Thursday, January 12, 2006

Laura Ingalls is the Devil's Handpuppet

Now let's take a look at another point of view. There is a group of women out there who refer to themselves as "Prairie Muffins." Gordon introduced me to them some time ago and it's worth spreading the awareness. These "Muffins" tend to be ultra-religious, homeschooling mothers intent on reviving the "simple life" of a romanticized pioneer family.

These women will endorse "fun" and "wholesome" activities. Not so much activities like river-rafting as much as activities like vacuuming, baking, and dressmaking. They'll zealously defend the denim jumpers they wear and, like the rest of us, they take comfort in knowing others agree with their lifestyle. Hence, you may find the "Prairie Muffin Manifesto" posted on several websites. Some highlights of which include:

Prairie Muffins own aprons and know how to use them.

Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and their husbands.

Prairie Muffins appreciate godly role models, such as Anne Bradstreet, Elizabeth Prentiss and Elisabeth Elliot. They do NOT idolize Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) or Louisa May Alcott (Little Women); while they may enjoy aspects of home life presented in their books, PMs understand that the latent humanism and feminism in these stories and in the lives of these women is not worthy of emulation.

To them, Laura Ingalls is a temptation. A red herring. She makes it look right to spend the dog days of summer dunking doughballs into your favorite fishing hole. It's that Disney-style of evil that looks good on the surface but actually has a heart darker than midnight. (If you want to debate how evil Disney is, just ask yourself how you would describe a person or thing that worships money and nothing else. The end.) Laura Ingalls may be submissive to her god and husband but she must not have that "fierceness" the Muffins are looking for. For a Mushroom-Pastry, the road to Hell is paved with independent thoughts and self-awareness. Those things are better left to the men. Ladies, what would Jesus do? Aside from giving it up at his pious man's command, he would coverup and lock himself in a 2000 sq ft closet.

Okay, let's have the Jesus talk: Jesus has become a symbol that people apply to whatever cause they are promoting, like choosing a president, a lifestyle, a sitcom, a hotdog. Use him to convince people that whatever you love is the best in the most superlative way. Maybe this is why He is losing his power in America. No one will let him speak for himself. All they grant him is the idea of sacrifice. But what did he do with his life? He traveled around and mixed and humbled himself before the poor and skanky. Did he hide himself away and try not to offend anyone? Not in the stories I've heard.

Given his earthly deeds, what makes the Muffins think he is concerned about whether they wear suits, jumpers or something that hangs off the shoulder? Does a floor vacuumed three times in a day or a bathroom smelling like an Alaskan forest impress the Spirit in the Sky? Every time Jesus is played as a trump card, his spirit dies. Drive your Chevy to the levee. The levee is dry.

Maybe the muffins are right. Maybe they are setting women's liberation back a hundred years. But if you watch the news, these stories usually end with the mother killing her children and being saved by Jesus once more, as she pleads insanity. Jesus told her to do it.


Catherine said...

I've been visiting your blog for awhile now and decided to quit lurking quietly to say "Down with the Prairie Muffins!" (of which I'd never heard of before.)

Thanks for the laughs, but also the insight! Loved the post on Little House. Like you and your older sister, I watched my fair share of it growing up, too, and agree that, while it was sometimes bizarre, it's nothing short of classic TV.

ShootingStar said...

So, I know I should have something to say about the PM's, yet somehow stories of women who decide to live out their lives as 2nd class citizens always just make me sad. I had a VERY independent and intelligent woman say to me "I choose and LIKE being vice president in my house." What do I say to that? Of course I wanted to say that it seems a bit convenient that a male-dominated religion that used all male editors for their central religious text told her that "help-mate" means second. Yet I'd also like to challenge you--flieswithout wings-- ever thought of referring to God as She just to break up the gender discrimination? It is also no cooincidence that men decided that the holy and sacred is masculine.

ShootingStar said...

Also, I am sure you've thought of the irony of my terrible spelling-- being as I'm an English grad student and all. But for the record I know coincidence only has one "O" i just mistyped.

flieswithoutwings said...

I have no problem with the idea that a creator god may not necessarily be a man, even a, eep... woman. I just haven't come upon a situation where it is purposeful to refer to He as She, aside from just being a stickler for cosmic-correctness or messing with peoples minds.

Gordon said...

With all the crazy shit that gets attributed to God, I'd be glad to hand that role off to the other gender. Have at it.

ShootingStar said...

Well.. language is everything (and I don't think it is JUST my bias as a writer that makes me say this). If we say HE exclusively when talking about the creative energy of the cosmos, our minds think that it IS a masculine energy--I think its inescapable. Young women everywhere (especially ones from religious households) grow up thinking that the thing that we say is best--the ideal (God) is male, therefore male is best therefore it is okay to put myself 2nd to men. Do you see the slippery slope!!? --of course this means that only saying She just won't do either.

flieswithoutwings said...

Let's just refer to IT as The Flying Spaghetti Monster and be done with it then

ShootingStar said...

Horay for the FSM! I hope you were wearing your official pirate garb when you typed that!

your mother said...

Em grew up with a strong mother and he doesn't believe men are better. Often they are meaner. But he also grew up with his step-father that cooked and let his mother have more earning power (for a while).