by Franz Guler
Questions and Answers From a Collection of Emails
Q: Why don't you use pictures on your blog that are not Victorian? Do you ever post a broader collection of pictures, such as modern art or photographs of the current era?
A. I have had many email queries about this. The clothing of the past is one of my interests, just as other blogs and websites are reflections of the writer's personal passions, interests, hobbies and beliefs. I like the fabrics and I like the dignity of the clothing of both the men and the women. I like the contrasts between the masculine and the feminine appearances.
I believe there is a great deal of prejudice against the clothing and customs of past centuries, when in fact, the clothing was quite functional and comfortable to wear.
The pioneer period in many countries, including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Alaska, North and South America, various European countries; the time of settling a rough land and creating homes and cities, was all done during the time when women wore those dresses.
Before there were modern electric and plumbing conveniences; before the roads were paved and cars were driven, when life was a lot more difficult--before washing machines and dryers and vacuum cleaners, and before modern gardening tools and lawn mowers, women wore that clothing.
They wore that clothing to go on walks, picnics and mountain climbs. They wore it when they swept the floors and made the beds and washed the dishes. They wore it to church and they wore it when they traveled by train and later wore it in the new motor car invention. They wore those clothes as they walked on the sidewalks and entered the shops. Those who worked in the stores wore it when they served the customers. You can see it on old films, if you search.
Think about all this , and not with a fleeting thought, but ponder that for a long time and then reach a conclusion about the clothing that is more fair.
Q: What is the big deal about your rejection of feminism? Isn't it right that women be treated equally and have the same opportunities as men?
A: In general, there is nothing wrong with equal treatment, but I reject the movement that claims it gave it to women. It came from Jesus Christ, who elevated women to be equal spiritually. When they obey the gospel, they, like the men, have a place as citizens in the Lord's kingdom (the church; body) and the Bible says that in that kingdom there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek. There is in my mind only one kind of inequality, and it is the most tragic: those who are saved, and those who reject the Lord. Those who reject the Lord are in a very unequal position regarding their souls.
I believe the Lord gave women a wonderful role in life, and it is far greater than many moderns can fathom: that of guiding the home. There, they have a direct influence on the beliefs of the family members. If they homeschool, they have an even greater chance of instilling an understanding of God's Word and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Then, they will one day be able to reinforce the teachings of their parents and be an encouragement in return. This is something I have personally experienced.
This being explained, there is really no way a woman can possibly be equal to a man. Men have different abilities and different focus in life. To try to equal them would be a mistake because it would require the neglect of their home and their children, and even neglect of their husbands.
Opportunities abound for both men and women, but that does not mean we are obligated to pursue them. We must pursue the opportunities that are blessed and sanctioned by God, through His word.
by George Sheridan Knowles
Q: Why are you against college for women?
A: There are really several answers to that questions. Firstly, I do not think college is necessary for everyone, even the men. To most, it is only an opportunity to get into debt at a young age, and have the burden of that debt well into their old age. Instead of giving the young people a bright future and success, it sets them up in failure immediately, so that they cannot start out their careers or their married life without the baggage of debt. When a couple marries, the woman almost immediately has to go to work in order to lighten the burden of that debt.
Next, colleges do not really have some secret, superior knowledge that cannot be obtained elsewhere. As I have explained in previous posts, the college system is archaic and out of date. While many people accuse me of "living in the past," I must say it is the belief in the college method of learning that is clinging to the past. College was invented to impart knowledge and training under masters who had the skills to pass on to the students. Books were often shared and college was a good source of libraries. Today, there are so many sources for knowledge and training.
College systems are out of date. The homeschoolers have it right: study can take place anywhere, and just because a number of students of the same age are sitting in a classroom with one teacher does not necessarily mean they are absorbing the information or that the teaching methods are effective. We can buy our own books and access the web, and also tap into the training that other people want to pass down. I believe the teacher-student ratio should be small; preferably one-on-one. The old apprenticeship method of learning from someone in a business is older than the college method, and will still work today, as it is so adaptable to any era.
Colleges, on the other hand, are sought for the prestige of the degree, which sometimes does not really help women, but instead, enslaves them, making it hard or impossible for them to be homemakers and to care for their children themselves.
