Stay-at-Home Daughters

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Ashley Easter and I both wrote for the patriarchal, stay-at-home daughter site called “Raising Homemakers.” Unbeknownst to each other, we both left patriarchalism (and subsequently the stay-at-home daughter life) and became egalitarians. Just last year, we reconnected and shared our whys and hows of leaving.

She recently invited me to write a guest post on why I left the stay-at-home daughter ideology behind, and added a helpful addendum on the three waves of the stay-at-home daughter movement. Pop on over!

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9 thoughts on “Stay-at-Home Daughters

  1. Rebekah

    Lovely insights. I used to be an SAHD mainly because it suited me and me hobbies/skills to a tee and it was just perfect at that stage of my life. I’m still very much the same person, but sometime after graduating from homeschooling I found God had a very different plan for my life than I had envisioned. To me, now, there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with not staying at home, with going to college, with pursuing skills and interests outside of the “mold”. And sometimes the mold is just a cultural thing, nothing to do with faith or grace or salvation, etc.

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    • Bailey Steger

      Yes, and I very much think there’s nothing wrong with “looking like” a stay-at-home daughter if those are your interests and/or it is more convenient to live at home. But to me, there’s a huge difference between living at home as an adult or being crafty or loving homemaking and being a stay-at-home daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebekah

    The very dogmatic “girls must always stay at home” doctrine is quite odd to be honest and from my observation is usually based on a fear of “evil worldly influences” (thus the need for control/supervision/protection), the need for free labour (because of having more children than parents can be responsible for) and/or a lack of resources to fund an accredited education (because too many children to send to college, therefore college ie EVIL). But, like you shared in another post, homemaking skills are really not rocket science, they don’t take a lifetime to master! And I feel it’s vital for girls to be free at that time in their life (early twenties) when they are not tied down, to really have a chance to broaden their experiences and “come into their own”.

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    • Bailey Steger

      Boom. Preach. Except I’d add that college is evil because it introduces you to “worldly” ideas. Oddly, some of the most prominent proponents of SAHD living are quite well-off. Duggars, Botkins, Bauchams, Philipps. I don’t think finances would have been too much of a problem (though yeah, tons of kids limits how far a large income can stretch).

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  3. Abigail

    I loved your post! But I’d contend that you sold your younger self short. Sure, your perspective was limited, but you had thoughtful, worthwhile contributions to gender politics when you wrote based in your personal experience. I remember being very impressed with “Schoolyard Feminism” way back in ye olden days of 2011, when I found your blog. Your observations about how girls are often brought up to think of boys as inferior were thoughtful and worthwhile. At the time, I thought you were misguided on many points, but you were so insightful and observant that I obsessively followed your blog and looked forward to new posts. Also, since most of your exposure to feminism was from rude commenters on your blog, it’s quite understandable that you didn’t seek out that perspective or think it would be helpful.

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    • Bailey Steger

      Well, thanks, Abigail. :) Ironically, “Schoolyard Feminism” is the very post that makes me facepalm, because I wrote it so authoritatively without knowing what I was talking about. I seriously was just parroting. And yeah, sure, the feminists on my blog were sometimes jerks, but it’s not like I went out of my way to understand them or research their point of view. (I was too scared to, to be honest.)

      It makes me laugh, because I’ve sometimes considered rebutting my old articles as an easy way to refute that ideology…I was just so engrained in it.

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      • Abigail

        That makes sense. It has been a long time since I read the post. I suppose it’s good that I was able to remember the good and forget the bad — your posts did encourage and benefit people, despite the skewed ideology.

        Oh, I would be so amused if you did that! I often derive strange satisfaction from reading my old journals, finding things I totally disagree with, and breaking down in a new journal entry why and how I was wrong.

        Also, I didn’t realize how young you were when you first got involved in the SAHD world. That increases my understanding of how much damage it did.

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  4. Jasmine Ruigrok

    Awesome post! I actually loved hearing you outline your journey so forthrightly, because it is very similar to my own. I was never officially a SAHD, but I mingled with the culture a fair bit, and a lot of it rubbed off on my worldviews and philosophies. Living good out of fear was a MASSIVE part of my teen years, I can so relate. Actually, I think one of the roads to my exiting the subtle performance-based mindset was through the book Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. Understanding I could never be good enough (ergo, Jesus), that I didn’t have to be and that was okay, was a sweet relief to my spirit to learn.

    And hey, Bailey, don’t feel bad about speaking so authoritatively on things you didn’t understand properly when you were younger. This comes from someone who wrote a monster guest article for a Christian writers forum on how dangerous reading Harry Potter is… someone who had never read it. *facepalm* The price we pay for passion is that sometimes we are passionately wrong. But the best thing about passion is that it drives us to keep learning and searching for the truth, which means—thank God, really!—we will inevitably discover we have been wrong at times. Though I do want to cringe when I remember things that I’ve written wrongly are still alive on the web, I can only be thankful I can, because it means I have grown and learned. :)

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    • Bailey Steger

      I never read “Grace for the Good Girl,” but I started encountering her message in other places and other bloggers. So freeing.

      Hahaha! Girl, instead of obsessively reading Harry Potter as a kid, I obsessively read this gracious but firm book on why Christians should not read Harry Potter. I learned way more about actual witchcraft through that than Harry Potter itself, butttt hey. It meant well. ;) I’m a big Harry Potter fan now!!!

      Come to think of it, I wrote either an essay or a long comment bashing the evils of romantic stories for an online Christian writers’ forum. *Sigh* Live and learn. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

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