got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Monday, February 06, 2006

freidan in agreement with neopatriarchs? (Karen)


"Housewives are mindless and thing-hungry... ; They are trapped in trivial domestic routine and meaningless busywork within a community that does not challenge their intelligence. Housework is peculiarly suited to the capabilities of feeble-minded girls; it can hardly use the abilities of a woman of average or normal human intelligence."

Betty Freidan, author of The Feminist Mystique and who died on Saturday at the age of 85.

In blogging about her this morning, it occured to me that her view of homemaking is not too far off from the views of those who do not believe that women ought to attend college. Those people would argue that women needn't be educated to work and minister in their homes and it appears that Freidan would agree. Any thoughts?

42 Comments:

  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger givengrace said…

    I was just researching Friedan this morning, for a paper I'm writing. One of her statements resonated with me: "For a great many women, choosing motherhood makes motherhood itself a liberating choice." (cited from a CNN online article)

    The most influential women in my life, my mom and grandma, didn't attend college, but they were (are, in mom's case) intelligent, thinking individuals. I hate that people think mothers/housewives are mindless. Managing a home, when done properly, requires a great deal of planning and thought.

    But on the other hand, as a woman in graduate school with no immediate plans for her own family-making, I do feel a sense of indebtedness to women like Friedan. I'm thankful that today, women and men aren't paid differently based upon gender and that we are allowed equal rights.

     
  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger michele said…

    When I decided to leave my job and be a stay-at-home mom, I thought that I had wasted my time going to college. What was I going to do with a BS in Computer Science? But over the years I realized how helpful my knowledge has been to my husband, children, myself and even my in-laws. I am a pro with google which is very helpful to my children for reports, I troubleshoot our software, and I even helped my MIL set up her palm pilot so that she could download her emails to it. And if I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree, I would not have been able to go to Westminster Theological Seminary.

     
  • At 8:59 PM, Blogger meggan said…

    she was such a product of the post ww2 era. i dont think the "breakthroughs" allowing for velveeta, microwaves, and birth control did all that much to improve lives. better living through science and technology made life at home as easy as pushing a button, so perhaps, yes, easier, but not better. i dont blame these women for wanting more. Betty might have been offended to find herself in the ring with neopatriarchs, lol, but its an interesting idea.

     
  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger magnolia's mama said…

    Your side bar says, "Everyone benefits when a person is educated." I believe that everyone benefits even greater when women are taught how to live biblically. Jesus calls us to sacrifice ourselves...pick up our cross daily, and I'm not sure where the desire to go off to a university is validated by the Word. Every where I've read in the Bible it talks about women being at home...conducting business around the home and family. Obviously the "model woman" (proverbs 31) is an intellegent, *educated* woman, but I seriously doubt she went out from under her father's house to learn (at least not states/countries away). I have a BA, therefore I speak with a certain amount of experience. Why send your children off to learn how to make a living from people who generally believe such contrasting things about life and how to live it? A little bit of yeast goes along way, and Jesus uses yeast as a symbol of corrupt people. I think we need to move toward the future with our eyes open and ready to discern what is truly best for our children. We shouldn't continue doing what we've done for the past 50 years just because it's what we've done in the past 50 years. I'm not so sure families are better off for sending their children (daughters especially) off to the university. I think the Bible has the answers. That might seem unintellegent to you, but I think it is the best place to seek out the truth.

     
  • At 6:22 AM, Blogger kristen said…

    Bonnie,
    Thanks for stopping by! Most of the women on this blog actually went to Christian colleges, where they were encouraged in their faith by those who taught them. I wasn't one of them, but I saw the whole time how God was working all things in my education together for my good, even as I learned in a secular environment. I had a strong sense of my identity in Christ and that only grew in my time away from my family, where I had to make choices for myself, and had the world at my fingertips.

    The degree I have (from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) opens up many doors for me personally, professionally, and even for the cause of Christ.

    The women on this blog are very serious about living life in light of scripture, and doing all to the glory of God. We do study the Bible and we don't come to the same conclusions that you do.

     
  • At 6:43 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    Freidan was writing at a time when women were *told* that having a fulfilling life meant having a shiny floor. I'm not kidding. It was sick. Perfectly coifed hair, string of pearls, spotless house, and stuffed peppers for dinner do not an accomplished life make. We all know that that's not the beginning and end of staying at home either! Freidan loosed us from that. She did us a great service, and we can't forget that!

