Sure, everyone's heard of stay-at-home moms. But in the past decade, the Christian Patriarchy Movement has produced another offshoot: stay-at-home daughters.
The faces of this movement — which encourages young women to stay at home, forsake education and devote themselves to their fathers (until they're given to husbands, of course)— are two sisters, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of the Visionary Daughters blog, the book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God and the resulting documentary, Return of the Daughters. They're far from alone: there are networks of blogs by SAHD's and their married counterparts, extolling the beauty of surrendering independence and the folly of conventional expectations fostered by "radical feminists." And, naturally, there are patriarchs at the fore. An in-depth profile in Bitch (linked by the estimable Christian Nightmares) quotes Doug Phillips, the San Antonio minister who's the founder of Christian Patriarchy org Vision Forum:
Daughters aren't to be independent. They're not to act outside the scope of their father. As long as they're under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can't just go out independently and say, ‘I'm going to marry whoever I want.' No. The father has the ability to say, ‘No, I'm sorry, that has to be approved by me.'
How do these girls fill their time? Well, learning domestic skills — many of them archaic — and caring for families. Because, since the movement's closely aligned to the Duggar-approved Quiverfull movement (Michelle Duggar recently won Vision Forum's "Mother of the Year" award) , there tend to be a lot of kids around. And while the pitfalls of a movement that encourages women to surrender all control and forsake education seem so obvious as to not need enumerating, there are special risks associated with this lifestyle: you may recall in the Quiverfull episode of Secret Lives of Women that one young woman talks about the incredible stress associated with devoting her life to her siblings — pressures that in her case led to severe depression and self-harm. One website, Quivering Daughters, provides a supportive community for young women in just this situation — what they refer to as "emotional and spiritual abuse within authoritarian families."
We're sure plenty of these adherents are happy in their lifestyle, but what's troubling — obviously — is that, despite the rhetoric, it's not a choice. It's a dictum, being enforced on a lot of women. And we're not seeing blogs and films from those who aren't happy. Says Bitch, while this movement certainly doesn't have a monopoly on the idea of Biblical patriarchy,
unlike other extremely conservative religious groups such as the Amish or fundamentalist Mormon polygamists, which are typically closed off from the rest of society, the stay-at-home-daughters movement and the CPM might be capable of seeping into the already-booming populations of evangelical and fundamentalist churches and Christian homeschoolers, which already advocate a less-rigorous version of female submission. In this sense, stay-at-home daughters might feel that they are the most pure, and most righteous, of Christians
There's also coo-option of language like "counter-cultural" and "daring to defy" the prevailing dogma: these lifestyles are presented as radical — rather than regressive.
House Proud [Bitch]