Infantilization of Women

Why do women’s seminars, retreats, and conferences in fundamentalism inevitably end up with themes and content which elsewhere would be targeted at 5 to 7 year old children?

Is it that this is how fundamentalists view women’s maturity in general? Or is it that since women have no other interests than their children that childish motifs are the only way to capture their attention?

I find it extremely puzzling.

258 thoughts on “Infantilization of Women”

      1. It’s always nice to see a fellow PCC grad featured on the post ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just trying to figure out why he was attending a woman’s seminar…

  1. On the registration: “No SLACKS please! Give God your very best for this event!” And also “No nursery will be provided. Please make arrangements for a babysitter. ” Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, the little ones in the nursery would enjoy this theme more. I know, it sounds crazy.

  2. Yet another reason we left our Independent Baptist Church. All of the ladies “stuff” had absolutely no depth. My wife is a very mature, sophisticated person. These seminars, events, etc were so childish. Now she enjoys events like Women of Faith, Beth Moore, etc – which are absolutely frowned upon by IFB’s.

  3. I’m afraid if I comment on this, my feminist horns will show. And I try to style my hair so carefully to cover them!

  4. Taking your kids to a popular hellywood move went it comes out in the theaters = satan worship.
    Using the same movie as the theme for a fundy conference 10 years later = sanctified.

  5. Have you gotten this email yet?

    “Darrell, you are a sad strange little man, you have my pity. ”

    Fundy Apologists are as deluded as Buzz before the tea party where he realized he was not “the real Buzz Lightyear”

  6. It is weird, this little girl, cutesy theme that is prevalent with fundy women. There is an obvious connection to the controllability of little girls as opposed to women, as well as the suppression of intelligence in women. Sweetness is a much-touted “womanly” character amongst them and what could be sweeter than little girl cuteness. Now please excuse me while I vomit.

    1. Considering a lot of these churches are also into Wifely Submission and the Husband’s 24/7 entitlement to sex whenever he wants it, this “little girl cutesy theme” gives me a very disturbing vibe of pseudo-pedophilia.

      1. It is very disturbing, Headless Unicorn Guy. I know one family where the wife and daughters are all on drugs to maintain this submissive attitude and live a ‘normal’ life. The lies you are required to tell yourself as a woman in these hateful places are very damaging.

      2. I think I’ve told this story here before.

        I was at one time asked to winnow the library at my old ELCA church. The church secretary had accepted any and all donations, from reprints of the Church Fathers and Billy Graham’s counseling handbook to spaceships-are-demons nonsense and even a copy of Ezzo’s class materials. Winnowing most of the stuff was pretty easy (spaceships are demons, seriously?) until I got to a series of large-format paperbacks from, IIRC, the Family Research Council. Or maybe they had an introduction from somebody on the Family Research Council. Dobson? I’ve blocked some of the identifying details out of my mind, probably due to the PTSD attack I had when I got to the chapter that explains what do to if you become aware of a case of incest. See, the first thing you do is remove all of the superfluous privileges the girl (because it’s always a girl) will have received from her father (because it’s always her father) because the girls in these cases are always spoiled…

  7. A provocative choice for a fund website “Esther’s Voice.” Her story is more than enough to scandalize any of the women in those photos.

  8. This is an ungodly display: women shouldn’t have conferences.

    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.”

  9. I gave up on women’s ministry activities in a couple of churches I attended because I was tired of being referred to as a “girl” (although in my 40s, single, and independent) and playing tea party. One women’s leader in one church actually criticized me publicly for not making it to the meetings, which were all held during the day. I quietly reminded her that I worked to support myself! The church I attend now talks about women, and treats us as such. Bible studies are stimulating and we are equal ministry partners with the men of the church. And, my church has a cadre of strong professional ministry-minded single women.

  10. There’s steam coming out of my ears…..

    Here’s the disturbing message:
    If men can infantalize women, they can control them. They won’t have to listen to them, respect them, or treat them as equals. These pictures just prove exactly what is wrong about the way that women are viewed in fundamentalism.

  11. After looking at the photos, the only printable thing I can come up with is, “Merciful Heaven, what are they DOING?”

      1. I’d go to more of the men’s ministry events at my church if dressing up like Snoopy was involved.

        Just sayin’.

        1. Not that I’m drawing a parallel but equal case with the bizarre travesty going on at this “women’s” conference (that’s just weird – and sad)

          but it’d be a nice change from another manly man men’s speaker speaking about manly men things, or yet another chili cookoff, or, well, you get the point.

          And even in non-fundy churchland, why is it that the first instinct is to divide up the genders, and plan a men’s activity, and a women’s activity? Church people are the only people that do this. It seems like normal people just hang out together, and get along.

        2. Stereotypical gender roles that were handed down straight from heaven along with the ten commandments MUST be upheld and re-enforced. If the church doesn’t don’t do it, who will?

        3. Yeah, but let’s be honest. This is far, far beyond “traditional gender roles”. This is infantilization. I imagine Deborah or Ruth or Jael could curb-stump the male clowns who put this embarrassment together.