     
  • At 6:47 AM, Blogger greenemama said…

    I'm not sure where the desire to go off to a university is validated by the Word.

    on the same token, i'm not sure where the Word prohibits the formal education of women! personally, i'm growing weary of borderline legalistic thinking that insists that the scriptures mandate issues that are really up for interpretation. give a little grace!

    I think the Bible has the answers. That might seem unintellegent to you, but I think it is the best place to seek out the truth.

    i'm not sure where you're picking up that anyone here does not believe in the authority of scripture, or that anyone here believes that holding to the scriptures is unintelligent. be careful to not cast aspersions that are borderline accusatory!

    as kristen said, we've come to conclusions that differ from yours and that doesn't make us flippant or ignorant of Scripture.

     
  • At 9:34 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    "I think we need to move toward the future with our eyes open and ready to discern what is truly best for our children."

    Bonnie, I heartily agree with this statement that you made. And I see formally educating my children as part of what is best for them as believers.

    If all Christians were to reject a college education, we would lose our voice in law and government, medicine, education etc. On the contrary, I believe that part of "having dominion", a command we have been given and one that has never been cancelled, is participating in all the disciplines of study and gaining a voice to be heard. Can you imagine the debate in medical ethics without Christian voices? What about in the areas of law and government? Those areas would be closed completely to Christians if we reject formal education.

    Again, those of us here who are "college girls" do not believe everyone has to attend college. And I can also venture to say that all of us have become self-educated as well. But we want to encourage young women and their parents to not close the door on the idea of formal education.

    Jesus had very harsh words for the servant who didn't use the talents he had been given...he was called unfaithful. I fear that there will be many who, one day, will also be called unfaithful because they didn't develop the talents God gave to them or to their children, espeically their daughters.

     
  • At 11:46 AM, Blogger bonnie said…

    I guess I'm coming to the conclusion (with these posts as confirmation) that God leads us all down different paths. The comment by greenemama, "i'm growing weary of borderline legalistic thinking that insists that the scriptures mandate issues that are really up for interpretation. give a little grace!" is understandable, and of course I don't mean to be legalistic. Personally, I want to do right before the Lord. If all of our paths lead us to a different trail because of differnces in interpretation, at least you all are in the Word and interpreting! I think God will show each of us the right way as long as we are seeking after Him. I suspect this isn't the place for such a discussion, but it is a mystery why some things are so right for one person, and so wrong for others. I'd sure like to know why convictions vary among believers.

    And as far as implying that you all do not hold to the authority of scripture, I am not familiar with your site or posts. It isn't uncommon today to encounter "Chritsian women" (or men) who think you're crazy for believing wholeheartedly in the scriptures.

    Formerly signed in as 'bonnie'

     
  • At 12:36 PM, Blogger Mrs. Zoid said…

    I just need to say I am so happy to find this site, especially after two days of going through blog after blog that advocated no higher education for Christian women. I'm in grad school working on my Ph.D. in physics and know this is what God has called me to. Someday my husband and I will have a family, but for now we know this time in our life is meant to purposeful study (and you can't understand quantum field theory through correspondence classes, that's for sure!) Hurrah for women standing up for higher education for Christian women!

     
  • At 6:28 PM, Blogger michele said…

    The following are the implications of the stated interpretation (Christians should not send their girls to college):

    1. As prairie girl mentioned, no female Christian voice in the field of science, medicine, education, etc.

    2. Sub-par wages for any Christian girl who was unable to marry. And sub-par wages for any widow.

    3. If the Lord blessed these girls with a particular gift for society or the body (veterinarian, doctor, lawyer, etc.) then those gifts will be undeveloped and unused.

    It is not just a matter of interpretation or doing what you think is right. It is a matter of consequences to the body and society of an incorrect interpretation.

     
  • At 5:20 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    I wonder if it was worth it to trade a shiny floor for the National Organization of (some) Women and the National Abortion Rights Action League. These were both organizations started by Friedan and which launched the 40 million plus abortions in this country alone.

    I think not.

    I also think that Friedan's life work, in general, did more negative things for women than it did positive things. Her life must be evaluated by the sum of those things and, as a believer, I cannot praise her.

    By the way, when you calculate that, on the day a woman has an abortion, over 80 other people are affected by that choice, you realize that there is not one person in this country who has not been touched by this dreadful plague that we now have called "choice." So much for the Friedan legacy.