Last, I believe that women can be better educated and not have their roles stripped from them by college and career, if they will stay home and watch their mothers, and do some reading and research, writing and creating from the resources available to them. Education at home has more freedom and less pressure. Women can create their own experiences and learn by doing. I find the homemakers online to be the most interesting and intelligent, stimulating women to talk to. Their lives are full of discovery, which they happily share on their blogs.
The Sweet River
by Luke Fideles
Q: Why bother having posts that show how to do simple things like boil water or make sandwiches? That information can be found elsewhere on the web and in books and television shows.
A: It is true that any information on this blog can be found somewhere else. Homemakers around the world who study the Bible are aware of their responsiblity to their knowledge on to younger women and to edify each other. Any subject can be come factual, dry and cold when taught outside of the love of Christ. When you read a post about homemaking that has some warmth and heart and purpose planted in it, it gives you greater motivation and a higher and more refined reason for doing it. Otherwise, it is all just very materialistic. I always enjoy watching people who are really living the role of homemaking, do things. While there are many ways to find out how to do something, the impact of a life upon another life is a greater teacher.
by George Dunlop Leslie
Q: Why the emphasis on Tea, Afternoon Tea, Tea Time, and Tea Parties? Is this intelligent or worthwhile?
A: With all the stresses there are in the world, and all the things to worry about, do you ever just desire a place of peace where everything is pleasant and beautiful? Tea time is like going to a spa or a resort, without the expense and without any upheaval in your life. Tea cups that were barely used by the previous generation are sold for just a small amount in the thrift stores and Goodwill, so why not use them and create tea ceremonies to remember?
There is something about sitting down for tea and scones that evokes kind conversation and relaxation, which is something that is so needed to revive the senses and the body for the responsibilities at home. Women in past centuries had tea, and it produced many fine scenes and memories; some which were captured on canvas by the painters of the era. There is something good to be said of a people who valued beauty and sweetness, and Tea Time is one of those things that allows us to capture something lovely from the day. Taking tea helps us revive a time of innocence, and lifts our burdens.
Home, Sweet Home
by George Dunlop Leslie
Q: Why the emphasis on young women growing up at home and being homeschooled, and then staying home until they are married? Would not they benefit by the experience of being out on their own, fending for themselves?
A: This seems to be a sensitive subject for people, and my answers are always hard for them to take. My own observation is that, in spite of the picture that is painted for young women--a picture of freedom and happiness and lack of responsibility during the "single years" what others are not telling them (those who promote it) is the drastic loneliness, poverty and temptation that awaits them: things that will alter their lives forever and sometimes, disastrously.
They are not saying how there is reallly no fulfillment in that single life away from their families, and they are not telling how much other people will prey on them for various things. They will be sought after to be a roommate to someone who needs half the rent shared. They will be sought after by anyone that is selling anything, from insurance to cars to trips. They will be sought after as recipients of credit cards of all kinds. They will be sought after by cults and religions and false teachers. They are away from the protection and comforts of home, and they will become vulnerable to many things.
The fault is in assuming that leaving home, and that college, is for everyone. Not all young women will benefit from such an experience. For many, it is a dark, harrowing period in their lives in which no one cares whether they survive or not. It is a world devoid of love and acceptance, and some people cannot survive the emotional emptiness without their families, unless they succumb to the "ways of the world" to fill up the void.
Financially, leaving home can be a disaster, as rent takes up most, if not all, of a young person's salary. The cost of transportation and other living expenses can use up all their resources, until a young person may find that the parents are actually subsidizing the young person's life. I believe that people who think that sending a young person away from home to college or to work may be living in their own, idealistic dream world, where they believe their child will learn how to survive.Sometimes survival begins in the emotions, and taking them away from home is not always emotionally healthy for every young person in the world.
Our grandparents may have lived in a safer world and been able to send their sons and daughters to college or to work, or even on vacation by themselves, but the dynamics of the way things work in the world away from home have changed a lot. It is wrong to assume that every young woman will get along just fine away from home, grow more mature, and head off into a productive life that is meaningful. It just does not happen that way for everyone, no matter how the single life away from home is promoted .