    1. Actually, there was a wonderful missionary woman who would regularly present about her years racing the bush tribes in Indonesia. Extremely fascinating and amazing lady. Here’s her story.
      (Don’t mind the sweet old man singing@the beginning. )

      May 21, 2014 Margaret Stringer:

  12. And always the topic was some form of submission. Then there were the dreaded obligatory skits – that were rehearsed for weeks and which we were expected to laugh uproarously at – I got very good at fake laughter

  13. Oh how I hated these conferences. They make you sing all the dopey kids songs complete with the motions. Imagine women in their 70’s and 80’s with bad knees having to do the stand up sit down kids songs and being called a bad sport for not participating. And for this we spend good money. And get served either sandwiches or cold lasagna. It was horrible. Never again never again never again.

    1. At our conference, we played Bingo. For prizes. Real prizes that people actually wanted.
      Also we went for hikes. And talked about sex. And ate catered meals.
      It was a good conference.
      We did have a purse game, which I lost because I’d emptied my purse before the conference. But next year I’m packing a toolbox in there.

  14. Because the Bible’s positive women’s role models: The Proverbs 31 woman, Abagail (you know, Nabal’s wife), and Mary were immature ditzes with no backbone, right?

    It’s not like they’d go out and invest in real estate or run a small business (Prov 31 woman), go out and make political/business moves without husband’s consent (Abagail), or make bold courageous decisions that would probably lead to rejection from religious leaders (Mary).

    I’m sure they would’ve really loved taking time out of their busy day to sit around and watch grown women prance about in Buzz Lightyear costumes. But since they didn’t even bother to provide childcare, expecting mothers to have piles of money lying about not only to afford the ladies’ conference but also to hire out childcare on a Friday when hubby will be at work, I guess at least Mary wouldn’t have been able to go. You know, poverty and all.

  15. But on a positive note, you can buy some pretty ugl..ahem…fabby purses from the pastor’s wife’s website — right between the Preserved KJV and the Separated Soul-Stirrin’ CDs.

    Holy handbags, Batman! Where’s the Sanctified Soaps from Amway? The Edifying Eyeshadow from Mary Kay? Jesus & M.L.M. all the way, baby!

    1. MLM is rampant in Fundy churches. Everyone is trying to make a buck off the captive audience and perceived trustworthiness membership brings.

      1. I actually had people defend/ try to sell MLM as being pro-fundy because it was structured just like the local IFB church — a pyramid scheme! Granted, they didn’t say “pyramid scheme” but drew it out instead.

        1. I’d like to see someone make the argument that the fundy way of doing religion is not EXACTLY like a MLM.

        2. When I was taking a course at Fundy Basement Bible College years ago, the teacher was talking about “each one reach one”. I accidentally busted out with ” You mean it’s like a pyramid scheme?”. That was the beginning of the end for me.

        3. How to win the world for Jesus in only 8 years (plus a quarter)?

          Win one soul this quarter, teach them how to win souls. Next quarter both of you win a soul (4). At the end of a year you have 16!

          I saw this presented by my Fundy pastor. He wanted us to win the world for Jesus and add members to his church. Of course the fatal flaws in the argument are obvious. But to him it was “math,” and he was proud of it.

        4. FormerHACgirl — at our church it was each one reach 10! The staff were required to win 10 faithful tithers to justify their salary.

        1. What the f*** is WTF? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          MLM is Multi-Level Marketing. You may have experienced it if you ever had the pleasure of someone trying to sell you Amway products. Especially the part where they try to get you to sell it also. You could call it a pyramid scheme. Same concept.

      1. One time at church I got invited to a candle party. I said, “No thank you, I already have a candle.”

      2. “The Office” scene is very accurate, because almost every time someone has tried to recruit me into a multi-level marketing venture, they said “this isn’t a pyramid scheme,” or “this isn’t like the other pyramid schemes.” They were all pyramid schemes, like the other pyramid schemes.

        If you want to see the classic, architypical pyramid scheme, look up “Ponzi scheme.”

        A MLM plan is legal if more of the money involved comes from selling products than from recruiting new dealers/distributors, but that doesn’t make it a good investment.

        1. Mary Kay is one of the most successful MLM plans. There are people in addition to Mary Kay herself who have actually made decent money on her system. Women tell me that Mary Kay cosmetics are pretty high in quality, too.
          But you still have to have a heck of a lot of drive, and a willingness to wear out your welcome in your social circle, to make a profit selling Mary Kay.

          I lived for many years in Dallas, where a national Mary Kay convention is held every summer at the convention center downtown. It was very strange seeing thousands of ladies all dressed alike (red blazers, black skirts, black pumps), all with nearly identical hair and makeup. The streets downtown, as well as the airports, would be full of them while the convention was going on.

        2. The Amway conventions at the Hotel where I worked when I was young were full of flash and glamor and the message that God wants you to be rich. But they were by far the WORST tippers of any group.

          The Shriners were the best.

        3. It was very strange seeing thousands of ladies all dressed alike (red blazers, black skirts, black pumps), all with nearly identical hair and makeup. The streets downtown, as well as the airports, would be full of them while the convention was going on.

          Bloom County was right!

