Friday, June 1, 2007

Destructive Ranking and Powerful Cliques

Many have heard about the book:

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman.

It details the various personality dynamics in play within a young girl/woman's social life.I would like to challenge those of you familiar with a certain element of cyberspace known as the virtual neighborhood (forum boards) to contemplate a few disturbing trends that have become rooted in the culture of some Christian boards.

This blog will address the vicious and relentless judgment and ranking amongst conservative Christian women.

Just as teen and tween girls elbow each other for position and cache', inexplicably some of my Christian sisters still engage in this harmful spirit torture. Ironically, it isn't the "prettiest" or "richest" or "most educated" that is the 'IT" girl that all hope to emulate. It is the woman that can demonstrate the most extreme observance of supplication, modesty, frugality and submission. To understand my concern, one must understand the meanings of these adjectives to that group.

In order from "best" to "least desirable, possibly sin"….

(Queen Bees)

Head covering, no hair cutting
Dresses only
Quiver full
No jewelry
No makeup
No conversing with opposite sex outside of family
Home birther
Breast feeds with child led weaning and tandem nurses
Home schooler 2nd generation

(Side Kick)

No head covering, but no hair cutting
Modest culottes and loosely tailored slacks
NFP (since they don't QUITE trust God)
Wedding ring, one hole for studs per ear
Makeup for weddings
Can speak to opposite sex with other people present.
Home birther or woman's center
Breast feeds at least 1 year
First generation home schooler

(Torn Bystander)

Cuts and styles hair
Fashionable yet modest
No children yet, either longing to marry or engaged or trying to conceive
Wedding rings and other jewelry in good taste.
Light makeup daily
Social adept with appropriate boundaries
Likes the idea of hospital birth, but without drugs or C-section
Attempts to breast feed out of guilt, for a few weeks then bottle feeds
Contemplating homes schooling, but thinks Private may work


Cuts and Styles hair, but self critical
Modest and attempts to be fashionable but struggles with guilt (posts a lot of self berating and "is it a sin" questions)
May or may not be married with children, worries that she isn't as "good a woman" as others on the board.
Feels guilty when she gets dressed up, so usually doesn't
No time for makeup. Besides it would be a give away to her unrighteousness and financial irresponsibility
Holds women in awe that are in the first group
Attempted breastfeeding and became a bottle feeder
Knows that she cannot do home schooling and berates herself while championing the cause

What I find overwhelmingly sad is that within a group that is regularly overlooked, walked upon and under appreciated…these women cannot muster compassionate community amongst themselves.

Instead under the guise of Christian admonition and advice, women are spiritually tortured for missing the mark of the first group.

Never mind that lifestyle choices are completely the sole business of each couple… thus saith Evangelistic Christendom: You must be as we deem acceptable. There is more than one way to plan family size and childbirth experiences.

There is more than one acceptable fashion code. In fact, fashion isn't a dirty word. Shaving or using disposable diapers isn't an accurate measure of the quality of work a woman performs for herself, her husband or family.

How a woman takes care of her personal hygiene during menstrual cycles is even a measure of Godly womanliness. How much money does the method cost? Can it be homemade and cheaper?

Which brings up the question of household finances…

It seems that many of my sisters on some Christian boards are sacrificing and scrimping when it comes to personal needs or even desires. And to feel better about it, they file it under stewardship and submission and being a helpmeet. Although we are called to be wise with our resources, I don't know where the idea that anything that feels nice or is not a necessity is sin or waste.

I guess what I'm missing is a sense of balance.

In truth, the tighter one can squeeze a penny, the more clothes that you can make for yourself, the more babies that you can trust God to supply for, the avoidance of "government schools" at all cost and so on ad nauseum only add to the hierarchy of the Godly. It also adds to righteous indignation towards those that do not adhere and smugness.

Let's love each other as the wonderfully made women that we are. Let's encourage each other to seek the Lord's will for their family and lifestyle. And let's encourage following that leading from the Holy Spirit, even if their lives don't mirror ours.

Bottom line, you should only be "crunchy" if God calls you to it… Not just because it is the "in" thing in conservative Christianity. Don't let our sisters become an emotional casualty of condemnation. A C-section is not failure. Public school isn't disastrous. Occasional pampering is not moral turpitude. Responsible (non abortifacient) birth control is an option.

You know what they are: choices.

Imagine that!

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