Due to growing up homeschooled, I am still friends with many Christian homeschoolers on Facebook. Some of them are…well, let’s just say, goldmines of bloggable material (well-intentioned though they may be). Except, since I usually have enough to do critiquing patriocentric material, I don’t actually blog about most of the stuff they post.
Until today, when something especially…interesting…showed up on my timeline.
Let’s just start at the beginning of the item in question. I think the problems will become clear enough on their own. (Full disclosure: I’ve cleaned up a few punctuation errors.)
Some young ladies arrived at a Meeting wearing clothes that were quite revealing of their body parts. Here is what the Chairman told them: He took a good look at them and made them sit. Then he said something that, they might never forget in their life. He looked at them straight in the eyes and said: “Ladies, everything that God made valuable in this world is well covered and hard to see, find or get.”
Okay, first of all, it’s funny to me that “chairman” is capitalized. It makes me think of this particularly famous Chairman. Which I seriously doubt is what the author intended.
More seriously, though, I think Chairman (Not) Mao’s premise is a bit flawed. Is it actually true that everything valuable in the world is hard to access and/or see, and that God deliberately created it this way? Thankfully Chairman (Not) Mao provided us with some examples.
1. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
2. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
3. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers of rock and to get them, you have to work hard and dig deep down to get them.
A few things to note here. One, it’s not necessarily true that all these things are hard to find. We’ve been able to literally “farm” pearls commercially since the early 20th century, and recreational prospecting is actually a thing. Second, diamonds, pearls and gold do not emerge from nature with a divinely placed tag reading “VALUABLE THING.” Somewhere along the line, humans decided that they liked diamonds, pearls and gold, and this made them valuable. They’re certainly not a necessity for human survival. Which brings me to my final point:
There are several things far more valuable to humans than precious metals, gemstones, etc. In fact, these things are so ubiquitous that we usually don’t think about “accessing” them at all. Oxygen and sunlight come to mind. So Chairman (Not) Mao’s idea that God made everything valuable hard to access, is obviously false on its face. Since this is actually the premise of his entire metaphor, I could just stop here and ignore the rest. But if I did that, we’d never get to the creepy part, and what fun would that be?
He looked at them with serious eyes and said: “Your body is sacred and unique. You are far more precious than gold, diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.” So he added that, if you keep your treasured mineral, just like gold, diamonds and pearls, deeply covered up, a reputable mining organization with the requisite machinery will fly down and conduct years of extensive exploration.
So a woman’s “treasured mineral” here, is her body, and the goal is to make sure that it is only accessed by “reputable mining organization[s] with the requisite machinery.”
So tell us, Chairman (Not) Mao, exactly what kind of “machinery” is required for all that “extensive exploration”?
First, they will contact your government (family), sign professional contracts (wedding), and mine you professionally (legal marriage).
…aaaaand it just went from an accidentally suggestive and Freudian double-entendre to downright eww squick creepy.
The author’s clearly approaching this from a courtship or courtship-like standpoint, where the suitor has to approach the woman’s family first and not the woman herself. (Hey, women are valuable so they must be hard to access, right?) But that’s not why this makes my skin crawl. It’s the next bit, where marriage is boiled down to essentially a contract allowing a husband to “mine” and “extensively explore” his wife whenever he feels like it.
This is just…icky. Profoundly icky. I, for one, do not get happy feels when I conceive of sex as a “mining operation” by a man. And do you know why? Not just because of the obvious crude double-entendre here, but more because this is inherently one-sided. Plots of land being mined are not sentient and thus have no say in the matter; they’re just acted upon by the miners. In other words, this metaphor is painting marriage as a relationship in which the man acts on the woman sexually and she doesn’t contribute anything at all.
Worse, it’s also already been established that the man had to approach the woman’s family before being allowed to “mine” her. So not only is this metaphor teaching one-sided sex, it’s also, by comparing a woman to a plot of mineral-rich land, essentially teaching that she is property, controlled first by her family and then by her husband.
Like I said: EWW. This is a thousand times worse than any licked candy bar or bitten donut. In fact, in the world of squicky Christian sex metaphors, it’s right up there with Doug Wilson’s “colonizing” speech.
But if you leave your precious minerals uncovered on the surface of the earth, you always attract a lot of illegal miners to come and mine you illegally. Everybody will just pick up their crude instruments and just have a dig on you just freely like that.
Well, since we’ve already established that mining = sex in this metaphor, what are we supposed to do with this? Are the “illegal miners” men the woman is having sex with? Are they rapists (logical given that plots of land can’t agree to things)? Are they ogling the woman? – though I can’t see how that can be, since, as I said, mining = sex. Does Chairman (Not) Mao think women who wear revealing clothes are automatically having premarital sex? Does he think they’re going to get raped? What?
So many bad choices, so little time. And thus, in lieu of kittens and brain bleach, I might as well end this on a lighter note:
Keep your bodies deeply covered so that it invites professional miners to chase you.
Better call Ralphie…because what if, while deeply covered, you fall and you can’t get up?