    2. Define MLM. I know everyone’s inviting me to something about jam nail polish, but I don’t know what it is.

      Of you really want to sell something… Books all the way, baby!

      1. Aaaaahhhhh those Jamberry nail things. I occasionally buy nail polish with excellent intentions of using it but I always just give it to my daughters. Nail wraps? Yeah, no.

        1. I just tried Jamberry nail wraps for the first time last week. It seems to be the way to go if you want decorated nails and are too hard on the nails for polish to last more than a couple of days – mine have only a few chips after a week.

        2. I paint my toes in the summer, but I can’t stand the weight difference when I paint my fingernails. Are the wraps heavier?

        3. I bought some. I gave them to my girls. I am afraid I don’t know ๐Ÿ™‚ My friend who sells them puts them on her little girl though and they seem to be comfortable and very tough.

        4. A good friend of mine is into the Jamberry things. Nail wraps are not something I’m interested in. I did go to a party of hers selling foodstuffs though.

  16. Well what else were they supposed to do with all the leftover VBS props? Huh? What now? Don’t have such a snarky answer for that now do ya?

    1. I didn’t realize that the folks in fundyland were such tree-huggers. Dirty hippies!


    1. Maybe they could have infused the gospel and called it “The Greatest Toy Story Ever Told.”

  17. I’m kind of curious about their doing a conference based on Esther, the only book in the Bible that contains no mention of God.

    1. Esther isn’t the name of the conference, but is the name of the pastor’s wife’s speaking/webpage/purse ministry.

      Makes me wonder what it must be like to be married to the pastor if his wife’s ministry is named after Esther. Guess it’s better for him than naming it after Nabal’s wife.

      Is the husband’s ministry called Ahab’s Corner?

      1. I’ve also got to wonder if they endorse the courtship model in Esther: The king brings lots of pretty women to his palace, spends a night (ahem) with each one, and then chooses the one who, er, pleased him the most.

        1. Now, BG, that’s not how it happened! It was like a beauty contest, and the king just picked the prettiest one!
          Source: my IFB father-in-law/retired pastor with “Ph.D.”

        2. Well yeah, plus the king was a royal Ahasuerus who got rid of his first wife because she wouldn’t come at his beck and call. If this is the guy she’s married to — poor lady!

        3. His first wife rebelled against him. That’s why she got kicked out. Women, you should always obey your husband. Even when he asks you to come dance naked in front of his friends.

  18. I remember the childish skits and songs. It was so vapid that I began dreading these conferences and eventually just stopped attending. One of the “last straws” was during the Sword of the Lord Ladies’ Jubilee when they honored the pastor’s wife who had brought the most ladies to the conference.

    No kidding: They crowned her queen. The runners up were her court.

    A tiara and robe, seriously.

    1. I remember one ladies’ speaker who said that since gid was a king, that we as gid’s daughters were princesses, so we should act and dress and have an attitude like a princess.

      Let our husbands take care of us (e.g. open doors, lift heavy things–things that didn’t actually help us but make them feel macho), dress frilly, wear makeup, style hair, etc.

      Even though I drank the koolaid deeply at the time, I could see that this princess “theology” was a big load of bologna.

      1. Real princesses don’t actually do most of those things.
        Wannabe princesses won’t stop doing them.

      2. I tend to get enraged at all the promotion of princess fantasies that seems to increase all the time. There are a whole raft of reasons it’s bad imagery, one of them being that I think we should aspire to be free citizens of a republic, not kings, queens, princesses, dukes, barons, or any of that other feudalist malarkey. There is no higher rank than that of citizen, and that’s how it should be.

        1. Very appropriate. However, what was it that really separated the aristocracy from the peasant? The answer, in a nice little economics nutshell, is consumption. The peasants were producers, and the aristocracy were consumers. Today, modern marketing is dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal…consumers. The “princess” motif dovetails nicely into a culture where consumption is marketed as self-actualization.

        2. Even Disney is breaking out of their Pretty Princess mold with princess characters like in Frozen and Brave.

          But then, the fantasy princesses I’d go for would be Princesses Celestia & Luna of Equestria…

        3. The princess thing is one that irks me to bits. Princesses were literally nothing more than brood mares. They were bought, sold and thrown away (erm, Henry VIII? I’m looking at YOU). The books “Sex with Kings” and “Sex with Queens” are particularly eye-opening (in spite of the salacious titles). Princesses had absolutely no power. They were surrounded at all times to protect their eggs (oh hey, maybe that’s why fundies love the princess thing so much!). Even as queens, they were basically powerless because they still had to be isolated from any male who might try to fertilize their eggs.

        4. The Marie Antoinette movie, the Sofia Coppola-directed one, really brought home that aspect of princesshood: that the princess was valued solely for her ability to pump out children.

          But then, that movie didn’t spawn a host of product tie-ins, either.

  19. I seem to remember reading one of those books like “Fascinating Womanhood’ or something similar where there was a chapter instructing women to be childlike. I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now but It looks like someone took that way too seriously.

    Meanwhile over here on the other side of the aisle I get to have role models like St. Joan of Arc and St. Gianna Beretta Molla who was a physician…she actually went to medical school AND had a husband and kids. There is also St. Theresa of Avila who was made a Doctor of the Church alongside people like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Men read her writings and actually learn a thing or two from her. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yes, I remember advice to just pretend like you couldn’t figure something out or lift something so that your husband could feel like a big strong man when he did it.