The Pride of Dijon
by William John Hennesset
Q: I am someone who will never follow the role of womanhood the Bible speaks of, because it does not bring any security. A married woman has no freedom, no money and no security. Her talents are stifled and she has no education.
A: This is going to take a long time to answer. So, while you wait, please read what my readers have to say, in the comments. Ladies, please respond to this in all honesty.
A: I grew up observing many women at home, in an era when women did not go to work, nor did they want to. They all lived off the income provided by their husbands, and the men gladly provided it because it was a great source of pride and manliness to do that and because the loved their families and because it was their duty toward their families and to God. They believed the scriptures taught men to be providers and women to be guides and guards of the home. This system worked very well, and when there was occasionally a woman that went to work, he would "lose" her children, who became wild and unruly, lacking in structure and purpose, and got into trouble with the law.
That being said, there were not a lot of jobs available and preference was always given to the men, so that they could provide for their families. The mail service had a man driving a mail truck, and the buses were driven by men. I remember once when the man who drove the mail truck got sick, his wife took the route and delivered the mail for him. In those days that was allowed. And I remember the wife of the bus driver driving the bus when he got sick. But these women were not trying to prove a point or exemplify that they were equal or demanding any rights or power. They were doing what they had to do at the time, and they did not hang on to those jobs. Once the men got well , the wives expressed their relief: "I am sure glad he's back at work and I can get back to my own chores," they said.
I know that being home is not an indication that there is lack of income. In fact many women at home seem to prosper better. I can only say that even though the figures might not "add up" for some people (regarding the money and staying home) that God has his hand in it. Women at home are not living under a bridge, homeless, destitute or without support. Just because a woman does not work outside the home, does not mean she will have nothing. And, a lot of this has to do with the reasons for staying home, the motivation, and the spiritual aspects of it. A lot of it is based on faith, and showing that faith by staying under the authority of God and His Word, a concept that some people have a hard time accepting.
Below is a comment I received from an older woman who has experienced a lot of things as a homemaker. It ties in nicely with this question about the security of staying home.
However, consider the other side of the picture. There are many of us here who are older. We've seen much in our lives, made mistakes and learned from them. One thing we can tell you in all certainty is this...there is no security outside of God. Do you think that the thousands of people who cannot find jobs felt secure in their jobs at one time? Do you think that the thousands who have lost their homes through foreclosure felt that they would live in that dream home forever? What about all those college students who just knew that after getting their degrees that they would start off in their careers only to find themselves living at home because they can't find a position in their chosen field much less find work? Those who lost hard-earned money in the stock market? Those who married and find themselves divorced? Those who have lost a child? Nothing is secure.
Now, this is not to say that we stand still and do nothing because everything might fall apart! When we walk in obedience to what God has to say, we have a solid foundation, a Help in time of trouble, a true Friend. He has said through His servant, Paul, in the New Testament of the Bible and in the Jewish Torah, that the best place for a woman to be and to serve Him is in her home. He has also given us minds to use, and the gift of prayer as we seek His will for a husband. We have freedom to make a wise choice when picking a husband. You will look for someone who is Godly, kind, loving, strong, and a good provider. This is a great start. When you find someone like this, and God will bring you together, you will experience great joy!
I have been married for almost 37 years, and in that time I must say I have experienced greater freedom than I did when I was in the working world. I have the freedom to work or to rest, to visit or to volunteer, to study or to blog!
As for money, we are neither rich or poor, but we have taken what we had over the years, invested, saved, improved. People said it couldn't be done. It can!
As for talents being stifled, a woman has greater freedom of using her talents out of her home than she would in the workplace. At work she can only do what she's been hired to do, but at home she has her pick of anything she wants to do! There are a myriad of things she can do because she has the time and talent. Nothing goes to waste!
Lastly, you mentioned that a homemaker has no education. I beg to differ. She is free to access libraries or order books to increase her knowledge on thousands of different subjects. It is beneficial for her to be well educated. Feminists would have us believe that the homemaker is only home because that is all she knows how to do. Some of the smartest, most intelligent women I know are homemakers but they are avid readers, and some take classes online as I am doing now. We are not stupid. We are smart cookies! And yes, we can bake them too!
