The Poison Red Pill, Misreading Proverbs 31 and promoting isolation as virtue.

To begin this series, I’ll start with discussing a post by someone blogging as “Girl with a Dragonfly Tattoo”.  It’s part of some interminable series on Proverbs 31, the love of Christian women everywhere.  I love the Proverbs 31 wife too, she’s a comfort and joy to read about along with all the other idealized portraits in the Bible.  It’s nice to see an ideal written up.  But it’s an ideal.  She’s not a real human woman like Miriam or Leah or even mother of God Mary.

Anyway, the basic overview is typical for Red Pill Women.  You’re supposed to get up super early, that part about servants is meaningless.  There’s of course no *real* obstacles to early rising, you just have to want to be holy enough!  She even references her mother as an early riser, because five year old children are great recordkeepers.

But more to my core points, she references *rich people who use stimulants and have paid staff* as her model for what housewives nursing and getting pregnant frequently should do to be more productive.  This is pretty typical of Red Pill Women.  They do the same thing the men they identify with do of hyperfocusing on a narrow group of privileged people as if they are the norm.  Only here SAHMs are supposed to behave like male executives on amphetamines who have wives, nannies and secretaries and personal assistants.  But the SAHM is NOT supposed to have those things, oh no!

Because a maid is “unimaginable luxury”.  Yes, in this TLDR; post about the Proverbs 31 wife, the OP conveniently declares the servant verses to be metaphorical, but the rising early verses to be worth charts and figures and paragraphs of hectoring.  But fifty bucks every other week so you can stay on top of the household cleaning more easily and have a little free time to try that getting up early?  UNIMAGINABLE LUXURY.  And clearly a teenage homeschooled girl coming over every other morning so you can be a little more rested on known busy days, well, that isn’t even in her blog post.  Even though teenaged nursemaids are a thing, historically.

Red Pill Women don’t appear to be aware there are any other women in the Bible except this one imaginary one and then they ignore the fact that she is a wealthy man’s wife and almost certainly the daughter of a wealthy man as well with her own dowered property/jewels/livestock.  The point of this fictional wife was to emphasize the rarity, the uncommonness.  Such a woman is supposed to be rarer than rubies, a beautiful ideal.  She isn’t supposed to have all her qualities peeled away and converted into exciting new ways to overwork married mothers of young children and deny them the historical levels of other-women support they used to have in the patriarchal days of yore.

I even agree with “Girl With A Dragonfly Tattoo” about the importance of sleep.  But you know what?  The average SAHM simply isn’t given the resources to get a full night’s sleep and “go to bed earlier” doesn’t work if you’re combining it with “do whatever your husband wants”.  A lot of men want to stay up late to relax.  You can read old books and see that this is just part of the beautiful sex differences men and women have.  Women used to be allowed to go on to bed on their own so that they could get some extra sleep.

But the Red Pill says that this would not be submissive, respectful, etc.  Essentially all the “tips” she suggests on how to get more sleep assume some or all of a husband who wants to go to bed early every night, kids who sleep well whether nursed or formula fed, kids widely spaced (4+ years apart), fewer than three kids, no special needs kids, a husband who doesn’t want to use electronics or television after hours, and the ability to have private areas to focus on self-care such as the basics of the female toilet and hygiene.  I can keep going, but my point is that under the current anti-social setup most housewives have, her tips and tricks *WILL NOT WORK* for months to years on end.  One bad sleeper can trigger responses in the female body that include phantom screaming or lowered ability to sleep deeply.

So she wants SAHMs to be as productive as executives functioning on very little sleep, but without their resources.  And yet if a woman does prioritize getting that sleep, she’s still somehow a badwife, since she chooses for her example of getting more sleep a woman who didn’t get up early to serve her husband and slept in instead.  Broad social norms are antimatter for Red Pill Women.  But they are the only way women can be protected enough to do their work and serve and love their husbands and families in a consistent way.

Ace of Spades misses the unseen use of social media to be social offline.