        1. If this is the kind of advice being handed out, no wonder marriages are in trouble! I have lived through the “always show your husband a smiling face” crap and the “let’s just be honest” way of marriage and I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell anyone which is all around the better way to live.

        2. With that level of deceit, how the hell can a man ever trust a woman? How can a woman be worthy of trust if she pulls shit like that?

      1. “Pretend like you couldn’t figure something out”?

        I’m a polymath with a 160 IQ. I “grew up in Idiocracy” with my brain working so much faster than everyone else it was like I was an alien observing these Silly Creatures.

        WHY the hell would I want to yoke myself to someone that much slower than me? I’d always be putting on the brakes just to interact with her. And if she’s faking being dumb, she’s deliberately denying me a relationship with an equal.

        1. Hmmm. People have different strengths and weaknesses. I am a mathematician with strong problem-solving skills. My wife majored in home economics. She isn’t dumb, but she hasn’t the ability to communicate mathematically or scientifically.

          Still, I love her and I need her. It is good for you to slow down for others, to meet their needs, to develop compassion.

          The way you talk, you would run over people who you don’t see as your equal or who would slow you down. If that is the case, you may have brains but lack basic components of humanity.

          Time to slow down. Drop talking about your IQ – you only use it to intimidate others and many of us are not intimidated (or impressed). That you are very bright is evident. You can be very bright and compassionate at the same time.

          You have my regards. I wish you well.

        2. Wow. Using the term “yoke” tells me you haven’t really had a lot of experience with the ladies. Sounds like you already have some trust issues. And anger issues.

    2. Amy Carmichael was a rebellious woman, who seriously bucked her mission leadership in order to minister effectively. Corrie ten Boom ought to have left that work of rescuing Jews to the menfolk. Gladys Aylward should have stayed home working as a maid and tithed to send a man to China instead.
      Not to mention Sally Ride who shouldn’t have left the kitchen, Queen Elizabeth II who should abdicate her throne to her husband, and Rosa Parks who should have had the good sense to stay in her womanly position of humility.

    3. I seem to remember reading one of those books like โ€œFascinating Womanhoodโ€™ or something similar where there was a chapter instructing women to be childlike.

      And this is what Widdle Christian Wifey is to strive for?
      Are Fundy men closet pedophiles or something?

      1. Yes! I believe many of them are. I have personally known seven men, upstanding Fundies all, who sexually abused little girls and young women. I am not talking about the ones who give me the creeps, I am talking about people who against whom this charge has been proven. I came from a pretty small and obscure group of fundies and that’s how many I know. I believe they were the tip of the iceberg but of course cannot prove it. The stuff they teach and believe make the environment a dangerous one for girls and women. Add quiverful teaching and homeschooling to the mix and it is explosive.

        1. Remember Voddie “Vipers in Diapers” Beacham?
          “Beat the Shyness out of Fluttershy” Voddie?

          He preached once (and it went viral on watchblogs) that “as a man gets old, his wife gets over the hill and eyes turn towards younger, fresh women. And that’s why God gives him Daughters.”

          Paging Craster’s Keep…

  20. Disney/Pixar property rights?

    Fundies don’t need no stinking permission to use their characters and theme songs!

    1. Actually, Oriental Trading sells licensed kits of pop-culture -themed religious materials.

      For Vacation Bible School.

      For kids.

  21. So much fun! It’s like Sunday school for children without the children.

    Quick! Somebody get some flannel costumes for these ladies and catapult them onto a giant flannelgraph wall while they act out a classic Sunday school bible story!

  22. And this is why I’m unequally yoked with 99% of the women in any church I find. If you aren’t a “Jezebel”, a “Boss Ass Bitch”, I’m not interested.

    I’m looking for a partner, not a helpmeat.

    1. If movies and T.V. are accurate, specifically The Ladykillers, then you need to go to a black church, southern most likely, and look for old ladies wearing extravagant hats.

    2. Exactly! Really I think many fundy men would like a strong woman but won’t admit it – they are all expected to want a simpering yes-woman

  23. I have an idea for the men’s conference theme: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic! It’ll be fun!

      1. I’m 59, male, and Brony for four years. Primarily interested in the secondary fan creative output (larger than that of Star Trek & Star Wars combined).

        And I have seen & read Ponyart & Ponyfics that have more Gospel in them than any of these MoGs and their One True Churches and Women’s Retreats. You just have to have eyes to see and ears to hear.

  24. I find this post puzzling, since not all women’s retreats have such foolishness.

    Losing your grip on the real issues D.

    1. 1. Since when has this blog ever been about the “real issues”? It’s about observations of quirky and strange things which vary in severity from the merely odd, to the incredibly destructive.

      2. The response of the readers about having been subjected to the same exact types of retreats means that my observation is not without its merits.

      3. Would you care to comment on the practice of treating grown women like small children? Do you think it’s an issue of any size?

