Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Sixteen-month-old Faith reaches for a glass bowl on the coffee table.

Faith, no, don’t touch that.

Faith touches the glass bowl. *pop* I slap her hand. She looks startled.

I said no.

Faith reaches for the glass bowl again. *pop*


Her little hand reaches out once again, her lower lip trembling. *pop*


Faith whimpers and looks like she’s going to cry, and I sigh. I gather her in my arms.

Faith, it’s okay, but I said no, and that means no.

She looks up at the glass bowl with pain and confusion in her face. I set her down by her toy box, pointing to her toys, and she soon forgets about the glass bowl and is busy with a doll.- Blogger Libby Anne


One of my major disagreements with the Vision Forum and related groups is their use of the word “defraud.” To defraud someone is to deceive that person in order to take something away. However, VF and related literature says that a woman or girl who exposes or emphasizes certain parts of her body is defrauding men or boys who see her. The implication is that she is deceiving them because her body is an automatic promise of sex and the thing she is taking away is the sex they have a right to expect from a woman or girl who straddles a fence/hitches up her skirt/grows breasts that make her blouses tight over the summer/whatever. Of course, if she agreed that she had inadvertently promised sex by straddling the fence and went on to give them what they thought they had the right to expect, she would be a fornicating harlot or whatever.

Basically, if you’re female, you can never be as pure or holy as a man, because you have a woman’s body. And men have the right to use you as they see fit. –Jenny Islander on Gentle Christian Mothers

The “defrauding” and extreme modesty aspects are also pretty demeaning to men, IMO. Those poor little men who can’t control their animal natures need us women to cover nearly every square inch of our bodies in order to stop them from sinning.

There’s no responsibility for men to keep themselves from sinning by, oh, I don’t know, turning their heads AWAY from the temptation. There’s no accountability for men either. All that responsibility for the men’s lust is given to the women and girls.

Not to say that modesty isn’t a positive thing… but not when it’s used to absolve an entire gender of the responsibility for their own sin and instead places the responsibility for that sin on the other gender. BarefootBetsy on Gentle Christian mothers

Both of the above are common attitudes in patriarchal teachings.

To recap, in “Christian” patriarchy:

Babies – should be taught self-control. To not act on what they see. If what they see (i.e. Mom’s glass vase) causes them problems, they should be taught to simply not act on their urges. Nothing should be hidden to protect them from stumbling.

Adult men – should be protected from seeing things that makes them stumble. If what they see (i.e. the female shoulder or knee) cause them problems, it should be hidden from them. Nobody expect that their self-control has to protect them from stumbling.

There is something seriously wrong with a system where babies have to be punished if they don’t act right, and the world has to be adult-male proofed to not tempt them. In a sane world adults are punished for not acting right, and houses are baby-proofed.

In the real world, we let those people who apparently can control their urges lead us morally, while the babies who cannot are protected from temptation. In “Christian” patriarchy, those who don’t lead (women and girls) have to take responsibility for the urges of the leaders (men), up to the point of blaming the women for the man’s sin. This doesn’t just happen in blaming them for how they dress. The women are also often blamed for physical abuse from the husband, or his marital unfaithfulness.

Who are the babies in patriarchy? The 16- month olds who are expected to have self-control even though your ornaments are on display, or the 30 and 50 year olds from whom you should hide things? And why does the proponents of “Christian” patriarchy want people to be led by the “babies” from whom self-control is not expected?

Comments on: "Patriarchy, modesty and training up children: Who are the babies?" (25)

  1. That’s the problem when you start educating women.

    They start seeing that ‘man logic’ isn’t as logical as (certain) men want it to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Well said, Retha. You’re amazing.


  3. Great points. Love your recap!


    • Thanks for the compliments, Kristen and Sonnet.

      I find it ironic that a culture that is so loud about children being a blessing, care so little about actual child nature and making a child-friendly environment. It goes from not child-proofing your home through to opposing children’s church and childhood friendships.

      But then, patriarchy is crazy that way. Tenet 16 say children are a blessing. Tenet 20 imply children are fools. So, in some way, Quiverfull parents have to accept the blessing of being surrounded by fools.


  4. Amen!

    And they want to teenproof the world (or at least keep their teens in a little temptation-free bubble) as well, the same teens that once were babies who were expected not to touch shiny things.


  5. […] of exercising self-control. (Retha’s note: This reminds me of patriarchal attitudes towards modesty contrasted to punishing small children.)  The character of a harlot cannot be overcome by the blood of Christ, and forever limit their […]


  6. A wonderful post. I had never put those two ideas together to see the contrast before. It makes the Christian Patiarchy all the more worrying when you realise that it is led by men who don’t think they need to be in control of their urges at all. How can you take responsibility for others if you are unable to take responsibility fr yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Janey. Heathen. and commented:
    Having read this today, I think it cuts to the crux of what irked me about all those crazy BJU rules. We can’t really have leaders if they’re never taught to look after their own lives and their own minds. BJU and other institutes like it portray themselves as bastions of Christian living, but they only achieve that through strict, punitive punishment so they’re not really doing the right thing at all, they’re just avoiding doing the wrong things. The schools would have a much greater claim if the students did these things on their own without a really big, spiky stick waving over them.


  8. If you are interested in more comments, this was largely reposted here:

    That (atheist) site gets more comments than mine.


