This morning over breakfast, I saw today’s featured photo on Facebook, shared by the Retro Wifey page. I don’t often think of that page as controversial, as the woman who runs it usually shares nostalgic pictures of old toys, retro clothes, ads for discontinued restaurants and businesses, and the odd meme. In fact, I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to what she posts, and I almost never comment. I wasn’t going to comment on the photo about spanking. Instead, my first reaction was to X out the picture and snooze the page for thirty days. I often do that with Father Nathan Monk’s page.
I decided to leave a comment when I noticed the dozens of people who were championing the physical punishment of children. You see, I have noticed that when it comes to spankings and similar punishments, results tend to vary. My southern, conservative, alcoholic, Air Force officer dad raised me like he was raised by his own alcoholic father. When my dad decided I had misbehaved in some way, he would often employ spanking as his “go to” discipline.
Because I was a bright, high-mettled child who could be sassy, I got a lot of spankings. They didn’t happen daily or weekly, but they happened often enough that I couldn’t count how many times they happened in my childhood. I don’t remember my father ever being calm when he delivered them. He never had a talk with me about why what I did was wrong. My dad never offered me a hug or encouragement to “do better”. Instead, when he felt correction was necessary, he would fly into a rage, grab me, and spank (or slap) me with his hand as hard as he could. I would scream and cry, and he would just keep hitting and yelling at me.
My father’s spankings were terrifying experiences for me every time they happened, from the time I was a toddler, until I was an adult. Yes, that’s right. The last time my dad raised a hand to me, I was almost 21 years old. That was when I told my father that if he ever laid another finger on me in anger, I would call the police. Although my dad was outraged by the threat (which was actually a promise), he must have known I was serious. The next time he tried to hit me (when I was 26 years old), I reminded him about my promise, and he wisely backed off. That was the last time he ever tried to use physical “punishment” on me. I decided that from now on, anyone who hits me had better kill me.
I’ve written a number of times about why I don’t think spanking is an effective disciplinary method. I’ve thought a lot about why I feel the way I do. I’ll tell you one thing. When my grown man father unleashed his frustrations on me, a little girl, I didn’t feel respect for him when he finished. Instead, I felt a mixture of rage, sorrow, pain, fear, and hatred for him. To me, it doesn’t make any sense to demand “respect” from someone by hitting them. Physical punishments may inspire immediate compliance, but the violent imprint is hard to erase.
Decades after my last “spanking”, I still have a lot of unresolved anger toward my dad. I still deeply resent him for the traumatic memories I have of those discipline sessions, and the way they made me feel. If my father had done to my mother what he did to me, people would call him a wife beater. And yet, people on Facebook still champion spankings as good parenting, claiming that their parents were “right” to hit them. They claim that spanking is what taught them “respect for others”. I’m sure it hasn’t occurred to them that hitting another person isn’t a respectful thing to do. Especially when the person is as powerless on every level as most children are.
My dad died in 2014. I didn’t cry much, which surprised me. I think I had a lot of mixed feelings about his death. Yes, it was hard to lose my dad on the most basic of levels. Over six years, I watched him go from an independent man, to someone completely dependent on my mother. He had lost his ability to think clearly and move freely. So, in a sense, I was relieved that he died, just to free him of the terrible reality of living with Lewy Body Dementia. There were also some good times, when he was thoughtful, funny, and kind. I remember he could be fun, especially when I was little. Sometimes, we had some interesting discussions.
But, I was also legitimately glad I didn’t have to see him again. Never again would I have to hear him complain about my laugh, or make comments about my body or hair. I would never have to see his reddened face again when he was angry. He would never again try to compete with me or resent my successes and failures. I wouldn’t get another unsolicited phone call from him, criticizing my life choices or demanding an accounting of how I spend my time.
I’m sure if I had asked my dad if he loved me, he would have said yes. In fact, he did tell me he loved me somewhat frequently. So that’s why it’s confusing to me that a man who supposedly “loved” me was okay with hitting me. Would he have encouraged my husband, Bill, to hit me whenever I made him angry? What would happen if that was Bill’s way of dealing with everyone who annoyed or angered him? He’d probably be unemployed, and possibly incarcerated.
My decision to write about spanking again today came about because, when I saw that photo on Facebook, it triggered me. Before I knew it, I was once again spilling my guts to Bill about old, traumatic memories. It can’t be a good thing to still be angry about things that happened 40 years ago. When I’ve talked to spanking proponents about this, they’ve implied that I should just “let it go.” As easy as that suggestion is to make, it’s not always an easy thing to do. If it were easy to just “let it go”, I would have done that years ago.