      1. FBC Hammond did the same thing a few years ago with a pajama themed party that was featured here on SFL. I can recall that a lot of women’s conferences tend to get repetitive with the same themes while not bad are way overdone. Men’s conferences get to talk about cerebral subjects and diverse topics.

        1. How old was Cindy Schaap when she had this “sleepover party”?

          (Probably older than the jail-bait MoG Jack was polishing his shaft with on the side — who WAS the age I’d expect to do a “sleepover party” with the other girls.)

      2. Darrell – Maybe you should put a little blurb at the top of the page near the name saying that this is a silly blog…….

    2. You would be surprised how often these kinds of activities happen in churches. I accepted it when I was college-age, but not when I became an independent adult. I found it stupid and demeaning, especially because I’ve always been a serious student of theology.

      1. “. . . especially because Iโ€™ve always been a serious student of theology.”

        Linn, that sort of thing is for the menfolk. Now you just get back here into the kitchen with the rest of us wimminz where you know you belong and make some more scalloped potatoes and bacon/shrimp casserole. Here’s your fashionable Cinderella apron.

        1. Dear The II Lady Semp:

          This morning, I slogged through a paper on the Girardian generative mimetic scapegoating mechanism as the basis for conceiving cultural violence as sacrificial rituals opposed to the sacrifice of Christ. This afternoon, I baked two flat loaves of garlic-parmesan hearth bread.

          Does this mean that I have gender identity issues?

          Christian Socialist

        2. I just got home after staying late at school and staring at a gazillion online student projects, and you made me laugh! I am a geek’s geek, and the only kind of cooking I do is basic…theology is much more exciting than peeling potatoes! Throw in some church history, and I am a happy camper!

        3. Amen Lady Semp. You need to help theses wimmenz learn to keep their place in the church. that place is underneath the men, and you know whut I means.

        4. Dear CS,

          I think it means you need better choices in reading material.

          I also think you need to send me some of that bread.

          Bon appetit,

        5. C.S., I cook dinner the days my wife works and I don’t. Last night was simple, I made refried beans (home made, not canned) and chicken tacos (I also fried the corn tortillas. I like soft corn and you can’t buy decent ones already made). The book I’m reading right now is a history of chess, which I have been told is geekish.[ The Immortal Game by David Shenk.] I will also have the dishes put away and the clothes folded when she gets home today. I will likely add to my study of faith vs works from Galatians. If it were not 35 degrees and raining I would split more wood. (Happily we have enough to get by)

          I have no idea what gender issues are.

        1. Yes, the vanishing, vaporizing pastor. We had one of those at my church last year…we are hoping for a better one in the future.

      2. Dear The II Lady Semp:

        Why wouldn’t it work to keep the bread and send YOU the paper?

        Christian Socialist

        PS: I won’t get in the habit of doing this, but for you, The II Lady Semp …

        No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

        3 cups all-purpose flour
        1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
        2 tsp sea salt
        1 tsp active dry yeast

        Spoon everything in a bowl.
        Cover it with plastic wrap.
        Let it sit for 8 – 18 hours.

        How easy is that?

        Preheat oven to 450ยฐ F.
        Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface.
        With floured hands, shape the dough into a ball.
        Cover with the plastic wrap. Let the dough rest.

        Put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven 30 min. [I use a casserole dish].
        Remove the hot Dutch oven. If not enamel coated, use parchment paper for easy removal.
        Replace cover return to oven to bake covered for 30 minutes.
        Remove lid and bake just until the crust to brown [10 minutes, give or take 5].

        Carefully remove Dutch oven, and remove the bread to cool.

        Let me know how it goes…

        1. Dear George,

          Please give me up for Lent. It’s the Christian thing to do.



          Thanks for the recipe. I will try it. I need to buy some sea salt.

    3. I was one of those women being treated like a child. It wasn’t always to the extremes that this post displays but the subtle and not so subtle stuff was always there. This foolishness is over the top, agreed, but the attitude is rarely absent.

      1. It seemed like every ladies’ seminar and every couples retreat focused on raising children rather than on the woman or mother growing spiritual or the couple growing.

        1. They do not encourage the honest development of self. If they did, they would have no membership. I am going to turn the tables on them and suggest their argument against entertainment, (to enter into and gain possession of), is exactly what they are trying to do with this stuff.

        2. Well, for us — we were empty nesters so what did we care about child raising! We wanted to work on OUR relationship, not listen to how to raise “Godly” kids, not “good kids”.

        3. I hear you. Most of the time at things for couples, I was on tenterhooks wondering when my husband, not fundy raised, would have enough and embarrass me by walking out. We went to as few as we could possibly get away with. Maybe that’s why I don’t have “godly” kids but I doubt it.

        4. My husband and I only attended maybe 3 couple’s retreats and quit going at all, a few years ago. If we’re going to spend the money for a nice getaway, we’re going by ourselves, not to hang out with 50+ other couples. I couldn’t stomach another lecture on being a good, Biblical, submissive wife, being told that a good wife never says no to sex because a man has needs. Seems rather hypocritical or maybe ironic to me; forcing the women to listen to lectures on having sex with your husband, rather than allowing the couples to actually spend time together! Whatever, like I said, we quit going to those stupid things and plan our OWN couple retreats, just us, not a horde of Kool-Aid drinking fundies.