All of these things can be done, but the most wonderful, the most beautiful, the most satisfying is for a woman to oversee her home, being a vital presence and worker there. Her whole family is blessed, and she is in the will of God. If you read Proverbs 31 in the Bible, you will see how talented and hardworking that the virtuous woman is! I encourage you to seek God and do not be afraid of the future. Please don't listen to those who constantly spout fear. The enemy doesn't want women to be home because he knows how easy it is for a family to fall apart when the woman, the glue, is not there. He knows if he can get her to give her energies elsewhere that her husband will be lonely, the children will miss her presence and her guidance, and there will be turmoil and chaos. That is exactly what he wants and that is exactly what is happening all over the world.
God bless you, dear one. Please remain open to God's will in your life. It is such a happy, free, secure life in the Lord!
A: In response to this lovely letter, I would like to say that there are a lot of women who think nothing of counting the cost of buying a car on credit. If they were to add up the total amount it would cost them in the end, possibly long after the car is worn out, they would be frightened. If they were to try to find out if their job was guaranteed to be there for them the rest of their lives, they should become quite hesitant to take the job, since it is not really "secure." And they should not buy a house because they might lose it in hard times. There are plenty of things to be frightened of, yet these kinds of risks do not frighten them at all. They are more frightened of making a commitment to a husband and a home, thinking that it is not "secure." What is missing here is the quality of love and loyalty, and the skill of guiding and guarding the home so that it will be secure, which are things the older women should teach the younger women. Even without that knowledge, the simple act of trusting God and obeying His Word, goes a long way toward security at home.
Through the Garden Door
By George Sheridan Knowles
Q: Don't you know you are living in the past? Do you not realize that all those paintings represent women who were oppressed in their day? Their clothing was made by other people, who were poorly paid. To show these paintings is to deny the rights of women in the past. The clothing represents women who were rich, with nothing to do. The lower classed women were hard workers and they did not wear these clothes. A painting of a woman carrying water is just going into the past and telling us we should all go primitive and carry water instead of having modern homes. Those clothes also prevented women from really doing anything. This is the 21st century, and you need to face reality.
A: You can discover the truth about the clothing of the past by looking at the photographs of the 1800's. When the camera was invented, women were wearing the Victorian styles, all over the world. Yes, there was a difference between the quality of the garments of the rich and the poor. The rich were more likely to have specialized cloth in their garments, more embellishments, and more tailor-made. The poor often wore hand made skirts of homespun fabric, and made their own clothes. Revise history tells a terrible tale of woe, but if you actually look at the photographs and the paintings, you will see a different story.
I wrote in detail about this on a post called "The Old Ways or the Old Days,"
If you have photographs and diaries of your great grandmothers, you will also gain an insight into their lives at that time period. Like every single time-period that ever has been and ever will be, there are both good and bad elements. The Victorian period was not all bad. There was great progress made during that time, when women wore those things. Many new frontiers were discovered and pioneered. Hospitals, trains, sanitation, running water, electricity, and most of the conveniences we have to day were discovered by these people. It was also a time of great invention: the motor car, the sewing machine, the airplane, the elevator, the washing machine, and many more things were invented in that time.
As in any era, including our own, we must learn not to identify people by whether they are rich or poor, but by their character. No matter what their social condition, it is their spiritual condition we must be concerned about.
Q. From what I have seen and read here, I can conclude that you are living in the past, which means you are dragging a lot of women with you who could contribute something greater to the world.
A. More than one subject is covered in this question. 1. The Past, 2. Readers of this blog, 3. Contributing something to the world, 4. The world.
1. The Past: The past is what makes the present and the future. If you ride a bicycle, for transportation to school or college, or just for enjoyment, then "living in the past" could just as well be said of you. The bicycle dates back to the early 1800's, with some historians claiming that facsimiles of it appeared long before that. Look at all the things you use daily, and you will find that everything from the automobile to plumbing first existed long before this present era. The design of clothing is nothing modern, when you consider the way it was made in the past. Skirts are still skirts, and blouses are still blouses; suits are still suits, boots are still boots. For the most part, a house that functions as a home still has the basic elements of a home in ancient times: a living area where one may visit with seating arrangements (couches and tables have ancient beginnings. Just look at the photographs of those discovered in ancient volcanic ruins), and a kitchen area, a laundry and bathing area, doors, windows, gardens, yards.