Other people have excused spanking, claiming that what my dad did wasn’t actually spanking. They tell me it was abuse. A couple of people have even gone as far as calling my dad’s spankings “beatings”. But who decides what constitutes a spanking, and what constitutes a beating? My dad called what he did “spanking”. I don’t think he ever learned about spanking from someone knowledgeable about the subject. I think he did to me what his father did to him. And, I distinctly remember that my father had very negative opinions of his father. He very rarely spoke of him. When he did, it was usually when he was drinking. I don’t remember him having good things to say about my grandfather (whom I never knew). In fact, at Thanksgiving, when family members would speak of Pappy, my dad would usually leave the room.
At 50 years of age, I still have a lot of issues with my self-esteem. I don’t feel lovable to most people, and expect most people to dislike me, so I don’t make an effort to make friends. In my experience, making friends with people usually ends in disappointment. While I didn’t have the worst childhood, and many have had it worse, I still feel quite angry about the way I was treated. That man was half responsible for my being here. The least he could have done was treat me with basic respect. Especially if respect was what he expected from me.
I know it’s water under the bridge. I will never get an apology for the way I was raised. There is comfort in knowing that at least I won’t pass this crap to a new generation. I’m also grateful that I married a very gentle, disciplined, and kind man, in spite of his career choice. I don’t have to worry about physical abuse anymore. But dammit, it still hurts when I see people praising corporal punishment, claiming it’s the way to save humanity by instilling “respect” in children.
Children don’t learn respect from being hit. They learn fear. There is a HUGE difference between fear and respect. I just wish more people would stop and think about how they’d like to be remembered by their children before they raise hands to them. I doubt my dad would like knowing that I still resent him for treating me the way he did.
I wrote this review for Epinions.com in 2011. It appears as/is.This was another very popular review, despite the fact that Debby Boone’s life story was published in 1981! I think people are interested in this review because Debby wrote about Pat Boone’s penchant for spankings. People are dirty. 😉Some people also don’t agree with my assessment of Debby Boone circa 1981. Remember folks, it’s just my opinion.
The other night, I posted a news article on Facebook about 50s singer Pat Boone, who is apparently a tried and true Tea Partyer. Boone was in the news for saying that President Obama was not really born in Hawaii. He claimed that he went to Kenya and “everybody there” told him that Obama was born there. Therefore, in Pat Boone’s mind, Barack Obama is not eligible to be our president. The response to my link about Pat Boone got lively and that inspired me to re-read his daughter Debby Boone’s 1981 book, So Far.
This isn’t the first book I’ve read by Pat Boone’s offspring. When I was in high school, I read Cherry Boone O’Neill’s book, Starving for Attention, because I was learning about eating disorders. Cherry Boone O’Neill, Pat Boone’s eldest daughter, had suffered from anorexia nervosa in the 1970s. At the time, I didn’t know that much about 50s sex symbol/teen idol Pat Boone. I had heard of his daughter, Debby Boone, who had sung the smash hit “You Light Up My Life”. But other than that, the Boone family was a mystery to me.
I learned a bit about Pat Boone’s family from reading Cherry’s book. I knew that Pat Boone was a very strict disciplinarian and that he and his wife, Shirley, had raised their four daughters to be obedient servants of the Lord. In her book, Cherry had explained that she and her sisters had grown up in luxury, but their days were centered around being perfect Christians. Besides being heavily involved in church activities, Pat Boone’s girls had inherited formidable musical talent and performed quite a bit. I wanted to learn more about them, so a few years ago, I picked up Debby Boone’s 1981 book, So Far, for the first time. Now that I’ve read it a second time, I think I can probably put this book back on the shelf for good.
Debby Boone’s life story circa 1981
At the very beginning of her book, Debby Boone writes that writing has never come easily for her. She doesn’t know why she’s writing her life story. She explains that she had originally been skeptical that writing her story would be worthwhile. Her mind changed when she started getting fan mail from people. Evidently, the mail got to be too much for her to answer, so she figured it would be easier to write a book. Of course, it’s not lost on me that those who wanted to get Debby’s response would be paying hard earned money for the book. But nevertheless, I guess her fans appreciated it.
Bear in mind that Debby Boone was born in 1956. In 1981, she was just 25 years old. Yes, she had done some exciting things in her then brief lifetime. She had grown up in California with a famous father. She later became very famous herself, when she released the radio version of “You Light Up My Life”, a song that was originally recorded by the late session singer Kasey Cisyk for the film by the same name. Debby Boone’s version of the song was huge and it made her a household name. So, I imagine in 1981, Debby Boone was still pretty famous. Why shouldn’t she have written a book while people still remembered her name? Well, I’ll tell you why.