        5. Not to mention all the other conflicting messages of how evil sex is. Any real desire for sex as pleasure is considered perverse. Kids are taught sex is bad and sexual thoughts are sinful – until marriage, of course. But of course, the “needs” conflict with the “knowing” that it’s sinful, producing trouble doing it, enjoying it or feeling good about it afterward. The conflict produces shame in the relationship instead of closeness.

          And woe if the husband wants anything more than missionary vanilla!

          Telling a wife to “submit” instead of joyfully partner has sex done to her — I.e. Rape — instead of a loving, fulfilling relationship.

          Oh, they “say” they want a loving and fulfilling relationship, but the mixed messages absolutely prohibit that.

        6. During the time we were at our cult/church, we only missed 2 couples’ retreats — the year our daughter got married, it was on the same weekend. Our daughter wasn’t marrying a “Kool aid” drinker so NO ONE from the church came to the wedding. King Tommy would go up and down the hall in the morning playing some stupid “wake up sunshine” song. During the morning couple’s devotions — my husband would sleep! He’d get up for breakfast and the main speaker’s messages, but he wasn’t getting up earlier just to have couple’s devotions.

        7. I couldnโ€™t stomach another lecture on being a good, Biblical, submissive wife, being told that a good wife never says no to sex because a man has needs.

          Just like in PORN.
          In PORN, the woman can never say NO to sex, because the reader/watcher self-insert has NEEDS (i.e. URGES in his AREAS).

        8. To be fair, Headless, if either party said no to sex, it wouldn’t be much of a porno movie, would it?

          Cowpokes could also say no to getting on their horses and going after the rustlers, but that would make the dullest Western of all time.

    4. I would object that this post reveals some real, serious issues
      1) True womanhood is merely emulating the life of a pastor’s wife (or missionary’s, or evangelist’s, etc. You know the people that “matter.”)
      2) A woman’s credentials are only as good as her husband’s.
      3) It’s okay to steal from the work of Disney, as long as it is done for the glory of God
      4) Women are like children, they should be seen and not heard.

      But I do wonder, if this is a women’s “retreat,” who is going to do all the cooking and cleaning? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    5. Hmm, I’d say that giving half of your church pablum instead of actually teaching them is an issue.

  25. I imagine the “no nursery” bit is because the poor sainted lady who always gets nursery duty would like just one event where she gets to participate.

    But on the other hand, you’ve just squeezed out every MOP and every working woman to go to your conference. Which is your choice, I suppose…

    In my apostate Episcopal church, people are paid to do nursery, so many teens happily sign up for it. And even worse, they get trained in sexual-predator-detecting and get background checks. Terrible, I tell you.

    As many have commented and noticed, when you treat people like children, they’re easier to control. And I also detested the juvenile nature of “women’s conferences”, especially as a woman with a doctorate-level degree in the biological sciences. And if it wasn’t juvenile, it was only about house-keeping/child-keeping. (That’s fine to be part of it, but not when it’s all of it – many women are single or barren.) Now I’m in a church with a bunch of whip-smart ladies from all walks of life who are just interested in encouraging each other and taking care of the poor and disadvantaged. Jezebels all, I tell you.

  26. I will give those who have Womens Conferences credit for hard work and dedicated effort. But I find these events shallow. And they are designed only for married women with children at home. The best one I ever went to was great for its entertainment value, but nothing of spiritual value there. And worst of all is when they have a whole afternoon “off” so women can go shopping at Walmart. Especially if I came in from out of town. I did NOT come to go shopping at Walmart! Nor to hit area thrift stores nor to shop anywhere else. Or women are left on their own to find area restsurants to have lunch. There should never be any unstructured time at the conference when one pays a hefty registration fee to attend. I would also point out that rarely if ever do I see never-married or divorced women speakers, or even widows. It really gets old when the curriculum vitae about a woman speaker relates more to her husband than her. I don’t know that I’ve found the themes at the ones I’ve attended childish. But I did find some of them frivolous, and many downright worldly. In all fairness, though, I am sure I am not the kind of Christian lady these conferences are designed for, lol. So I just stay clear of most womens’ events.

    1. I’d take Walmart over 3 hours of forced soul winning. :/

      You’re right though, in the end they are often shallow and frivolous. My new, non-fundy church goes to womens conferences occasionally but I haven’t been able to make myself go.

    2. Yup. They always seemed to include some sort of “shopping activity”. I recall, when the conference was in November, they held a Christmas shopping event where local church ladies sold their wares. Other times ladies were encouraged to spend their free afternoon at the outlet mall.
      They seemed to think all women just love to shop. Not this one.

      1. I do not like shopping either! When I find clothes I like, I buy one of every colour, lol. That way I don’t have to shop until they wear out. I was never a very successful fundy “lady.” I don’t love shopping, shoes, cutesy stuff, scrapbooking… all those ”feminine” pursuits just leave me cold.

