicrous as a core requirement, and most students probably wouldn’t want to make room for something like that as an elective.

  31. #31 Luna_the_cat
    October 17, 2007

    Wow…the mental equivalent of Chinese foot-binding.

  32. #32 Eamon Knight
    October 18, 2007

    I have a friend from fundy days whose husband died of cancer ~15 years ago. She still uses return address stickers labelled “Mrs. His Name” (which to me adds a creepiness factor to the whole patriarchal thing). And she’s no shrinking violet either: she’s an intelligent, educated woman who, after his death, took charge of her life and raised three really great, intelligent kids (including her eldest daughter, now doing grad work in chemistry at a Big Name university). So I find the “Mrs. His Name” thing so bloody incongruous.

    BTW: I used to know how to run the laundry, but not any more since we bought some new-fangled machines with a zillion dials and buttons and a whole different operational paradigm. It’s a good thing both of us have engineering degrees….

  33. #33 Pierce R. Butler
    October 22, 2007

    If Southern Baptists really want their women to be biblical, shouldn’t they be teaching them to shear sheep, clean & spin the wool, and weave it into cloaks & tents & such?

    A minor in foot-washing would also be helpful.