got me a college girl

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

Monday, March 13, 2006

what is their generation thinking? (Karen)

I came across this “rant” on a young high school or college girl’s blog recently and thought it brought up an interesting perspective worthy of College Girl discussion.

“I believe the influences of Christian mothers and romantically-themed movies (cite Ever After, every single Disney movie ever shoved at us, My Fair Lady) lead young Christian women to believe that they aren't 'complete' or that they haven't fully become a woman until they've fallen in love and gotten married. Or at least, Hollywood usually stops at marriage. The Christian mothers press for lawful procreation. Though I'm not sure how widespread this view has become, my mother told me she expected me to marry and have as many children as I could and she expected all other Christian women to take the same course. She explained her view as 'populating the world with Christians.' I realize I know nothing of the subject. I beg forgiveness for ignorant remarks. Yet I firmly believe that both these influences- Hollywood's happily-ever-after with a white knight and the Christian mother's view of a women's dominant role as a mother, making the most of her youth- are harmful and lead to premature marriage and an unstable home environment when mothers become disenchanted with the myth.

My solution, like my argument is imperfect. I believe women and Christian women especially should consider their choices before they marry, choose a career or children and stick with your choice. If you intend to marry and start a family right out of college, why even go to college in the first place? Our fight to break free of our culture's 'ridiculous obsession with love!' will be difficult and perhaps impossible but better to go down fighting rather than search for an idealized love that will leave us empty in the end.”

So this made me wonder if there are quite a few moms who are pressuring their daughters into not choosing college. I also want to add the Jane Austin books/moves to the list of romantic media that paints the same view for women, i.e., that you must have a man to be complete.

I thought this writer was asking valid questions.

Any thoughts?


  • At 6:02 AM, Blogger Bekah said…

    I think this girl has bought into several myths, even while she questions others. First, while I don't know of any mothers who are forcing the idea of quick marriage and procreation on their daughters, I'm not too surprised that such a mindset exists. The young lady is right to question such a mother. Secondly, she is also correct in questioning the Hollywood version of "love" and marriage, where completeness comes only through finding that "perfect" mate.

    She appears, however, to fall prey to several things here. First, she writes off Christian mothers as being completely blinded by the myth of happy housewife. I think if you ask most Christian housewives, you won't be getting that enchanted viewpoint. The mature Christian mother will understand that wifehood/motherhood is very difficult, although rewarding, and will prepare her daughter accordingly, not with starry-eyed dreams, but with practical skills and with spiritual guidance that will prepare her for reality.

    Secondly, the young lady limits her choices in life, saying that women should "choose a career or children and stick with your choice." While this might sound quite practical, it completely ignores whatever God might have waiting for her! What if she starts out on a career and God sends her the desire and opportunity to marry? Is the career the new nunnery? What if she marries and has children, but has to help support them, or what if they should grow up and leave and she's left feeling less-than-useful? Should she be put out to pasture or should she pursue a career that emlpoys her talents?

    Thirdly, the girl questions college as a preamble to beginning a family. "If you intend to marry and start a family right out of college, why even go to college in the first place?" Well, you can't start a family out of college if you never go! What if you aren't given the opportunity to have a family right after (any) schooling? Do you sit and twiddle your thumbs, waiting for Prince Charming to show up at your Mama's door with his white horse? God gave each woman talents and skills He wants to see used, and college provides a woman an environment where she can develop those skills (including thinking skills). They do come in handy no matter what she ends up doing later in life!

    Lastly, the young woman chooses as her solution to the "obsession with love" the cynic's response: "better to go down fighting rather than search for an idealized love that will leave us empty in the end." Yes, idealized Hollywood love is not reality. No, we don't have to throw out real love with the idealizations. God made us with a craving for love that romantics try to fill with the fairy tale love stories. It takes wisdom to accept that we crave love, understand that men will not fill that love completely, and to believe that God will love us in a better-than-fairy tale way.

    I think what this girl is looking for is maturity among Christian women. Mothers, don't feed the "knight on a white horse" myth! Prepare your daughters' hearts for the King, not the princes. She will then feel complete enough to trust God's providence, no matter if she becomes a career woman, a mother, or (oh my goodness!) both.

  • At 7:05 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Mothers, don't feed the "knight on a white horse" myth! Prepare your daughters' hearts for the King, not the princes. She will then feel complete enough to trust God's providence, no matter if she becomes a career woman, a mother, or (oh my goodness!) both.