        1. The best women’s event I went to had lessons vermicomposting and building with concrete. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  27. The third pic down in the middle. The lady has a white shirt with yellow areas that draw the eye to an inappropriate body area. Obviously this is the satanic influence of Disney on this church. They have obviously compromised and are all turning into harlots. The whole ladies retreat is probably about why you should have an affair and how to not get caught. They are nothing but a bunch of “strange women” waiting to snare innocent men in their webs.

  28. I was visiting a church Sunday and the preacher spoke from 2 Kings 4 – Elisha and the widow with the flask of olive oil. One of his points, derived from where Elisha told her to go borrow jars from all her neighbors, was not to be timid. And it struck me that for much of my life I heard that being feminine (so important for IFB women) did mean being timid or at least dainty, despite Biblical examples of strong women and that wonderful verse in Proverbs 31 that says, “Strength and honor are her clothing.”

    1. That’s a good point! you mentioned the Proverbs 31 woman, and it frustrates me that her obvious boldness, business acumen, and strength are all twisted around to mean she stayed at home and kept her house clean.

        1. “Gonna jive my way
          To the Top of the Pyramid,
          The Top of the Pyramid,
          Gonna get my name on Top of that List…”

  29. The Proverbs 31 woman was not meant to be a checklist for women to measure themselves against. It was addressed to men to be grateful for the virtuous women in their lives…. so don’t worry if you haven’t gotten around to getting that real estate license so you can buy and sell land. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. It is really a paradox, because you are right in one sense, that women are treated like children, but on the other hand, some of the nastiest, bossiest, henpecking bitches I’ve know are IFB’s.

    I want to be careful not to make the IFB out to just be a bunch of men who abuse women, because some of the hard core IFB’s are really women I think, who lead their husbands around by their noses. So many of these women like to pay lip service to a man’s authority, but heaven forbid you run sideways of the pastor’s wife and you’ll find out real quick like she can take authority in a church.

    1. It’s called Queen Bee Syndrome, and it probably supercharges the Male Supremacy of these p-whipped MoGs who cannot raise a finger against She Who Must Be Obeyed in Secret, so they take it out on anything else without a Y Chromosome.

      You saw the same pattern in the Second Klan of the 1920s; the Klan Women’s Auxillary often were the indirect motivators behind a LOT of the Klan activities.

  31. I use to help my old Preecher cook at Womins Jublee every year until some hussy complane that I was creepy. He told me I culd stay outside and cut grass if I want to help but culdnt come into church where the women are. How am I suppose to meet good saved and sanctfied women if Im not allowed to talk to them? Its a sine of the end times amen. Womin dont want to marry any more unless man has one of those highpaying jobs of at least 40,000 dollers a year.

    1. Iff yew cud cut the grass round my place an’ mebbe cook onse in a wile, we coud talk sum time. But I’m a good old’ fashun woman. I dont hold with this new idear of wimmin shaving there legs. God put hair thair I gess he wantid hair ther. I do put mine in purty little barets sumtimes wen its hot out.

    2. Reality check: $40.000/yr is not a high paying job. Especially if you hope to own your own home.

  32. I like “cute”, and the “no talent” shows and some of the other silliness I’ve seen in women’s conferences. I also liked the chance to shop when we’ve had a retreat in an area that’s known for it’s local shops. But all retreats I’ve been to have had the silliness, the cuteness, the shopping, etc. as a sideline. The main thing was to learn more about God and grow spiritually. And this kind of stuff here – good night! I’m going “what?”

    1. You came to the right place, Beth, to put what you have been taught to enjoy into some perspective.

      At least on this site you don’t get the unified indoctrinated responses you get from your IFB friends. And if everyone tells you you are growing in Christ, well then you must be! Right?

      My wife can’t or won’t tell me what the messages were about. She can’t remember! Oh, she remembers the crafts, the shopping, the time with friends. Not the messages.

  33. Dear Darrell,

    Since is wearing a tu-tu putting on that which pertaineth to a man?

    Lady (in waiting) Semp

    PS — I think I’ll be waiting a long time to attain “lady” status.

  34. Dear SFL Reader:

    In the Toy Story series which ‘Joy Story’ seems to mimic, the name ‘ANDY’ functions in the way that baptism does in some churchly traditions. It declares Andy’s claim of ownership on the character, and it becomes a means of reminding characters of their identity in times of crucial decisions, etc.

    I find it ironic that anyone would take a clear presentation of profound truth set in a child’s world, gut the presentation of profound truth and then present what is left to adults.

    These people must be smoking some great stuff …

    Christian Socialist

    1. Fair point.
      Just listen to any of the big IFB preachers, and tell me they aren’t infantilized or cases of arrested development.
      Example: Tony Hutson “preaching” about how he’ll throw his food on the floor if he doesn’t like it, and segueing (appropos of nothing) into singing the theme music for his favorite TV shows.

      1. Exactly. I’m all for pointing out gender inequalities/mysoginy and double standards, but like rules about G rated only movies or no movies at all, the music rules etc are all geared towards keeping the entire congregation & leadership in a spiritually & emotionally undeveloped state both male & female.

  35. Ok I hafe to tell you all. I’ve been reading the Jezebel spirit crap on this post and I must object or i becum a party to sin.

    You wimmen need to repent and get yourselfs underneath a mans ‘authority’ er else face the rath of jujment.