  9. I really have a problem with using a​ post/article as the definition of what the opposing perspective is, and then basing an article on that biased description. There is plenty of written communication put out by VF and the like, so why not just correctly quote the opponent, specifically addressing what they’ve actually said/written, and then use that as the jumping off place? The foundation for this entire article is off… and I would say that if it was a VF article attacking GCM or whatever. It’s so easy to attack a false/tweaked premise of what someone else “believes”.



    • Jess, this may not be based on the exact words of Vision Forum or the likes, but it is real humans speaking of how these beliefs actually work out in practise.

      You may prefer that I quote Vision Forum or some other organization from that group, but actual comments from people who grew up patriarchal – Like Amy from justamysblog, or Libby Anne from the thread I linked to earlier today (Libby Anne grew up with Vision Forum, I’m less sure what organizations Amy’s family was into), seemingly believe this article is right on the money.

      But you are welcome to give me a better quote.


  10. […] •A feminist blogger responds to the argument rape is a result of dressing too sexy. Her take: If we train children not to put their hands on everything they want, there’s no reason not […]


  11. KingPin said:

    Men are tempted by female flesh, and to tempt men to lust, especially married men, is not healthy for society. Unlike females, men are universally interested in all women that look good, any women’s flesh can incite lust, not just the one he is married to. A healthy society prizes modesty because it understands men’s uncontrollable and natural weakness for undifferentiated lust (lust with no particular woman in mind, lust without need of anything more than a body). Expecting men to control that and not helping them, is a fool’s request.


    • Kingpin, would you similarly say: Gay/ bisexual men are tempted by male flesh, and to tempt men to lust, especially married men (some bisexuals are married), is not healthy for society. Bisexual men are universally interested in all men and women that look good, any man or woman’s flesh can incite lust, not just the one he is married to. A healthy society prizes modesty in men and women because it understands men’s uncontrollable and natural weakness for undifferentiated lust (lust with no particular woman or man in mind, lust without need of anything more than a body). Expecting men to control that and not helping them, is a fool’s request. Ergo, men and women should both dress with the same modesty standards?

      And do you really think that no women experience “undifferentiated lust”?


    • KingPin doesn’t seem to understand the difference between lust, and noticing someone attractive. They are NOT the same. Lust is using someone in your mind to do things with, and NO that isn’t ‘uncontrollable’ or ‘natural’. People that lust – per the proper definition of it? They will use even a modesty dressed women in the minds to do things with.

      I never did understand why people never can ‘grasp’ the difference between the two. There is a HUGE difference, and why the bible calls it sin towards the one that ‘lusts’ – and not the one that is being lusted after.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You see, Kingpin, I understand that principle. This is about consistency, not against respectable dress. Babies could be helped by putting away vases. Men -straight, gay, bisexual – could be helped if everyone dressed modestly. Applying this principle only to female clothing, that is the problem.


  13. […] first sentence here (and the title of the “article”) reproduces the myth that men can’t help themselves. If a sexually alluring woman makes herself available to a man, he will inevitably have an affair […]


  14. skywalker said:

    Kingpin, as much as you sincerely believe that men have an uncontrollable and natural weakness for undifferentiated lust; i humbly wish to inform you that this believe is because of what we as men have been told directly and indirectly all our lives. Men DO HAVE A CHOICE TO LUST OR TO ADMIRE THE FEMALE PERSON, by choosing to see the person as a beautiful human being worthy of respect even if the person’s lifestyle may suggest otherwise. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. The human body was created as a source of lust for any man, it is because we have been indoctrinated to believe a lie that is why we have serious problems and in this situation, men are refusing to accept responsibility for their own actions.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. […] their bodies to protect the men around them from temptation.Blogger Biblical Personhood pointed out in an excellent blog post not too long ago that there is a contradiction at work here. Babies are expected to have […]


  16. […] first sentence here (and the title of the “article”) reproduces the myth that men can’t help themselves. If a sexually alluring woman makes herself available to a man, he will inevitably have an affair […]


  17. I just stumble on this article so I realize that my reply is ‘late to the party’. The difference between looking and lust is absolutely a personal choice that within one’s self-control. I can look at a person and think ‘that’s a good looking person’. I can also look at a car, a house, a dog, or clothing for sale and think ‘wow, that’s a good looking (whatever). If I look at a person and allow my thinking to go beyond what I would think if I were looking at a car, a house, a dog, or clothing – then I’ve lusted. Now, I’m not saying that we should look at other human beings as objects, just the opposite. When we look at a human being as a sexual object – then we’ve lusted. And ALL males have the GOD given ability to control their lust. The Bible says so. Each and every day I meet good, God fearing men. And each and every day I also meet men/boys who want to blame shift their actions on anyone but their self.


  18. “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”

    I’m aware this passage does not refer to clothing, but I think the principle goes for everything. Both men and women should dress modestly in order not to make a brother or sister stumble.

    “And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.“

    Do you really think you’re walking in love if you’re flaunting your body, causing others to lust, just because you feel you have the right to do dress however you’d like? That the fault is really in the men who are weak in their flesh?


    • “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

      “Do you really think you’re walking in love if you’re flaunting your body, causing others to lust?”

      – Do you really think I am flaunting my body, or calling others to flaunt theirs? I am calling for stricter standards for men, who according to patriarchal doctrine should lead, than for toddlers. (See the text I quoted.) In fact, I believe the Matthew 18 text about causing little ones to sin. I do not see a tot who is interested in a glass bowl as sinning, but if anyone does, it is their responsibility to keep these things out of the child’s hands. (In fact, for the mere reason that a little one can get hurt with these things, I believe glass ornaments, medicine bottles, etc. should be kept away from tots.)


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