    That must be the quote of quotes! Thanks for sharing it with us. You said much that is discussion worthy...I look forward to reading more!

  • At 7:47 AM, Blogger givengrace said…

    Wow--so much to discuss here.

    First, I'm glad Bekah added this thought: "She will then feel complete enough to trust God's providence, no matter if she becomes a career woman, a mother, or (oh my goodness!) both."

    Amen! I kept thinking when I read the original quotation in the post that this girl had the either/or mentality. Why?

    And let's say a girl does get married "right out of college" and then chooses not to work outside the home--does that mean college was unuseful? What about all the life lessons, enlargened perspectives, and thinking skills she would have developed?

  • At 8:27 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    I think this either/or mentality is what the anti-college-for-women crowd really emphasizes. Once again, there is the idea that if a woman is given a taste of independence, education, and, perhaps even those critical thinking skills, she will not be the best wife and homemaker she can be. If I only had one of those little emoticons right now, you know the one where the red-faced guys is banging his head against the wall!!!!

  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Historically, single women have been viewed as incomplete, immature, or even flawed. Most of my single friends still get this vibe. I know that mant people didn't treat me as complete until I had a living child (even though I had several children in Heaven). Patriarchy often reduces women to a sum of their relationships.

    It's not Hollywood alone that romanticizes romance. Before the 1920s, marriage was seen as a contract of sorts, not a love-of-your-life relationship. If you happened to have a soulmate as your spouse, you were very blessed. But those John-and-Abigail-Adams marriages were rare. When in the 20s, the notion was that we marry for love, divorce went up and marital satisfaction went down.

    It's a relatively recent phenom. And not a good one.

  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger givengrace said…

    Camille, are you suggesting one should marry for a reason other than love?

    I'm curious.

  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said…

    I don't think the movies are destructive in and of themselves. Jane Austen movies, in particular, show a lot of depth in male/female relationships that our culture should learn from (e.g. looking to the person's character, showing respect for the family, spending time together in larger social situations instead of just one-on-one, learning communication skills over simple sexual gratification).

    The problem is with those, typically mothers but not always, who glorify romance and marriage without expressing to these girls that they will be just as loved and cherished and fulfilled if they go to their deaths unmarried and/or childless. And who often fail to communicate that marriage and family take hard work and isn't all roses, chocolate, and moonlight kisses. -Rachelle

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    **Camille, are you suggesting one should marry for a reason other than love?**

    Not necessarily. I'm only reviewing the historical/scholarly assumption that when "love" got mixed up as a requirement for marriage, we had our heads in the clouds about what a good marriage should look like. It was more about a beautiful romantic ideal, instead of something more long-term, more practical, and more edifying.

    Make sense?

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    This does make sense and I believe is part of the more recent emphasis on courtship vs dating in some Christian circles. We have hoped that our children would think through what they thought were important qualitites to see in a potential mate before getting emotionally involved and have encouraged that.

    However, I do think that a good marriage will contain elements of "electricity" between a woman and a man. Did I just grow up in the 60's and listen to too much Motown?

  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger givengrace said…

    On marriage:
    Ok, Camille, I understand your point. Actually, I'm glad you mentioned it because it's good for me to think about.

    Hollywood/Society/the Church has created a certain set of expectations, and often those expectations are false, not based upon Scripture.

    but then I also agree with prairiegirl and think a certain "spark" is essential.

    On Jane:
    And back to the original post--I'm not sure that I would fault Jane Austen so heavily. In her society, girls really did just get married; that was their biggest hope. Austen rocked the boat in her own way by suggesting that women should be intelligent (Elizabeth Bennett loves to read and thinks as critically as any man in the story).

    While it would have been cool for Lizzy to go to college, it would have been totally taboo.

    And like Rachelle pointed out, Austen does emphasize attraction to one's mate because of strength of character.

  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Whitney said…

    To Prairie Girl,

    Spark is necessary. I could have gone out (and probably married) a guy who was awesome, but there wasn't any spark there. Thankfully, I am marrying a guy who I am very attracted to.

    Attraction, however, does not necessarily mean "love at first sight." For me, attraction came after I grew to knew him really well. We clicked on another level first (our lives clicked, I guess - we woudl talk for literally hours one end) and then sexual attraction was there from nowhere.

    So, yes, attraction MUST be there, but it doesn't necessarily mean sexual attraction. That could come a week later. ;-)


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