  36. I had another Fundy Ladies’ Retreat flashback:

    For weeks ahead of the conference/retreat, they would put on a skit during the evening services to promote it to the MEN in the congregation. Invariably, it started as a henpecked man and his loud-mouth wife. Then *magically* after having arrived back at the retreat the wife is meek and mild.

    Men were encouraged to invest in that by sending their wives to the Ladies’ Retreat.

    1. make that “Then *magically* after having arrived home from the retreat”

      Stop it, George!

    2. Oh wow, this is, I just don’t know what to say to this. I am feeling sick to my stomach all over again.

    3. Now they have video promos that do about the same thing. The worst one was the couples retreat; the promo showed a couple having a little fight (normal spat) and if they go to the retreat it would be all better. The thing is, they charge so much for the one night stay and it does not include meals. One afternoon/evening is set aside for free time to (wait for it) shop, or do something.
      But the sessions are the same thing you hear back in church. It just costs a lot more, because you have to pay for all the staff to have free rooms etc.

      1. Well, a few years ago we (on SFL) saw a promotional video from FBC Hammond where people who had been to that church’s marriage retreat said it was great because it gave them a better relationship with Pastor Schaap.
        I’d like to link to that video, but it has been scrubbed from the Interwebs since Pastor Schaap, er, went away for a 12-year sabbatical.

        1. Um, a marriage retreat is supposed to give you a better relationship to your MOG? Okaaaaaaaaaaay then. Explains a lot.

  37. This looks more like a Vacation Bible School thing.

    Sadly, I don’t think fundies have a corner on this market. Seems like the larger culture is more than happy to also treat women as vapid, child-like creatures.

    1. A lot of that started right after WWII during which time women had found their capabilities doing “men’s” work in munitions plants, airplane factories, flying the B-17 bombers from the factories to the bases, etc while the men were deployed. There is a great documentary about women pilots entitled “Wings of Their Own” with interviews of many women pilots. During flight training some of the male pilots would buzz the ladies midair and try and get them to crash. There was a vicious backlash against women when the guys came home. That’s why I generally hate watching movies from the 1950’s-70’s because of the way women are portrayed, makes me sick.

      1. We may have seen an increase of the infantilization of women after WW2, but it certainly didn’t start then. Mary Wollstonecraft discusses it in ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, for example. Treating a certain segment of the population like perpetual children is one pretty effective tactic for keeping them oppressed.

    2. I’m a little surprised they have a parody of “Toy Story” as their theme…..I thought fundies didn’t go to movies?

      1. 20 year old G rated movies are usually acceptable. As long as you find ways to criticize the moral underpinnings of the movie as inferior to your own.

        1. And “ministries” are prone to Dumb Knockoff Names with the “See How Clever I Am?” aroma usually associated with bad porn titles.

          The latest was Grinning Ed Young plugging his new Christian inspirational book “Fifty Shades of They”.

        2. The worst name and slogan for a ministry was actually at a non-deonm type church.

          It was “Men of IMPACT: Men Impacting Men for Christ.”

        3. Ha, it seems they have progressed a little after all! We couldn’t go to movies, period. We got lame reasons like, “your money is going to a place that shows the ungodly movies as well” and “the movie industry supports the communist party”. Yup, not kidding.

        4. It was โ€œMen of IMPACT: Men Impacting Men for Christ.โ€

          Who’s the Top doing the Impacting and who’s the Bottom getting Impacted?

          Looks like it’s not just Left Behind that sets the record for Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setups…


  38. One of the best things about leaving the fundy church is not feeling obligated to attend these conferences. I found the talks to be shallow and unhelpful. Most of the speakers spent the majority of their allotted time glorying their pastor and church…just endless anecdotes about their wonderful pastor and not much at all about Jesus. As a church leader’s wife, I was expected to attend. I also was tasked with selling the books and CD’s the speakers brought with them. It seems that all of these conference invites have the obligatory NO SLACKS ALLOWED and NO CHILDREN posted in all caps and in bold font on the invite. How tacky! I also never cared for the fact that as church members, we paid to attend, made donations towards decorations and food for the event, and tithed regularly, yet still the offering plate was passed at the conference. It’s the equivalent of inviting a guest to dinner, telling them you are going dutch, then asking them to chip in a little extra when the bill arrives. Tacky. Either your church can afford to host such an event or it cannot. But don’t charge admission and also take an offering. Most conferences involved grown women singing children’s Sunday school songs with the smiling and hand motions. There were perfectly good, God-glorifying hymns we could have sung with our highly skilled pianist, but the children’s songs were supposed to be more fun I suppose. The last event I attended was a conference with some FBC-Hammond speakers (pre-Schaap’s scandal) but I felt the Holy Spirit telling me something was off and that I needed to leave. I looked around the room at all the Stepford Wives smiling and taking it all in, having the worst feeling that something was terribly wrong with it all, and excused myself and left. I knew I would never again attend another fundy ladies’ conference. There are so many godly, well-meaning Christian church members who assist with these events and have the best intentions. They truly want to glorify God and their hearts are in the right place. I just cannot be a part of it any longer.

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