Ace of Spades, a fairly major conservative blogger, writes here that conservatives need to abandon Facebook.

What he misses though, probably because they’re all literally closed, secret and otherwise kept from public view, is that Facebook is where mothers, particularly the SAHMs conservatives make lots of noise about supporting, are arranging their playdates and finding childcare and cleaning help or doing swaps or looking for extra work doing those things, where they are buying and selling stuff, and all the other things that used to be on mailing lists but are increasingly on Facebook.

Small businesses have also stopped using their own webpages in many instances in favor of Facebook.

Women, especially mothers, are using Facebook to arrange IRL stuff, that’s why they can’t quit it. Find a way to make all these things as one-stop shop as Facebook is and craigslist used to be for selling and buying, and then people will exit en masse. Right now I see lots of people leaving, but not the ones who need Facebook for these arrangements. Just single people, and some older folks.

We now need social media to form social bonds locally because of breeding for antisocial and autistic tendencies.  Plus, women are social creatures and that means they want socialness offline too.  I’ve tried to join mommy-only startups, and photo-posting sites, and so on and so forth.  But the critical mass never gets there, and it’s because these SAHMs can’t quickly set something up on their phones with ten different websites.  But Facebook is integrated into every smartphone, so you can easily arrange everything from it.

Conservatives are really unwilling to confront the woman problem, which is not that women need to lead their political movements or even participate in them, but that they need to actually have a real space with status and support for women and they just plain won’t do it and then whine about the consequences of women taking on liberal alternatives that supply what they sorely need.

Draft, so very very open for discussion and disassembly.

Gourmet home cooking isn’t easy or quick

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/11/the-myth-of-easy-cooking/417384

The Atlantic serves up a legitimate beef with a myth that I think any housewife of the last 20 years is quite familiar with.  Women have put vast amounts of effort into trying to make the “gourmet meal in 20 minutes” fairy tale come true for their own households or claiming they manage it…somehow.  This mother just threw down her spatula and picked up her laptop instead.  I appreciate her doing it.

She does live in New York City, the paradise of eating out pretty cheaply and decently if you want to do that, but her basic point that a watered-down fancy-chef recipe simply isn’t reasonable for normal life is a sound one.

Many women are afraid of not being “diverse” in the food they give their children, especially SAHMs, who believe that because they’re home all day they need to provide “real, HIGH QUALITY food” that they prepared with their own hands from numerous exotic ingredients.  An example of this is the homemade bread fad.  Although is it a fad if it, like homeschooling (which it did not come out of but which was one of the subcultures dragging it into acceptable non-fringeness) is now something all kinds of non-home-centered women feel is something they ought to do?  Making one’s own bread at home daily is relatively modern.  Like other kinds of cooking, in the past anyone good at it did it for most of the other people in their neighborhood.  But these days women are supposed to “easily” make their own bread all the time, with all kinds of “one weird tricks” to make it not take a long time or be physically demanding.  (It still does and is though.)

Cooking is one of those things where a lot of women would be better off buying the decent takeout and ready meals without being shamed over it because they’re housewives.  This is so totally a real thing, it’s super sad and depressing how women beat themselves up over this, or make little snippy comments to other women for the crime of buying potato salad from the deli instead of making it at home “Because it’s so easy and quick, why spend the money?” Because my time isn’t actually worth zero dollars and including my time, it’s cheaper to drive to the store or fire up GroceryDeliveryExpress2015 if you live near one and order the salad in bulk.

Anyway, the article is interesting and talks about how cookbooks used to be written by fellow housewives, but then EVERYTHING CHANGED IN THE 1980s.  Thanks Boomers!

A homeschooler’s history of homeschooling

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/main_articles/history_homeschooling/history_of_homeschooling/

This extremely popular homeschooling resource clearinghouse is run by a twice-married, very smart and career-oriented work-at-home mother who had two children about 15 years apart (one from each marriage, she is still in her second marriage) and homeschooled the second one starting when he was about 9 or 10.   That was around the time she figured out how to work from home in a very specialized way that allowed her a lot of free time and flexibility in home educating her son.