There’s just not much to this book
Debby Boone freely admits that she’s not much of a writer. She admits that as a child, she often handed in work that was done by her three sisters, rather than her. At age 25, she hadn’t really lived yet, although she apparently did spend a lot of time turned over her father’s knee.
Debby Boone was a bad girl
Evidently, Pat Boone spanked his daughters even after they had reached the legal age of majority. Debby Boone frequently describes behavior that, frankly, probably warranted punishment. In fact, there are a few times in the book that she basically admits to being a manipulative bully to her sisters and kids she knew in school. She seems almost a little proud of her brattiness, as she describes how she got some poor little boy in trouble by falsely accusing him of swearing at her. Her tone is almost gleeful as she relates how she conned her younger sister, Laury, into riding her bike naked around the front yard and how, more than once, Laury took one of Pat Boone’s legendary beatings in her stead because Laury had a tender heart and hated to see her sisters cry.
Speaking of beatings
Pat Boone was spanked until he was seventeen years old. Apparently, Pat Boone’s mother had a way with a strap and would make his bum smart so much that he couldn’t sit down for awhile. Apparently not to be undone by his mother, Pat Boone was also fond of using implements to discipline his daughters. Debby Boone writes that she and her sisters would often compare “war wounds”. Pat Boone would use a slipper, a belt, or any other tool that stung to make his spankings really hurt. Consequently, after one of Pat Boone’s spankings, his daughters were often left with bruises.
In a chapter entitled “The Last Spanking”, Debby explains that when she was 19 years old, her father got angry with her for taking too long to get a snack from a hotel vending machine. Pat Boone caught Debby in the hotel lobby, talking to one of the musicians in their band. It was late and she had been gone about twenty minutes. He was “worried”, so he grabbed her, marched her upstairs, and gave her “what for”. He meant to give her a spanking, but in the course of their fight, had accidently hit her in the head. The blow caused a goose egg and the hapless musician Debby had been talking to in the lobby called Pat on the phone to cool him down. I guess it was enough time for Pat to come to his senses. Supposedly, he never spanked Debby again.
Debby Boone writes of her experiences helping children with autism, visiting sick children in hospitals, and working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM– pronounced “why wham”). She seems proud of her work with children, given that her older sister, Cherry, and Cherry’s husband, Dan, also worked with YWAM and no doubt had a lot to do with her choice to work with that organization.
She also writes of how she became Mrs. Gabriel Ferrer. For those who don’t know, Debby Boone’s mother-in-law is the late Rosemary Clooney. That means she is related by marriage to George Clooney. Of course, George Clooney was a nobody in 1981.
As they were with everything else in their daughters’ lives, Mr. and Mrs. Pat Boone were heavily involved in Debby’s romances. Gabriel Ferrer had to ask for Debby’s hand in marriage. And it was a good thing he was a devoted Christian. Apparently, Pat Boone would not have stood for anyone but a “believer” to marry his daughters.
An abrupt ending
So Far comes to a screeching halt when Debby and Gabriel Ferrer get married. A year after the wedding, they had their first child, Jordan. These details are at the very end of the book, which to me, seems odd. It’s almost as if the major life events of getting married and becoming a mother were almost an afterthought.
I think Debby Boone was very premature in writing her life story, even if she admits it was only “so far”. I have a feeling she wrote this book for the money, which is, I guess, a valid enough reason to write it. But she comes off as a bit smug and self-congratulatory in this book. She reprints a couple of thank you letters she got from the mothers of sick kids she visited in the hospital. She writes very little about her childhood. Indeed, this book seems to be more about her life as a young adult than her life story. And other than the fact that her dad employed corporal punishment, wouldn’t let his daughters date or wear makeup until they were 16, and took liberties with his daughters’ love lives and finances, she doesn’t reveal that much about her family.
I got a lot more out of Cherry Boone O’Neill’s book, Starving for Attention, which was a lot more interesting, better written, and much more complete. Debby Boone does include some photos, but they are poorly edited and a couple of them were also in Cherry’s book.
Even if you are a Debby Boone fan, I’m not sure So Far is worth reading. If you’re actually curious about what it was like to be Pat Boone’s daughter, I recommend Starving for Attention. I think Cherry far outshone Debby in the book writing department, even if Debby will always be known for her one hit wonder.
I don’t expect a lot of people are looking for this book anymore. For good reason, it’s long out of print. Plenty of copies are available on Amazon, again, for good reason.
As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.