Enjoying things from the past is a lot different than living in the past.
Q. If you do not believe in college for women, it means you are taking away a basic human freedom. We have come so far, in the west, and women now have equality with men. They should take advantage of a college education. They will never get anywhere in life without it.
A. The question of the cost of college and the debt it incurs has become a national scandal. Young people who are told that college provides a wonderful future for them, are in debt up to a hundred thousand dollars by the time they are finished. Some of them never get the jobs they hope their education is leading them to. Others have changes in plans and family issues. Many of these college loans are a trick. I have seen students apply for scholarships. They are told that in order to be applicable for those scholarships, they have to already be enrolled in the college of their choice. That enrollment takes money that they often do not have, but they often take the risk by borrowing, holding out hope that they will get a scholarship. I have seen students stuck in colleges because they have borrowed, and yet they find out they do not like the college or the programs. This goes entirely against the free enterprise system. College is a system of debt. They suck the customer in, and then the customer is stuck. If college were a pay-as-you go, per class, the student would be able to withdraw attendance if the courses did not suit his requirements, instead of forcing a student to make such a huge financial commitment.
As for college for girls: I have written about this on another page called "Get On In Life." This post shows the urgency of young women to marry, have children, and be homemakers. Their lives cannot be put on hold while they pursue a man-made course of study. If they feel they must study, let them study the art of homemaking, which is varied and interesting, scientific, and mathematical. There is such a variety to home life that it takes years and years to understand and manage it. That is why Titus 2 assigns the older women to teach the younger women. A college course could never cover all the experience of an older woman experienced in true homemaking.
A. First of all there is a false assumption that homemakers over the centuries never had money. That is simply not true. Most of them actually held the purse strings. Their husband's earned the money and handed it over to their wives to manage and pay bills. Homemakers also earned money through domestic endeavors of sewing, vegetable gardening, and many other things. In many cases they had substantial savings. Also through the care of the house and land, they create investment property that is worth a lot.
Assuming that the women at home are on some kind of public assistance is far from the truth. They are instrumental in teaching their children to avoid going on welfare and foods stamps, and are and always have been strong advocates of independent health care. They also teach nutrition and healthy living to their families. Besides all this, homemakers believe that people should be self-sufficient and not put burdens on the public, for their care.
Your statement about women in the past having lived unhappy lives: there are many women today who are not homemakers who are also unhappy, despite the fact they have high paying jobs. Happiness is a character problem, not a problem due to circumstances.
Your statement that many women would be treated better by men if they had better options is also something that is misunderstood. Hopefully women whose major job is the care of the home and family are doing so because of the teaching in the Bible that women should guide the home, guard the home and be keepers at home. If they are following the Bible, then their husbands have no right to mistreat them. Any husband that does, is not worthy of being called a husband, loses a great deal of his masculinity, and is not following the scriptural guidelines for men, including the command to love their wives and treat them with understanding. Her situation at home is a noble one, and even if she is sick and cannot keep house for a period of time, she is still needed at home.
One of the advantages of women being home is that they can care for their health. If they are working for someone else, they cannot take time off to rest or take care of themselves if they are not feeling well. Working outside the home obligates them to a rigid schedule daily and weekly and is not as flexible as being at home. They have more freedom at home and can pay more attention to nutrition and cleanliness and their own environment, which is conducive to good health.
You mentioned independence and self-respect. Those two things begin in the home, and are taught from the cradle. Children who are homeschooled are taught that the government does not owe them a job or welfare. They are more likely to create their own businesses, which enables them to hire other people who in turn can help their own families.
When women stay at home they are able to create the kind of beauty and order around them that suits their own tastes. Have a look at my blogroll and you'll see some women who are doing their best to make their homes wonderful places and yet do not require a huge income to do this. When I was growing up in the 1950's it was rare to find a woman who worked, unless she was unable to get married. Those who were not married would work until they met someone to marry, and then, they were very glad to quit work and go maintain a home for their husbands and children. Working outside the home is not the ideal thing for women.
(This is a continuing post. Please check back for more questions and answers.)