Major hat tip: Cellar Door
"Feminism has gripped our culture. Here is some historical perspective. In the nineteenth century, the Queen of England said that feminism was a 'mad wicked folly of women’s rights… feminists ought to get a good whipping..' There are not a hundred pastors alive today who would read anything like this out loud. We live in a time in history where we are out of sync with historic understandings of manhood, womanhood."
Doug Phillips, the head of an organization called Vision Forum Ministries, uttered these words last weekend on the occasion of Vision Forum's 2006 Father Daughter retreat in Pine Mountain, Georgia. This event drew more than 500 people at a cost of $595.00 for each father/daughter pair and $185 for each additional daughter. Daughters ranged in age from as young as 5 to women in their 20s.
The purpose of this event seems to be the encouragement and affirmation of a "Biblical" model of the father-daughter relationship. The father's most sacred duty is "[the daughter's] protection and preservation from childhood to virtuous womanhood . . . he leads her, woos her, and wins her . . . he seeks to raise her as an industrious, family-affirming, children-loving woman of God." The daughter in turn ideally "looks to her father as a loving picture of leadership, of devotion, and of care."
Feminism, needless to say, is seen as the enemy because of course it is the father's vision, not the daughter's, which she must seek to fulfill until the day he hands her over to her husband. Her vision at no time in her life will take precedence -- and this fact must be impressed on young girls sooner rather than later in "this age of feminism."
Some of the events of the weekend included:
An "intimacy building" event in which daughters were to comb their father's hair, shave them, tie their ties for them, and tie their shoes.
There were also unity games such as the three legged race and a game in which the daughters were blindfolded to "see how well daughters could follow the voice command of their fathers in and around an obstacle course." There was also an exercise in fatherly wooing, in which fathers knelt before their daughters and sang songs like "Eidelweiss."
There were picnics, dinners, and "high tea" at which everyone wore their best, with young girls in long flowered dresses and pretty hats. (I noticed that many sisters seemed to wear identical matching outfits. Perhaps this is simply meant to be cute, or perhaps it's a matter of frugality, but I can't help seeing the matching outfits as symbolizing a lack of respect for the children's individuality, as they are trained up to adopt one-size-fits all gender roles that are especially specific and restrictive for women.)
There were various talks. Scott Brown, a minister involved in Vision Forum ministries, proclaimed that "Fathers need to prepare their daughters to be wives who are under submission, helpers to their husbands, mothers, keepers at home and domestic entrepreneurs." A young woman contrasted Biblical womanhood with the poor example of the heroine in the "Princess Diaries" and the "feministic rebellion of Teddy Roosevelt's eldest daughter Alice." Doug Phillips read aloud from a picture book called The Princess and the Kiss, "a story of God's gift of purity."
You can read more about the event and look at pics at Scott Brown's blog starting here and starting again here. You can also read more on Doug Phillips's blog. (The links directly to the relevant posts didn't work so you'll have to scroll down past the fencing pics and whatever else may get posted in the meantime. Once you get to the father daughter picnic you're in the right place and keep scrolling down.)