I remember in August 2014, Bill and I were living temporarily in an apartment in Kemnat, a suburb near Stuttgart. I spent my days hanging out with Zane and Arran, burning up because it was hot outside. The Duggars were in the news because Michelle Duggar had made a controversial political robocall to people in Arkansas. Why was she robocalling? It was because she was hoping to influence Arkansans to vote against an anti-discrimination ordinance designed to allow transgendered people to use restrooms and lockers that correspond to their gender identities.
This morning, today’s featured photo was in my Facebook memories. Given that Josh Duggar is currently in huge trouble with the feds for being caught receiving and possessing images of child sexual abuse, it’s pretty crazy that in 2014, Michelle Duggar was saying things like “We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child…” Wow… the hypocrisy is astounding!
As I waited for Bill to come home the other day, I ran across an episode of 17 Kids and Counting. In the beginning, you hear Michelle Duggar’s annoying baby voice as she lists all of her children’s names. At that point, Jennifer Duggar, born in 2007, was the youngest, and Michelle was pregnant with Jordan, who was #18 and would be born in December 2008. She would have one more live birth, when youngest child Josie was born very prematurely the following year. Then she got pregnant one last time and eventually lost that baby, Jubilee Shalom.
I remember Michelle Duggar once had a good reputation as a wonderful, caring, and compassionate mother. I have never seen a lot of proof that she was a wonderful mother. On the contrary, I’ve seen evidence that her daughters are good moms, mainly because they’ve always been doing the heavy lifting of raising their siblings while their mom worked on perfecting her “baby voice”. And she used that voice to promote anti-LGBTQ propaganda while her eldest son, supposedly sheltered from the Internet, was looking at porn. Such hypocrisy!
As Bill and I were sharing coffee this morning, I was reading the Duggar Family News Facebook group. Someone had shared a link to a post from the truly creepy blog, Biblical Gender Roles about the practice of “domestic discipline” and wife spanking. I’ve written about this blog a couple of times before, most recently in July 2020, when a friend of mine shared with me a different post about “grooming one’s wife” to accept domestic discipline that came from the Biblical Gender Roles blog. I also wrote about a post that appeared in 2019 regarding marital rape— a woman’s husband wanted to have sex with her when she wasn’t interested. The blogger from Biblical Gender Roles wrote that according to the Bible it’s impossible for a married woman to be raped by her husband. And of course, my take is that marital rape is certainly possible and it can be perpetrated by either spouse. It happened to my husband when he was married to his ex wife.
Legally, rape means that a person hasn’t consented to sexual contact. It does not matter if the participants are married to each other. But fundie Christian women are taught to always be “joyfully available” to their husbands. When their husbands fall from grace, as Josh Duggar repeatedly has, the woman is liable to be blamed. Why? Because she wasn’t available enough for her husband to satisfy his sexual needs. Michelle Duggar, the same woman who, in a robocall to Arkansans said “We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child…”, told her own daughter Jill, before Jill married her husband, Derick Dillard:
“And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.’ ”
In other words, this “wonderful mom”, Michelle Duggar, told her daughter that her body isn’t her own. It’s either going to be used by her husband for sex, or used to nourish and develop a fetus, who will either also be used as a vessel for developing new life and as a sexual plaything, or will be a user, as males apparently are in fundie Christianity. Josh Duggar grew up being taught that his wife was to be used, and she was expected to be “joyfully available” to him, on the pain of being disciplined by the head of the family. His sister Jill, on the other hand, got a very different message. She was to be “available” to her husband, whenever he wanted her. She was to submit to his will. In short, she was physically an adult, but in all other ways, she was basically expected to be like a child– seen and not heard– quiet, submissive, and available always.
I’m sure, behind closed doors, Anna Duggar has been blamed for not satisfying Josh Duggar’s “needs”, causing him to fall into the dark web and view “forbidden images” of a sexual nature. But here she is, still in her early 30s and pregnant with her seventh child, another girl. Obviously, she was available to Josh, and he was fulfilling his sexual needs with her. But that wasn’t enough, and he’s evidently been indulging in illegal and immoral activities involving children. How did this happen?
I have never been impressed by either of the Duggar parents. For years, I’ve heard them both talk about how children are blessings and gifts from God. Rather than being good stewards of their children and raising them properly, Michelle Duggar basically turned into a brood animal and popped out children that were then farmed out to their sisters to raise. That’s not fair to the children at all. There was a time in history when having a huge family might have made some sense, since a lot of children died before coming of age and people had farms they needed help to run. Nowadays, I think having that many children is selfish and irresponsible. I don’t like to tell people how many children they should have, but I do think that if you’ve gotten to the point of farming out your kids to their older siblings, you’ve had too many. It’s not the job of underage children to raise their siblings.