I put all that intro out there because most of the homeschool resources people still use now in 2015 come from these older people (mostly women) who were very diverse in their backgrounds and generally very brainy and immensely intellectually talented types who wanted to have kids anyway.

That page contains a very interesting piece of homeschooling history, the recollections and documentation of the conservative Christian homeschooling wing of homeschooling by Cheryl Seelhoff, whose divorce and adultery caused some major rifts within that community (which as you’ll learn from the history was really many little sub-communities who were openly inspired by the Amish and Mennonites and who often wouldn’t even let remarried people into their homeschool circles or home church circles, much less a woman who was at-fault in the classic sense for her divorce).  She herself is an interesting figure in homeschool history, as someone who provided a lot of resources and support even after she received ostracism from so many other homeschool big names.

The direct links to Seelhoff’s history are below, they are pdf scans, but quite readable and high quality.

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh1.pdf

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh2.pdf

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh3b.pdf

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh4.pdf

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh5.pdf

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/documents/hsh6.pdf

 

There are several very interesting books about the history and evolution of homeschooling, links to which can be found at the site of this homeschool researcher who wrote one of the most comprehensive ones.  Yep, there’s academic research on homeschoolers, quite a lot of it, some of it pretty high quality.

Anyway Seelhoff’s  history basically shows that the Superwife thing has been going on for a really long time among conservatives, as the mothers were expected to bake, can, garden, make their own clothes and those of their daughters (for modesty), homeschool, and be constantly pregnant or hoping to be while dad earned an income, but usually not a high one.  The major differences between these 1980s and 1990s homespun jumper folks and modern conservative Christian homeschoolers doing that is that the 1980s and 1990s folks mostly did bother to live near enough to each other to provide direct encouragement and support via numerous home churches.  And in what might unkindly be thought of as a kind of pyramidism, and more kindly as a conscious networking before internet, they often had “home businesses” selling each other “home-centered living” and “home schooling” lifestyle magazines, newsletters and curriculum, along with various Christian literature about how Biblical various practices were or weren’t.

Everything old is, as ever, new again.

Real Talk for SAHMs: Are conservative SAHMs trapped in a sick system?

From an interesting (but childless) permanent student who goes by Issendai here.  Let’s count the ways.

The Rules of a Sick System

Rule 1: Keep them too busy to think. 

We know all about Superwife syndrome and the endless performance pressure on conservative SAHMs to be busybusybusy.  Leisure time is not even in the vocabulary.

Rule 2: Keep them tired. Exhaustion is the perfect defense against any good thinking that might slip through. 

This is a huge one.  I got 10 hours of sleep…in the last four days.  This isn’t even unusual for conservative SAHMs, even for ones with kids who are primary school-aged or older (mine are not)!  All Rule 2 takes is for the other adults to do nothing.  And they don’t. There’s no systemic efforts, women are entirely reliant on hoping their own individual husband and individual church and individual extended family will do something.  And sometimes they do, but it’s reduced to “just luck” or “a different lifestyle choice”.

Rule 3: Keep them emotionally involved. 

This one sounds like it shouldn’t be on the list (after all, why wouldn’t you love your husband and your children and “be emotionally involved” with them?).  But what is being gotten at here is the illusion of status being used to maintain the emotional attachment.  There’s also, for conservative SAHMs, the extreme loyalty in the form of (weirdly cribbed from attachment parenting) being
“indispensable”.   Even postpartum after a fistula following delivery.  Even with pneumonia.  Even with the chronic fatigue and lowered performance and general taking the exhaustion out on the children.  The conservative SAHM is routinely told that she doesn’t need any other women around.  It helps if she’s the one telling it to herself over and over again, that a sitter to watch the kids once or twice a week so she could have some quiet uninterrupted time would be “letting another woman rear her children, that wouldn’t be Godly”, that her husband wanting to play video games until 1am and insisting she join in “is just part of being a good submissive wife, if I say no (and maybe get more than four hours’ sleep a day), I’m being DISLOYAL.”  And this works because conservative SAHMs believe they receive real, significant social status for being wives and mothers who stay home within the conservative world, even though this is not really the case in practice.

