Book Review (Kind Of): In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

So, a piece of info about your blogmistress that probably won’t surprise anyone: I don’t normally buy books without reading reviews of them first, because I don’t want to end up paying money for something that looked good but turned out to be deficient or substandard in some way. I made an exception for In the Heart of the Sea when I found it at the front of Books-a-Million last month, for a few reasons. One, it was a mass-market paperback so it didn’t cost too much; two, Nathaniel Philbrick is a well-known historian with a good reputation; and three, flipping through it, I realized it would give me an opportunity to expand upon a topic I’d already discussed here at Scarlet Letters. And on that note, if you’ve seen the In the Heart of the Sea movie that was recently made, you’re probably wondering what a book about whaling and survival at sea has to do with the usual fare here (Christian gender issues and patriocentricity). Continue reading


So Much More, p. 107-131 – Part 2: Weeds and Widows

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

After the last post about how women shouldn’t have careers outside the home, it makes sense to examine exactly how A&E envision women obtaining daily necessities – by always being attached to a man and allowing him to provide for her:

Biblically, the duty to provide is given to the man. As we read in Genesis 3, because of Adam’s sin, God cursed the ground so that it would be hard for Adam to provide for his family. … Nowhere in Scripture does it even hint that a woman has a duty to provide for herself. Even in a worst-case scenario, our Heavenly Father has arranged for masculine protection for needy women.

I’ve covered before how A&E’s definition of “provision” is broad enough to include many activites regularly done by women, but is still somehow restricted to men only. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 107-131 – Part 1: Stay in Your Homes!

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.


Pictured above are the beautiful badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, ND. (Photo taken by your adventurous blogmistress this past summer.) Hey, if Doug Phillips and A&E can quote him – and A&E did, briefly, in this chapter as part of their defense of mandatory homemaking – I can post pictures of the park named after him and call it relevant to my post.

And speaking of mandatory homemaking, I will say one thing for Chapter 9. For once, A&E were direct and said exactly what they were thinking. They believe homemaking is God’s will for women, and that careers outside the home are sinful. In fact, they believe that when a woman pursues a career outside the home, she is “pretending to be a man” and harming civilization. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 95-105 – Part 4: American Girls

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

At the end of chapter 8, A&E have a go at history:

When the first brave wives came with their husbands to the shores of Plymouth in 1620, they brought character and the customs of Christendom with them. Unfortunately, most modern history books give inaccurate depictions of women from this time, and often focus entirely on the “feminists before their time” who did little or nothing to build up their society, and often had little cultural significance.

I can’t help but nitpick here and point out that the Pilgrim wives on board the Mayflower were not the first married English women to reach North America. They were preceded (by nearly 40 years) by Eleanor White Dare, mother of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America and a member of the famous “Lost Colony” of Roanoke. This doesn’t affect any arguments about Christendom, of course, since we’re still talking about English women from the same general time period; but I still find it annoying, even though it’s only obliquely relevant to the actual issue here: A&E glossing over things about history and portraying early American women as pretty darn close to perfect and/or superhuman: Continue reading

So Much More, p. 95-105 – Part 3: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

For this post, I will take as my starting point a passing remark by Rebekah (and thus by extension, A&E since they endorsed it by printing it in their book):

My quest to become “one of the guys” led me to yield to my sinful nature and develop a competitive and independent spirit, causing me to lose one of the sweetest traits of girlhood – that of gentle trustfulness.

Rebekah doesn’t elaborate here on what she means by a “competitive spirit.” She seems to contrast it with “gentle trustfulness,” but gives little detail other than that. Had nothing more been said on the subject, my discussion of competitiveness would have ended at that. However, as I kept reading I realized that competition was a bit of a minor (though subtle) theme in chapter 8. Continue reading

Patriocentricity Is Broken

I’m reasonably certain that anyone even remotely interested in reading Scarlet Letters, has heard about the recent child molestation scandal surrounding Josh Duggar. Oceans of digital ink have already been spilled over this story, asking and re-asking the same questions. Did Josh truly repent of what he did? Is Josh a danger to his children? Did the Duggar parents handle the situation wisely? – and plenty others besides these.

In the few days since this story broke, I’ve read not only the redacted police report, but also various responses to the situation, both from the pro- and anti-Duggar “camps.” And after mulling things over for a while, I think I’m ready to add my own drop or two of ink to the flood, for whatever that might be worth at this point. Continue reading

So Much More, p. 95-105 – Part 2: Do You Even Lift?

“A&E” refers to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, authors of So Much More. I chose the abbreviation to save space and time.

In the last post, I outlined how A&E finally got around to (partially) defining the word “femininity.” Femininity, however, is only one of the terms A&E set out to define at the beginning of the chapter. The other is “strength,” which fares significantly worse than femininity in terms of specificity. However, if we read between the lines, I think we can still make an educated guess at what A&E have in mind when they talk about strength. Continue reading