Childhood is a brief time in a person’s life, and that’s when people should be focused on their own development and maturity. The way it’s been done in the Duggar family is that some of the children– the eldest sisters– had to grow up too fast. And yet, even when they were raising their siblings, they were still treated like children, forced to share a room and not allowed to choose what they wanted to wear or who they wanted to date or marry, in the sense that they needed Jim Bob’s permission and their husbands to be were forced to answer excessive questionnaires before Boob would give his “blessing”.
When I look at Michelle Duggar’s comment that “We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child…”, and then I see that her very first child– one of the few that she must have had the biggest part of raising– has turned out to be a sexual deviant, I can’t help but think her thoughts on protecting children are warped. She didn’t even protect her own daughters from their brother– her precious firstborn son– who took liberties with them when he was an adolescent. They didn’t get appropriate and effective help for Josh when his deviant behaviors presented themselves when he was still a child. They also didn’t get help for their daughters, who were victimized by Josh. In a sense, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar failed Josh as much as they did their daughters… and all of those innocent children in the pictures and videos found on Josh’s computer who were exploited, abused, and even murdered for the perverse pleasure of Josh and his ilk.
Notice in the above video, there are two men speaking about birth control and how it “causes abortions” (it doesn’t). Neither of these men will ever have to do the hardest work associated with pregnancy and child bearing. And they are in religious organizations where women are taught to be “joyfully available” to them and satisfy their “needs”, even when they are “big pregnant” (as Michelle Duggar put it). They’re more concerned about unborn children than they are born children… especially the female ones who will be born to satisfy their sexual “needs”. Well… that is revolting. It really is.
I’m sitting here reading the Biblical Gender Roles blog again. The poster on the Duggar Family News page had linked to an article on that blog about a young wife who was being “introduced” to the concept of Christian domestic discipline. In other words, she was being spanked by her husband. But the blogger wrote an earlier post about the husband’s perspective. In that post, he referenced his earlier post about how to “groom” one’s wife to accept the man as the authority in the home. He mentions that the wife must be young and sheltered, otherwise, she will never accept being “spanked” or otherwise disciplined by her husband.
This blogger has “mentors” who help teach these “Biblical principles” to couples who are interested. He says he vets the participants carefully, because he knows that more worldly people are “spying” on him and want to undo his work in teaching Christian couples to live by what he deems are “Biblical gender roles”. And based on what the young husband writes in the post from the gender roles blog, his wife has come to “accept” his leadership. She speaks to him “respectfully”, sticks to a budget, and I guess most importantly (to him, anyway), makes herself “available” to him sexually whenever he’s in the mood. She’d better, of course, or he’ll turn her over his knee and spank her, as if she’s a child (and personally, I don’t think spanking children is appropriate, either). How fucked up is that? The woman is a child in all ways, except physical. I am not saying the Duggars engage in these practices. I do think, however, that their collective mindset seems to be very similar to the one espoused by the guy who writes the Biblical Gender Roles blog.
Michelle Duggar, obviously, is very much in agreement that there are only males and females; they were all created by God; and that any person with “male parts” is a threat to female children. But apparently, once the females have reached physical maturity, that protection for them is no longer necessary. She unleashed her son, Josh, on Anna Duggar when he was 20 years old, knowing that he was a pervert. And she paid a lot of lip service to “monitoring” her children’s television and Internet exposure, although Josh obviously still figured out a way to get to the forbidden fruit. Maybe if she had been less “Christian”, he would have turned out to be a better person… or maybe, he was born to be this way, despite our “awesome God” who gifted the Duggars with so many children that they were obviously not equipped to raise properly on their own.
How dare Michelle Duggar try to tell Arkansas voters that she is concerned about putting the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child? Where were her concerns about her own daughters’ safety and innocence when they were growing up in her home? Where were her concerns about Josh’s future, when his deviant sexual proclivities came out? Why didn’t she help him possibly avoid falling into sins that could send him to prison? He is about to be the father of seven innocent children, but he won’t be around to take care of them. That task will fall to his long suffering wife, Anna, who has been taught that because she’s a female, she belongs to her husband and has no say over whether or not she wants to have sex! Michelle Duggar is concerned about transgendered people “victimizing” girls… but she was not at all concerned about her vile predator son victimizing her own daughters, and possibly her granddaughters, along with the children who were victimized in the images and videos that were found on Josh’s computer! And she’s all for letting the women be “childlike” in all ways, except for when it comes to giving their husbands sex. She’s even childlike in the way she speaks!