Rule 4: Reward intermittently. Intermittent gratification is the most addictive kind there is. 

Printables.  Pinterest.  Happy talk about how you’re making memories, not just messes.  There’s dozens of little thoughtstoppers and rituals that conservative SAHMs go through that provide a little burst of accomplishment-feeling.  There’s also the way in which the happy talk serves to make you feel grateful for five minutes alone, ever.  Intermittent rewards work a treat because the bar is so, so low for what is rewarding due to the overall poor conditions conservative SAHMs live under.

How Sick Systems Enforce The Four Rules

Now, Issendai describes how these rules are enforced in a sick system.  I edited out the work-related examples, because we’re talking about SAHMs and whether the system they are in is a sick one.

Keep the crises rolling. Regular crises perform two functions: They keep people too busy to think, and they provide intermittent reinforcement. After all, sometimes you win—and when you’ve mostly lost, a taste of success is addictive. 

This one right here is why I advocate so much for housewives having household help.  Otherwise it is very easy to slip into a permanent crisis mode.  It’s not that household help is magical, it’s that it’s another layer of potential protection, accountability for husband and wife, whether it’s relatives/neighbors/friends and/or paid.

Things will be better when... Intermittent reinforcement + hope = “Someday it will always be like this.” Perpetual crises mean the person is too tired to notice that it has never been like this for long.

“When we have another baby.” “When we stop having children.” “When I get that promotion, maybe you can have someone come once a month to help with the cleaning.”  “When the kids are older and can help out.” “When we find another church/parish.”

Keep real rewards distant. The rewards in “Things will be better when…” are usually nonrewards—things will go back to being what they should be when the magical thing happens. Real rewards are far in the distance. They look like they’re on the schedule, but there’s nothing in the To Do column. For example, everything will be better when we move to our own house in the country… but there’s nothing in savings for the house, no plan to save, no house picked out, not even a region of the country settled upon.

Since we’re talking about a disordered nuclear family for the most part, this is less true for conservative SAHMs than, say, a feminist nonprofit employee dating a punk musician.  Kids do grow up, after all.  But in practice there was never time to show them how to help, so it’s just easier to keep on doing as much alone as you can.  In practice he says he agrees with church teaching and you can get the old tubes untied and have a couple more kids, but there’s never any money for it and there’s always “serving him” that comes first, before teaching the one or two kids you do have anything that might ease your burden.  And you can’t enforce bedtimes, Daddy says he should have time with *his* kids when he can, even if it means loud action movies with your 10 and 12 yo sons until 1am and not-much homeschooling (and crisis! because they are cranky and struggle to get their lessons right.)  And the original example of the house in the country is absolutely spot-on, especially when you consider the conservative love of “homesteading” and “prepping”.

Establish one small semi-occasional success. This should be a daily task with a stake attached and a variable chance of success. For example, you need to take your meds at just the right time. Too early and you’re logy the next morning and late to work, too late and you’re insomniac and keep your partner up until you go to sleep, too anything and you develop nausea that interrupts your meal schedule and sets your precariously balanced blood sugar to swinging, sparking tantrums and weeping fits. It’s your partner’s job to get you to take your meds at just the right time. Each time she finds an ideal time, it becomes a point of contention—you’re always busy at that time, or you’re not at home, or you eat too early or too late so the ideal time shifts or vanishes entirely. But every so often you take your meds at just the right time and everything works perfectly, and then your partner gets a jolt of success and the hope that you’ve reached a turning point.

This one for conservative SAHMs is often family dinner or having something ready for Husband when he gets home from work rather than medication.  Homeschooling is also used this way.  Also religious practice, sadly.  “We could get to church/Mass more often if you’d just….”  “We could have family prayer every night/morning if you just….”