     
  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger The Credo Chronicler said…

    I am a homeschooled student currently writing on the topic of what girls should do after high school. Now, when talking about people who say that girls should not go to college, are you referring to those that say a girl should stay home after high school graduation (such as Vision Forum and Ladies Against Feminism)? In my study of the arguments raised by organizations such as this, it seems that they still advocate girls being highly educated, and are fine with girls taking college courses from home. However, it is true that they do not place great emphasis on a girl getting post-high school education. Are you referring to groups such as this when you discuss those who are against girls going to college, or are there other groups out there that argue it is wrong for a girl to receive ANY kind of education after high school? What do you think of the idea of a girl pursuing higher education but doing it from home? This allows them to be with their families, stay under their father's roof, and still further their education. But obviously it does not provide the kind of "college experience" that some girls may desire. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts. Thanks for your time!

     
  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger magnolia's mama said…

    Michele, I completely agree with you. It *isn't* just a matter of any interpretaion...we all have encountered some wacky "interpretations." Since we are discussing this, I really would like to hear what y'all think, and where in the Word you think this issue may be covered. If this isn't appropriate for this blog, I'll open up [my new one] for further discussion...
    www.coldwaterstoathirstysoul.blogspot.com

     
  • At 6:20 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    **I wonder if it was worth it to trade a shiny floor for the National Organization of (some) Women and the National Abortion Rights Action League. These were both organizations started by Friedan and which launched the 40 million plus abortions in this country alone. **

    Following the advice of Jim Wallis, I will not make abortion a singular issue on which everyone must be evaluated. That has shipwrecked the Religious Right, and it's not working anymore. There is no one on the planet as passionately pro-life as I, but this is not the only issue on which to judge anyone's value to society or my life.

    Besides, your quantitative judgment is only *one* way of judging. All I'm saying is that we all -- feminist and nonfeminist -- owe a debt of gratitude to those women who pointed out the flaws in our misogynistic American culture. Were it not for Freidan and those like her, we would not have the medical information, the educational opportunities, and the vocational freedom that we all enjoy.

    Gratitude is never blind or without critique. But it is necessary.

     
  • At 9:10 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    "Following the advice of Jim Wallis, I will not make abortion a singular issue on which everyone must be evaluated. That has shipwrecked the Religious Right, and it's not working anymore. There is no one on the planet as passionately pro-life as I, but this is not the only issue on which to judge anyone's value to society or my life.”

    Camille, we are discussing the impact that Betty Friedan’s life work had on American women so of course I am going to put it through a pro-life litmus test. How could anyone not do so? (Wallis' concept of how a pro-life litmus test has shipwrecked the religious right is absurd! If Christians hadn’t kept this issue front and center for the past 33 years, do you think anyone else would have and that it would even be an issue now? Just the fact that Friedan’s “daughters in the faith” continually have their knickers in a twist over our “limitations of choice” proves how much influence conservative Christians still have.)

    What if I we exchanged the social problem of “slavery” for that of abortion? Could any woman be seen as a great champion of women’s rights as long as she embraced, indeed, passionately worked, to promote slavery and at taxpayer expense? What if Jim Wallis had said that making someone’s views on slavery should not be a litmus test for the worth of that person’s contribution to society? Would you still agree?

    There are just some issues that trump all others and in my book abortion is one of them. (For that matter slavery is, too. I am in good stead with the likes of many real women leaders from that era.)

    No matter how liberating Friedan thought she was making it for women, it is overshadowed by the enormity of her Pandora’s box labeled “choice.”

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Oh, and I see a historical list coming...Lincoln, Washington, etc.

     
  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Prairie Girl --

    You're demonstrating the exact reason why such singularity in the so-called religious right has caused it to jump the shark. But until we all have Wallis's text in front of us and digested it, discussing it is rather futile.

    So I'll only repeat: I will not make abortion a singular issue upon which every other person/issue/idea must be judged. I admire and appreciate those women who have gone before me and have paved the way for my many opportunities.

    We must have the grace to express our gratitude without nickle-and-diming everything.

     
  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Dochas said…

    Some Christians believe that slavery is acceptible, prairie girl, so for them your argument would be meaningless. But regardless, my two cents on this is that college education is not inherently right or wrong for any given woman. Each individual's motivations are the issue more than the education (since the Bible is unclear on exactly what we ought to do). For example, if the woman is doing it to show off that she is just as capable as her brothers, that's a pride issue. If she's doing it so that she can support herself if necessary, I'd think that's fine. The reason (and this is just my personal opinion, I cannot find biblical backing for this) that the Bible does not come down with a right or wrong in regard to higher education for women is because it depends on your society. In some societies it might be inappropriate for us to receive higher education. In our culture however, it's fine.