I really think our society is very sick. The Duggars are still influential to many, even though they are massive hypocrites. As recently as last year, they were still trying to get involved in politics, when their son Jed, ran for office against a woman who was clearly much more qualified than he was. He lost, thank God, but I will bet people still voted for him because he’s a white man, Christian, and a Duggar! There are still so many people, especially in the United States, who speak about their rights as “free people”. But they only want freedom for white Christian males with money. They don’t want women to have dominion over their own bodies. They don’t want people of color to have the right to live peacefully, and enjoy freedom of movement without being harassed by law enforcement. They don’t want poor people to be able to receive temporary government assistance, or children to be able to attend school without the fear of being shot. Their right to own weapons is more important than the safety of innocent people to be out and about without fearing being killed by their guns. And they want to be able to dictate to people which restrooms they can use, claiming that transgendered people are “mentally ill”, while they cover up for people like Josh Duggar and give him a platform.
I wrote about Michelle Duggar’s robocall on my original blog. In that post, I explained that homosexuality and transgendered people are not necessarily pedophiles or child molesters. At that point, we didn’t know about Josh… it was just months later that that particular bombshell dropped. One would have thought the Duggars would have been canceled, once and for all, after Josh’s hypocrisy came out. But, as my Italian friend Vittorio has pointed out, the United States is a “weird-o-rama” culture. The Duggars are oddly fascinating to many. Some of us are fascinated as we are repulsed. Others find them to be people they want to emulate. And so, they continue to people we talk about, and write about… and in some cases, make money on. I’m sure the people making YouTube videos about the Duggars are making some cash, anyway. I’m sure not.
Well… I guess I’ve rambled on long enough. Arran has just come to me, expecting a walk. So I guess I’ll close now, and take him out for a much needed constitutional. Hope everyone has a nice Monday.
A few days ago, a friend of mine shared a blog post with me. He shared it because he knows I am fascinated by fundies– particularly of the Christian type. The post, which I have now seen passed around on Facebook on Duggar Family News and now on YouTube, has a lot of people in a tizzy. Here’s a video done by Jimmy Snow (aka Mr. Atheist) about this very blog post.
Jimmy is clearly shocked by the contents of the blog post, which was written by a guy who thinks he ought to be treating his wife like a child. The article, as well as the comments, even includes references to spanking the wife for disciplinary transgressions. For example, the author of this piece includes an example of a man named “Robert” who is 24 years old. His wife is 18. He wants to be in charge of her, but she won’t get with the program. He’s asked the blogger for advice in getting his wife to accept her supposedly “Biblical” role as submissive to her husband’s leadership.
What follows is a list of seven steps to indoctrinate young women into being “godly”, submissive, disciplined wives. And he does specify that she must be young. Prerequisite #3 is exactly that. See below.
As Jimmy points out in his video, people under age 25 tend to still be in “development”. It’s a fact that most human brains aren’t fully developed until people hit their early 20s. A person’s judgment is still forming when they are in their late teen years. They are physically mature, but mentally and emotionally, they’re still a work in progress. Which isn’t to say that a person can’t be “progressing” emotionally and mentally beyond their early years. It’s just that a lot more of it is going on during the time in which a person is maturing. The author of the “Biblical Gender Roles” blog correctly points out that a woman in her 30s or 40s is a lot less likely to accept that her husband must be in charge. I would add that even though young women might accept this condition of marriage, some of them will eventually reject it when they get older and are more mature.
So then, after listing three prerequisites, the blog author continues with his seven steps to “groom” a Christian wife. As he delves into this post, he even points out how creepy the word “grooming” is to many people, and he specifically calls out “secular humanists”.
But then the blogger goes on to explain why “grooming” is okay when it’s your “Christian” wife. Then he goes on to write about why spanking wives is okay.
I probably have a controversial opinion about so-called “domestic discipline” in that I don’t always consider it abuse. If the people involved are consenting adults and they have truly consented to living that lifestyle, knowing the potential risks that could befall them in surrendering their personal power to, or accepting total responsibility for, another person, then I don’t figure that it’s any of my business what they do at home. If they don’t consider it abusive that their husband is head of the household, who am I to tell them they’re wrong, even if I disagree?
What I find especially interesting is that so many people are quick to call spanking one’s adult wife “domestic abuse”, but they have no problems with spanking children. Even if a wife is being abused by her husband’s spankings, she is always in a better position to seek help than a child is. And yet, many people don’t have an issue with spanking children, and a lot of folks even think that if we spanked children as often as we did back in the day, there would be fewer social problems.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I am not a proponent of spanking children in most situations. I see it as a last ditch thing that should only be used when every other measure fails, and even then, it probably shouldn’t be used. My father spanked me a lot when I was a child. It was pretty much the only method he used to discipline me, besides yelling at me (also not very effective, although often employed by frustrated parents). He’s been dead for six years, and I’m still angry with him about some of the things he did in the name of teaching me wrong from right. In my case, the spankings were usually abusive. They were always terrifying because he was almost always enraged when they happened.