Chop up their time. Or if you’re partners, be glued to them at the hip, demand their attention at short intervals throughout the day (and make it clear that they aren’t allowed to do the same with you), establish certain essential tasks that you won’t do and then demand that they do them for you, establish certain essential tasks that they aren’t allowed to do for themselves and demand that they rely on you to do it for them (and then do it slowly or badly or on your own schedule). Make sure they have barely enough time to manage both the crisis of the moment and the task of the moment; and if you can’t tire them out physically, drain them emotionally.

I kept in the partner example here because this is in fact what happens to all too many conservative SAHMs.  It’s not just the children at young ages interrupting (and if you are pregnant every year or two, this doesn’t end for a decade or even two), it’s the husband pulling these very stunts when he doesn’t have the excuse of being 18 months old.  Conservative men will sometimes step this up in response to the kids getting older.  They’ll demand more and more time spent on their “needs”.

Enmesh your success with theirs.  The classic maneuver is to blame all your bad moods on your partner: If they weren’t so _______ or if they did ______ right, you wouldn’t be so stressed/angry/foul-tempered.

“If you were more submissive/skinny/kinky/organized/cooked better/dressed nicer, etc. I could get a better job/get more hours at work/pay the bills on time/help with the kids…”

Keep everything on the edge. Make sure there’s never quite enough money, or time, or goods, or status, or anything else people might want. Insufficiency makes sick systems self-perpetuating, because if there’s never enough ______ to fix the system, and never enough time to think of a better solution, everyone has to work on all six cylinders just to keep the system from collapsing.

Yep.  And there’s always, for a conservative SAHM, a fallback that their family is special and unique and there’s nobody out there quite as Godly or Catholic or Orthodox or pick your Christianish adjective. It’s just their individual family being “countercultural against the secular folks”.  Which means any failing in the wife is purely her own fault and something she has to work on.  There’s never any system-wide problem or structural issues with the subculture she’s in.  Why, didn’t she just say her family was countercultural?  What subculture?  What community of affinity?

It doesn’t have to be like this.  There is no reason infants and toddlers, even closely spaced, need to be a source of domestic chaos, sleep deprivation and poor health.  Unless the system of bearing and raising children is so broken that millions of women have to run around alone and tired, and amnesiac about the trauma when they come up for air once the kids are school aged.  Unless the system is, in fact, sick.

Dear Conservatives, setting things up so all housewives are drudges is anti-natalist and untraditional

Bullying women into staying home obviously doesn’t work, and yet it appears to make up the whole of the conservative argument for women staying home.  This is one of the core problems with American conservative Christian culture.  It leads to conservative Christian SAHMs putting kids into preschool as soon as the children age into it for breaks because “well, it’s not daycare now, it’s school!” It also leads to those women having fewer and fewer children.  Three is the new five and two is the new three.

Take cooking, as one example. Making stock takes time.  Sure, you don’t have to stand right over the pot, but you have to be in the general vicinity of the kitchen for 3-5 hours for relatively modest amounts of stock.  Now, this is the sort of homemade staple that we SAHMs are supposed to just have handy at all times, but it takes time to make it, and it takes even more time to make huge batches that you then freeze.  That’s a day or two or three you aren’t doing much else.  And I’ve already covered laundry.

As for childcare, we can’t all have lump babies that stay put wherever you plop them and we can’t all have children who hear an instruction to play quietly when they are older and do so for hours on end (this is actually fairly rare).  And the current status quo of spinning the childcare out to public school or preschool is not tenable, because it limits fertility and the false idol of homeschool robs a lot of communities of the stability they desperately need to have a functional school system.