     
  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Dochas,

    You are correct, I had forgotten that there are those Christians who hold to the pro-slavery views. Perhaps I should have used another analogy, such as "racial discrimination"....though I know there is a modern movement called "kinism" that would agree with me there....

    You make a good point about the cultural aspect.

    One of my favorite college professors was a Chinese woman who was an awesome teacher and extremely competent administratively. The last I knew she was VP at Trinity Seminary. Her husband, on the other hand, who is also Chinese, has not completed his doctorate,though nearly 40 years have gone by since he received his Master's degree. There was much speculation that the wife would not pursue a doctorate until he had received his because that would have gone against the wisdom of their cultural background. I believe they were so Americanized that it didn't matter.

     
  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Camille,

    I would hardly evaluate the actions and goals of the National Organization for Women and the National Abortion Rights Action League with a "nickel and dime" analogy. To do so is to greatly minimize the role they have played in women's lives in the past 40 years.

    As far as Jim Wallis is concerned, I would agree that we cannot discuss his views here, nor is it important to do so. I go back to the purpose of my original statement, which is the impact of Freidan's life on American women (born and unborn).

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger michele said…

    The fruit of feminism is poisonous, yes we have received better wages and they broke the glass ceiling but it has come at a great cost to our society. Prairie girl is right that the cost of feminism is enormous in terms of the loss of human life but there have been many other losses that have taken a toll on our society as well. The feminization of our sons in schools, the focus on education for girls at the expense of boys, the promotion of women at the expense of our husbands, and the introduction into the workforce of women who think that their lives would be empty if they had to stay home and take care of their kids. Women who have been told all their lives that a career was so important and if you didn’t have one then you really didn’t have an identity.

    I was one of these women. I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom so I focused on my career. My husband and I both agreed not to have children before we got married. After a few years my husband decided he wanted children and after some persuading I agreed but I went back to work part-time (I had to have a career, I worked so hard to get here). When I became a Christian, I left work but was still upset over my lost career until I read a book by a woman who exposed the lives of the feminists (I unfortunately don’t remember the title or the author) and how each of them generalized their dysfunctional family life. After I read that book I realized how indoctrinated I had been. I know I am not the only one. There are probably many women who don’t understand way they have this drive to succeed, why their identity depends on it.

    (BTW, please don’t think this is a rebuke against those who work outside the home. I believe that Christian women can be called to be doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.)

    And also, BTW, what do you mean that some Christians "believe that slavery is acceptible?" Who believes that?

     
  • At 6:21 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    **which is the impact of Freidan's life on American women (born and unborn). **

    Which is, like any human being, both positive and negative. Were it not for the second-wave of feminism, I would not have the freedom of information to discover why I've had so many pregnancy losses, the freedom to grieve openly, the freedom to have a substantial maternity leave, and the freedom to have onsight daycare.

    Again -- we can all find negative things about each of our lives. I choose, in grace, to honor the good that Friedan has brought to my life. And I proudly and with my eyes WIDE open call myself a feminist

     
  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Michele,

    Again, great comments.

    Just out to curiosity and because I have been reading all this stuff about women seminary students here

    http://timbayly.worldmagblog.com/timbayly/

    What do you plan to do with your seminary degree?

     
  • At 10:13 PM, Blogger michele said…

    I have been writing Bible studies for the last 8 years. I went to seminary to prepare (improve my writing ability, theology, exegesis and hemeneutics, etc.) to publish. I could not find an indepth, reformed Bible study that was geared to women that focused on Christ and who we are in Him. So, I am going to try to get one published when I graduate :-).

     
  • At 7:35 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Michele,

    That's wonderful...I hope you are able to do just that!

     
  • At 1:25 AM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    Camille, you wrote "jumped the shark." You are too cool. You know the origin of that phrase, don't you?


    (Ah, yes. . . some of my autodidactic learning is in the realm of pop culture.)

     
  • At 1:35 AM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    "I was one of these women. I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom so I focused on my career."

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was so focused on becoming a wife and mother, that I didn't take full advantage of the time I had before marriage to complete my degree and develop other skills and interests. Yes, I do believe that the non-trad educational avenues I pursued were excellent. Yet. . . I do have regrets.