Although I don’t remember being spanked once I got into true adolescence, I do remember that my dad was fine with hitting and slapping me until I was about 21 years old. The last time he did so, I told him that I would have him arrested if he ever laid a finger on me in anger again. It took considerable courage to tell him that, especially since I still relied on him at that point in my life. But it was a groundbreaking day for me. I decided on that day that anyone who hits me without my consent had better kill me. Children have no say over what an adult does to discipline them, and they are mostly unable to ask for help out of an abusive situation the way an adult can. Adults are usually bigger and stronger than children are. Women are also often smaller and weaker than men are, although there are certainly exceptions.
It always surprises me when I see people like Jimmy Snow flatly condemning domestic discipline as “abuse”, but so many other people are perfectly fine with physically punishing children. If you do a little sleuthing on the Internet, you’ll find that there’s a large population of people out there who are a little bit kinky and they enjoy exchanging power with others. As long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual, they don’t see it as abusive, even if other people think it’s “sick”. Some of those people also align these practices with Christianity. Again… not my cup of tea, but the brain is a fascinating and powerful thing. Some people, like it or not, get off on it.
A person who is legally able to get married can consent to “domestic discipline”. I may not agree with his or her decision to allow a spouse to discipline them with spankings or other punishments, but it’s not my place to tell them they can’t or shouldn’t. Ultimately, it is their decision. What’s sad about these fundie Christian marriages, though, is that a lot of the people who are in them don’t know another way. They have not been exposed to life beyond the religion they were born into, and a lot of them have not been taught critical thinking skills– hence the blogger’s comment that “grooming” a wife to be a disciplined Christian helpmeet is not going to work unless she’s young, and from a very sheltered upbringing. If she’s been exposed to another way, she probably won’t accept it.
In any case– I’m not sure that what the author of the Biblical Gender Roles blog is proposing is really the same thing as two consenting adults entering into a “domestic discipline” relationship. It sounds to me like his advice to “Robert” and his ilk is to “manipulate” their young wives. That practice, probably IS abusive, because it’s done in a deceptive, underhanded way. The very fact that the women have to be “young” and therefore naive and tractable, is kind of sick and creepy. These men simply want to marry children who have reached legal adulthood and will do what they say without question. That’s abusive.
In a weird way, because they have been on TV, I think the Duggar women might have escaped worse fates than they would have otherwise. If they kept being raised in an isolated community, with no exposure to “normal” people and worldly ideas, the daughters, especially, might have wound up being stuck in marriages in which they are treated like children and expected to obey their husbands without question. I think that being exposed to the world because they’ve been on TV has made them a little less subjugated than they could have been.
Look at some of the choices the Duggar daughters have made since they’ve been married. Jill Dillard wears pants and has a nose piercing, and she’s been photographed wearing what most women would consider modest swimwear but, for her, is probably scandalous. Jinger Vuolo moved to Los Angeles, where she wears pants and has had her hair cut. She’s only had one child so far, although she’s pregnant with her second. Her husband doesn’t take orders from JimBob Duggar, nor does Jill’s husband, Derick. Jessa Seewald is still close to home, but she obviously has a strong personality and is not being controlled by her husband, Ben, who has a milder personality than she does. I don’t know about Joy Anna Forsyth’s situation, but her husband makes his own money flipping houses, rather than working for Boob. Had they not been on TV, God knows who they would have married, and what they’d be expected to tolerate. And it would all be behind closed doors! Since they’re famous and a lot of “normal” people are watching, there’s somewhat less secrecy and weird shit that would go unnoticed or called out. On the other hand, Michelle Duggar had a somewhat normal upbringing and she willingly submitted herself and her children, especially her daughters, to what many might consider an oppressive lifestyle.
Anyway… like a lot of people, I was kind of grossed out by the Biblical Gender Roles blog and its tips on “grooming” a Christian wife. It’s definitely not something I would be interested in, and I’m grateful that I was raised by people who would not want that for me, either. But, I must admit that it makes for interesting speculation and a temporary diversion from all of the other doom and gloom headlines that are currently circulating. And now that I’ve written today’s tome, I think I’ll take Arran for a walk and get some fresh air… then practice my guitar.
