In the wake of this epic 1996-level wild thread/discussion about marriage difficulty for young Christian men and women these days, the male blogger Deep Strength posted a long rambling thing about “feminine beauty” that made me realize a key part of where some men are talking past some women in these matters.
A scale is not a switch. When some men use the classic 10 point scale for looks/beauty/attractiveness, they aren’t using it as a scale, but as a switch. On/off. Yes/No (to the question of whether they might, in the abstract, desire to know a woman in the Biblical sense). That is why Deep Strength thinks the young woman in his post went from a “3” to an “8” when she didn’t budge much in the scale sense. She wasn’t a 3 or an 8 to start with. She was an average girl who now looks above average because she puts more effort into her dress and carriage and lost weight via exercise and diet. On a ten point scale she went from 5 to 6.
But this blogger converted “went from girl I would never think of desiring to girl I might have desirous thoughts of right now” into ten point scale language. “From a 3 to an 8!”
This is, needless to say, confusing. He could have simply used a switch and reduced confusion dramatically.
This explains the obsession with “becoming an 8”, or “so and so is an 8 for sure!” by some men discussing love, sex and marriage. 8 is the switch.
He may be too young to remember Hot or Not. That is all he needs, and all anyone needs who insists on limiting female beauty to a switch.
Related to this, Deep Strength’s post concludes that young Christian women should wear the clothing the young woman (pictured in his example towards the end of his very long post) wears at 124 pounds to show that they’d like to be considered marriage-worthy by men around them.
ETA 4/12/17: Deep Strength responds here with “Girls are dumb and don’t know things, amirite?” but about 500x longer.
Evangelical Christian private schools. There is a great blog that tracks research and what data exists on homeschooling, and in this link there’s a discussion of some research into whether homeschooled kids marry and have kids differently than kids educated other ways (particularly public school kids).
In a nutshell, evangelical Christian private school attendees end up marrying before 25 and having their first kid a few years later. Catholic school attendees marry around 28-30 and have their first kid ASAP. Homeschool and public school kids have higher rates of teen and early 20s pregnancy and marriage (still fairly low in raw numbers) and higher rates of being unmarried at 39.
Without extreme religiosity, which drives most of the homeschool early marriage, homeschool family formation and childbearing is pretty much the same as public school family formation and childbearing, which is useful information for homeschoolers to have now that the extremely religious are a much smaller minority of homeschoolers these days.
I haven’t cross-referenced this with lifetime births per woman, but I suspect based on demographic patterns that this means homeschoolers and public school kids have slightly fewer lifetime children per woman and probably per man than religious private schoolers of either Catholic or Evangelical Christian persuasion.
Anyway my rapscallionate brood is going to evangelical Christian schools, I guess!
Despite the generally hilarious claims of the manosphere’s Christian rump to be interested in traditional sex roles and traditional understandings of marriage and authority, they ignore the obvious traditions when those traditions mean some woman somewhere might have actual social status and a respected position in her community beyond being a wife or a mother. They write endless screeds on marriage readiness as a sort of role playing game where it’s just a matter of hitting some benchmarks with “the current girl” enough times and you’ll get to the final boss fight (wedding ceremony) of Marriage: The Quest for a Purest of Pure Godly Submissive But Also Hardbodied Wife. Or they write about finding a wife as though it’s about sifting through character traits like a basket of costumes, wearing only the ones “women care about the most”.
Left out of all this, of course, is going to the conservative Christian women who are most likely to be swimming in under 25, chaste, often Christian young women who want to marry and be housewives. That is middle aged women in their 30s and 40s. Older such women usually have all the kids out of the house and are mostly around career types or caring for their relatives’ kids. Younger such women are swimming in very young kids of their own or working. But women in their 30s and 40s usually have at minimum stuff like the teachers and administrators of their childrens’ activities and school (yes, even homeschooling women) or their own teenagers/young 20somethings heading into marriageable age range. Some also have the (usually young) women who help out around the house and/or younger female relatives who really like children enough to buck social norms and hang out with them a lot.
Middle aged married women used to serve as a bridge between young single men and young single women, gently and sometimes not so gently guiding compatible personalities towards each other even in ye olde times when marriage was supposedly never about romantic attachment, just babies and property. And yet, those women are no longer treated as valuable assets in the quest for a wife by young Christian men. The Christian manosphere is just jerky and disrespectful about it rather than oblivious. As a result, even though many middle aged married women are still able to have acquaintance with young marriageable women, they don’t get any opportunities to revive the old traditions of guiding and matchmaking compatible young people towards a clear marriage path (no long engagements, as one example).
In a legitimately Christian patriarchal social structure, married women have real social power as a result of being married women. This is something the Christian manosphere doesn’t get about the realities of Christian patriarchy. Non-Christian patriarchy can be this way, but needless to say, women have more freedom in Christ and that extends to their roles in a patriarchal system too. One of the ways you can tell the manosphere talk about restoring traditional sex roles is not “sex realism” is that they don’t believe that the state of being married confers real status on a woman. They believe the status conferred is just stuff in her silly female brain, that the only real status accrues to men. This is a lot of things, but it’s not very traditional for Western Christian societies.
Even in our deracinated, atomized society, middle aged married women are the ones who are around the kind of teenaged and 20something young women who still want marriage and babies and staying home with them more than any other group of people and therefore the fact that nobody knocks on middle aged married womens’ doors offering to help them throw parties and social events to bring together young singles in a neutral but emotionally complex setting that allow for getting to know someone’s personality and attitude (they don’t) is part of why the Christian marriage situation is so dire for men and women alike.