    I know Karen and Mollie understand where I'm coming from (and I assume many others, as well.) In some parts of the Christian subculture there is a false view that one cannot totally embrace being a wife and mother and still embrace higher eductation in institutions. I was thinking in some of those patterns (but thankfully my Dad wasn't--and he encouraged me to go to college.)

    I've known several women who stayed home after high school, stayed "under their father's authority and roof", ministered from their homes--and were a blessing to many. And yet, at the same time, these women were restrained from developing fully into the people God had created them to be. I have one friend in mind specifically. A few years ago, she (and her father) recognized that the Lord's gifts and calling on her life *did* lead to higher education, and living away from home. She's nearly 30, and desires a husband and children, but that is not the season of life where the Lord has her right now. She is finishing her university studies and preparing for the mission field. And it is very clearly the Lord directing her path.

     
  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger michele said…

    I have a friend who went to work right after high school and never went to college. A few years ago I suggested she go to college, she was clearly called to be an apologest and needed the training. She didn't think she could do it but I kept encouraging her to go since I knew what it took to go and I knew she was up to the challenge. I told her she would excel and it would be a great experience. She went this year and loves it and God has put her in a number of situations where she is able to proclaim her faith.

    God uses women for a number of different tasks. We can be wives and mothers and theologicans, teachers and apologests at the same time. The church (not just our individual churches but the boby) needs to support women when they do it, not rip us apart for doing it. Especially when our husbands and local churches are supporting us in our pursuits.

     
  • At 6:17 AM, Blogger michele said…

    Karen, I wrote the above before I read this. I have posted a response to Phil's comments on my blog.
    Also, I finally did comment on Tim Bayly's blog this morning. I noticed your post. I hope other women read our posts and are encouraged. It can be very frustrating to read these comments and question, yet again if you are doing the right thing (which has been the case for me for the last 5 years).

     
  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Michele,


    Your response is quite good and the blog entry in quetion alarming.

    I cannot find your e-mail address...

    Drop me a note at

    fromtheprairie@gmail.com

    for some additional private comments.

    Thanks.

     
  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Michele,

    Your links aren't working, by the say, and that is a shame. College girl readers need to read this stuff.

     
  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Oh, and I did also comment on the bayly blog, a long response this morning.

     
  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger michele said…

    That is what I get for being slick! Here is the link to my blog: http://www.mylifeunderthesun.blogspot.com

    The link to Phil's blog won't work because he appears to have removed the post. I wish I had saved the post because it was really bad.

    Here is a link to his blog: http://philuptheblog.blogspot.com/

    I have sent you an email.

     
  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Oh, Michele,

    I HATE it when people remove their blogs like that. I WAS bad.

     
  • At 3:45 PM, Blogger Dochas said…

    'And also, BTW, what do you mean that some Christians "believe that slavery is acceptible?" Who believes that?'

    I simply mean that some Christians do not believe that there is anything morally (read, Biblically) wrong with slavery. It's a matter of interpreting certain verses differently from the way that most Christians view them.

    'Perhaps I should have used another analogy, such as "racial discrimination"....though I know there is a modern movement called "kinism" that would agree with me there....'

    I think you misunderstand kinism, as I've heard several things on the topic and racial discrimination is not a focus of it. But that's a whole 'nother discussion. :)

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Yes, TulipGirl. I love the origins of "jump the shark." *grin*

    http://www.jumptheshark.com/

     
  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger michele said…

    "some Christians do not believe that there is anything morally (read, Biblically) wrong with slavery"

    Wow, I'm a little "speechless" here. Would that include what is going on in the Sudan? It's not morally wrong that Christians are being forced into slavery?

     
  • At 5:33 PM, Blogger Dochas said…

    That would include all slavery, although they would say that abuse of the slaves is of course wrong because we may not murder another human being. What's going on in the Sudan involves more elements than just slavery of course, and those elements they would agree are most definitely wrong.

     
  • At 12:01 PM, Blogger Jenni-brooke said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger Jenni-brooke said…

    I just came across this post about Freidan... My mind is blown... Do you all really know what this woman stands for and what a humanistic mindset she had? Do you feel that you can honestly follow the ideals of a woman like this and still be true to Scripture? I'm curious...

     
  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Jenni,

    I would encourage you to read all the way through this blog entry, including the link to the blog entry on my own site. Then read through the comments. Not all of us have been agreement with the role Betty Friedan played during her life time.

    Thanks for reading at college girl and we welcome your comments any time.

     

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