There is no argument against homeschooling on a family level. Parents have the right and duty to educate our children as we see fit, and a state that interferes with this is acting unjustly. On a larger level, however, homeschooling as a movement is extremely uncharitable and antisocial. Not everyone can homeschool. As a society, we need schools and other collective institutions to spread the burden of childcare and primary education and to properly civilize and educate young people. But if you saddle enough individual families with the total burden of the care and education of their own children, you ensure that those families will have no surplus to support any such institutions. And this is in fact exactly what has happened. Everyone blames this on the homeschooling families themselves, because when you’re talking about homeschooling families you’re really talking about homeschooling mothers and no one ever passes up an opportunity to blame mom for everything, but individual families are just doing our best in impossible situations. But people who can’t homeschool are left entirely at the mercy of the world all the homeschooling families have retreated from. There’s no civil society to join run by homeschooling mothers because we’re all too tired. Homeschooling mothers generally don’t even help each other out.

http://www.isegoria.net/2015/04/making-time-for-kids/#comments  This longitudinal study suggests that being there when the kids are little is worth a lot less if the SAHM isn’t relatively rested most of the time.  And there is an argument here (though not one I would advocate or consider pro-woman) for working while they are little and then, when they need the intensive parenting in teenagerhood, being available then as a SAHM.

This is why it’s insane to set things up so all women are drudges, it’s not Christian or functionally patriarchal. A lot of personality disordered people are able to hide out in “traditional womanhood” because there is an irreducible amount of domestic work and right now, that burden is going to fall on women. People can fantasize about it being different but right now, that’s how it is. Moreover, very few people can make more money than their labor is worth at home and very few couples can split the work effectively, for exactly the same reasons jobsharing doesn’t work, which is that you need a manager.

Much of femininity and marriage is socially constructed but you can socially construct it well or you can socially construct it stupidly and marriage and patriarchy are BETTER so who cares if they’re natural plus, Christian patriarchy is the only society that supports female liberation so stop sawing the branch you’re sitting on.

Lastly, women used to produce concrete results in their domestic work.  The industrial age was a rapid process of removing those concrete accomplishments from the domestic sphere and replacing them with vague repetitive tasks like driving the kids to activities (which goes all the way back in America to the 1920s!) and endless cleaning up kid messes and of course our dear friend laundry.  Those things are not terrible or wrong for mothers to do, but the conservative approach to the whole thing is to lie to women that they never had any other aspects to their domestic work and that they should delight in the abstract repetitive slog with no clear results at the end of each day.  Women then run to “crafts” in a flight to concrete accomplishment, and then are mocked for the crafts not being sufficiently useful or practical.  It’s a vicious trap.

Anyway this is all just random notes accumulated over time so if it doesn’t read like an essay, well, it’s not. I don’t know how to help women get the concrete aspects back for domestic labor when it’s simply not essential to survival anymore.  Our household lives a pretty agrarian lifestyle and we wouldn’t starve if we had a plague followed by a drought.  It would just be expensive to buy store food again.  And that’s pretty much the core of the problem.  The concrete accomplishments of my agrarian living help alleviate the stresses of the worst of modern housewiving, but “be agrarian LARPers” is not a general solution to a general problem.

Why the SJW pushback is happening in gaming and SFF

It’s happening there because those are realms where conservative male fans are willing to do unpaid scutwork for ideological reasons, since conservative women are no longer allowed the leisure to conduct the culture wars.

Unpaid scutwork for ideology is not exclusively female, but women do tend towards a genuine preference for licking envelopes and composing form letter templates as compared to men.  I am not at all the first to point out the female preference for dull desk work, but it’s interesting when men do decide to provide a bunch of unpaid labor for a movement.

This is one of many reasons why I get all strident and repetitive about the cult of drudgery for housewives.  It’s not bad, guys, if there’s a class of women with leisure and free time, who are supported by their husbands.  Most of those women were not feminists or proto-feminists, contrary to the bizarre conservative narrative that “overly leisured housewives” are the source of all modern woe.  Leisured housewives are the women who provided the unpaid labor that supported so much that conservatives claim to adore, like functional public schools, social institutions, community events, parishes and other church infrastructure.

And it is very telling that you can only get leisured men to provide unpaid labor when it’s weird nerd hobbies.