I have decided to migrate certain book reviews to my new blogging platform. Today’s reposted review was already reposted on my old blog on Blogspot. I had originally posted it on Epinions.com, which is now defunct. I see I linked it in an old post before I shut down the old blog. Since I write a lot about Pat Boone, I’m going to repost it here. Enjoy.
I have kind of an odd obsession with Pat Boone and his family. It started when I was a teenager and read a book written by his daughter, Cherry Boone O’Neill, who had suffered from anorexia nervosa for many years. Later, I read his daughter Debby’s book circa 1981, when she was 25 years old. Then, I read daughter Lindy Boone Michaelis’ recent book about her son Ryan Corbin’s traumatic brain injury. Having read all these books from the Boone family, I decided it was time for me to read Pat Boone’s 1958 classic, ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty.
My copy of Boone’s book is a second printing, which was published in 1973. It has a new introduction, written for the teens of the 70s. I got quite the kick out of Boone’s chirpy foreword for the new generation. He writes on page 12:
“So pull up a chair. Turn down that Carole King, James Taylor, Seals and Croft, America, Chicago, or Elton John record– and let’s talk! We’ve a lot to say to each other!”
Really Pat? In the early 70s, did young folks really feel like you were the same role model you were in 1958?
The book’s title is the same as one of Boone’s popular songs from 1959. In 1973, were kids listening to Pat Boone? Maybe if their parents were. I know in the 70s, Pat Boone was still doing a lot of touring with his family. His daughters were performing with him and it was four years before Debby Boone became a household name.
What this book is about…
This is a book of advice for teens written by Pat Boone. Written in quaint, 50s era prose, the then young Pat Boone, was at that time barely 24 years old and already the father of four girls, born in about three-and-a-half years. He had married his wife, Shirley, very young and they were dedicated Christians. At that time of his life, Pat Boone was a member of the Church of Christ. His book is liberally peppered with religious dogma and homespun tales of growing up. Pat Boone’s mother was apparently very much a proponent of corporal punishment, as was Pat himself. He writes on pages 30 and 31:
“I didn’t become a good Christian overnight. In fact, I got my last spanking when I was seventeen… It never mattered to Mama who started fights. She finished them with the sewing machine belt and both of us [Pat and his brother, Nick] leaning over the bathtub.”
It had been a long time… since the last one and this time, neither of us cried. We were too old. That shattered Mama.”
Both Cherry and Debby, Pat Boone’s oldest and third daughters, have written about how Pat Boone spanked them until they were legal adults. In ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty, Boone makes it clear that he thinks spanking is the right way to discipline children. But as this book is for kids, not their parents, it seems odd that he would write so much about it.
Aside from his ruminations about the virtues of a good spanking, Pat Boone also dispenses advice on being “a good Christian”, preparing for a happy marriage, dating, finding your life’s work, and making appropriate friends. He offers tidbits on what he finds attractive about his wife, Shirley, whom he claims is a very natural beauty who doesn’t swear. He also writes quite a lot about Rosemary, a cow he and his brother, Nick, took care of when they were growing up. Apparently, she supplied them each with the gallon of milk they drank each day. Having her was a “necessity”, as were all the other animals the Boones cared for; they were not “gentleman farmers”, you see.
Frankly, I kind of got a kick out of reading this short book Pat Boone wrote for teenagers. It seeems pretty hopelessly dated today and I’m sure it would shock a lot of parents. Most kids would not be able to relate to Pat Boone, even though he was quite young when he penned this book. Even as a young man, he’s hopelessly “square”. Curiously, he did get letters from young admirers in the 1950s, some of which inspired the chapters in this book. I thought it was pretty funny when, on page 106, Boone writes:
Too strict parents either literally don’t remember their own youth at all, or seem to remember it too well with distaste and fear.
This is the same man who spanked his daughter, Debby, at age 19, because she took twenty minutes to buy candy from a hotel lobby vending machine. He also spanked his daughter, Cherry, for coming home later than expected. Since she was anorexic, there was little fat to cushion the blows and she was left with bruises. Boone also reportedly called his daughters’ makeup “war paint” and would make his daughters scrub it off if he caught them wearing it. But maybe when Pat Boone was 24, he was still somewhat “hip” and empathized with young folks more than he apparently did when his daughters became teenagers.
Boone writes on page 107, “Do-as-I-say,-not-as I-do is poor bait for landing teen-agers.” And yet, based on books by his daughters, he didn’t exactly practice what he preached.
I don’t think this book would be very relevant to today’s readers. It’s kind of fun to read if you’re my age or older, though. It’s a quick read and there are some pearls of wisdom that still resonate today, mainly the parts about personal hygiene. It’s a quaint book, valuable mainly for nostalgia purposes, but not really for the teens of today.
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