When I was in elementary school, my mom and dad got divorced. When I was in middle school, the separation suddenly become a point of contention between my mom and her very traditional parents. I don’t know why it took so long for my grandparents to express their disapproval. What I do know is that they gave my mom this book:
Lies Women Believe is a bestselling self-help book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who purports to have the solution to all life’s problems. Have you, a woman, ever felt depressed? Anxious? Lonely? Tired? Gassy? Are you sick of doing things without the threat of male disapproval hanging over you? Do you think it’s kind of dumb that you have to say “police officer” instead of “police man”?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, the answer is simple: Submit to your husband.
DeMoss is scary-successful. According to the biography on her website, she’s sold 2.8 million copies of her 18 books, all of which focus on “The Biblical concept of womanhood.”
Here’s a short breakdown of that concept, also from DeMoss’ website:
These precepts may ring familiar to those of you who keep up with the Duggars (of 19 Kids and Counting fame). In fact, there’s a lot of crossover between the philosophy outlined in Lies Women Believe and that of the Quiverfull movement, to which the Duggars subscribe. One of the similarities is the emphasis on having kids–lots and lots of kids. But more on that later.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO NANCY LEIGH DEMOSS
The world is sick. DeMoss (and sometime cohort Dannah Gresh) can see the symptoms all around us.
Young women reconsidering traditions that previous generations accepted unthinkingly? Frightening indeed! If girls think too hard about matrimony, they might end up pursuing marriage only when they’re sure they’ve met the right person, which means they’re more likely to end up in a happy relationship, which means DeMoss can’t sell them “submission” as an antidote to their dissatisfaction. In short, you’d have a ghastly mess.
Luckily, not all young women have been brainwashed into believing that their wishes matter when it comes to marriage. Some are boldly questioning the idea that women are equal citizens with equal value.
For example, this college student is incensed that she has to write “police officer” instead of “policeman.” Thus does she place her finger upon the beating heart of all society’s ills. If young women would only submit to their men, they’d be protected from the greatest of all injustices: having to use language that doesn’t insult fifty percent of the population.
IT AIN’T ALWAYS EASY
Marriage is tough. You argue. You compromise. You obsess over parking.
Dannah Gresh gets it–assuming it is “hives whenever she doesn’t get to pick a parking space.” In fact, Gresh was once so weirdly fixated on parking that it almost ruined her marriage.
Fortunately, Gresh knew exactly how to remedy the situation: She got treated for her crippling and oddly specific OCD!
Just kidding. She knelt at her husband’s feet and apologized for having opinions. From that moment on, she submitted to Bob, and their relationship became a romantic paradise.
Despite my initial reluctance, I did eventually decide to get married. So I should be okay in DeMoss’ book, right?
My husband and I have yet to pop any babies into my tiny, un-stretched womb. This–as both DeMoss and the Duggars will tell you–runs contrary to God’s plan.
Having kids is a big decision, far too big to merit any consideration at all. It’s like when you decide to get a tattoo: If you know ahead of time how much it’s going to suck, you’re less likely to do it. So leap before you look, ladies.
Who cares what you think? Your womb doesn’t belong to you anyway. Now get started on that large, unmanageable brood!
THE DANGERS OF DEMOSS
I’ve been fairly flippant up until now, because I think most of the precepts of Lies Women Believe are so ludicrous that no emotionally-and-intellectually-sound individual would give them any credence. But when DeMoss takes it upon herself to advise domestic abuse victims, she crosses the line between regressive and dangerous.
“Reverence for her husband’s position.”
“If she provokes or worsens the situation through her attitudes.”
“Will not be free to claim God’s protection.”
I’m gonna be real for a second here: fuck you, Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
And here’s the kicker–I saved it for the very end. Are you ready?
When Nancy Leigh DeMoss published this book, she had never been married. In fact, she remained single until last year, when, at the age of 57, she married author and literary agent Robert Wolgemuth. It’s safe to assume that, at her age, she won’t be bearing her husband any children.
So how does she explain this discrepancy? Easy: Prior to meeting Robert, DeMoss conteded that God had chosen her to be single and childless.
Let that sink in for a moment. Every other woman has a heavenly mandate to marry, submit, and turn her uterus into an assembly line, but DeMoss didn’t. She was special.
I’ll say it again: fuck you, Nancy Leigh DeMoss.