Monday, July 10, 2006

The Refugees From Drury Lane

A friend sent me this link a few days ago, and I still haven’t figured out if it’s real. It’s called the “Prairie Muffin Manifesto,” which sounds like a downhome Midwestern cookbook. But no—Prairie Muffins (if they really exist) are women who

choose a quiet life, diligently pursuing our biblical role as women and protecting the innocence of our children. Some women have been caricatured as denim jumper-wearing, Little House on the Prairie-worshiping, baby machines who never trim their hair or wear makeup. Like the Americans who bore the name Yankee Doodle as a badge of honor rather than be cowed by the enemy who used it in a derogatory way, the name Prairie Muffin is meant to convey the message that we are sticking to our convictions despite the silly labels people try to stick on us.

Okay. If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom and her husband supports that, good for her. And if she’s partially motivated by religious incentives, well, whatever makes her happy. I think the name “Prairie Muffin” is kind of stupid, personally, but they’d say the same about “Feral genius.” Anyway, here’s the start of the manifesto:

Whereas we Prairie Muffins believe that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, knowing that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, we affirm many (if not all) of the statements in this manifesto, declaring our joy in serving Christ in the role He has given us and delighting in our distinctives.
1) Prairie Muffins are committed to obeying God's law in every area of life, as they are aware of its application to their lives and circumstances.
2) Prairie Muffins are helpmeets to their husbands, seeking creative and practical ways to further their husbands' callings and aid them in their dominion responsibilities.

This goes on through your standard good-Christian-housewife stuff: obey God, be a good mom, keep obeying God, continue being a good mom, and don’t let the home fires grow cold:

9) Prairie Muffins do not reflect badly on their husbands by neglecting their appearance; they work with the clay God has given, molding it into an attractive package for the pleasure of their husbands.

Well, I still take trouble with my hair and makeup, so I suppose I can’t criticize . . . of course, I don’t tell myself that it’s some holy religious sacrament . . . oh, look, here’s more husband stuff:

17) Prairie Muffins place their husbands' needs and desires above other obligations, arranging their schedules and responsibilities so that they do not neglect the one who provides for and protects them and their children.
18) Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and to their husbands.

Okay. Okay. I get it. I swear, if the author hadn’t already made a point of saying she wasn’t some drudge who “worshipped Little House on the Prairie” I’d think she was a total drudge who . . . oh. Here’s why she doesn’t like Little House on the Prairie:

19) 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.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: radical feminist.

I’d like to post more Prairie Muffin outtakes here but unfortunately I don’t have the time — I must perform my womanly duty of reminding the man of the house that he needs to do the laundry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder was probably not as much at fault for humanist influences than her (female libertarian) ghostwriter daughter.

Don't know how many people actually espouse this, but given some minor experience with these types I'm sure that this person is entirely serious.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I've read the arguments that Rose ghostwrote Laura's books, but I am not convinced. I've read all of the Little House books many times (and will still re-read them on occasion), and I've read Rose's pioneer stories. Rose's stories were basically "the dark side of Little House." Free Land is, I think, just a re-telling of By the Shores of Silver Lake, but whereas Laura would spend a page or two describing the beauty of a prairie sunrise, Rose would talk about how everybody's going to be hungry this winter because the crop was so puny. LH talks about how wonderful it is that with the Homestead Act everybody gets a free farm, while Rose would discuss how the free farms were all junk land that would ruin you financially.

I've got a book of essays Laura published in some magazine in the 1900s through 1920s, and they read pretty much the same as her books. The only differences are the differences between a rural local editor and a big-time national editor; the books are more polished, just as the articles I write for pay are more polished than what I write here. But they're the same writer. And the only "feminist humanism" in the books are as follows:

1. Laura was a spirited and spunky young girl; and,

2. When Laura and Almanzo got engaged Laura said that she would not take the vow to obey him.

"What?" Almanzo said, very surprised. "Are you for women's rights, like [his sister]?"

"No," Laura said, "I do not want to vote. But I cannot make a promise I won't keep, and I can't obey anyone against my better judgment."

Almanzo then replied that 'obey' is just something women say, and "I've never known a woman who did it, or a decent man who wanted her to." (My italics.)

7:14 AM  
Blogger CGHill said...

"Prairie"? Try "meadow".

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Jason Sonenshein said...

I think the name “Prairie Muffin” is kind of stupid, personally, but they’d say the same about “Feral genius.”

"Prairie muffin" sounds uncomfortably similar to "meadow muffin." Say what you will about "feral genius," but "feral genius" isn't easily confused with any synonym of "manure."

Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and to their husbands.

How does one go about being fiercely submissive, anyway? Fierce submission seems like it would be difficult to pull off.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Jason Sonenshein said...

And, I see that C.G. Hill beat me to it. That's what I get for not reading comments before posting.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

How does one go about being fiercely submissive, anyway?

Chew through the ball gag?

You know, guys, I'd never heard of "meadow muffins" before, but I did think 'cow pie' when I first read the manifesto. Shit by any other name smells as sweet, huh?

3:50 PM  
Anonymous TC said...

Wasn't it one of those that offed her preacher husband a short while back?

11:39 PM  
Blogger Nell said...

And here I thought prairie muffins were buffalo plops.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Jon H said...

Prairie Muffin Number One

9:45 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

You ain't seen nuthin, till you go down on a muffin and you'll soon be a changin your ways...Walk this way, Talk this way...


11:08 AM  

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