I started this as a comment in the discussion of my previous post. However, given the difficulty many had spotting the problem with Walsh’s framing I think this is worth pulling out as a separate post.
There is a sort of blank slatism on display here and in Stanton’s writing where the female child is perfect and the only source of sin comes from the culture. Stanton explains how parents should address raising girls in his book on parenting (emphasis mine):
As parents guide their girls into the complex and wonderful world of healthy womanhood, what do they need to be aware of?
What are the essential qualities that transform our daughters into mature, secure women?
As you read through the qualities described below, please keep in mind that much of this is innate, but because our culture seems to fight so hard to suppress certain natural tendencies, it’s our privilege and responsibility as parents to watch out for opportunities to nurture and guide in these areas.
Fortunately Stanton doesn’t make the same mistake with boys, who he explains need continuous direction to become good men (emphasis mine):
Who will help your little boy become a man? How will this be achieved?
These are profound parenting questions that demand great and long reflection. Note that I wasn’t entirely correct earlier. Each conveyor belt leads not necessarily to manhood but to male aging, because that’s what the mere passage of time produces. But good men don’t just happen. Good men are most often created in good families, and great intention needs to be put into the process. Fathers and other men play a key role!
In his letter to his daughter post, Walsh writes with the same blank slatist frame Stanton does about daughters (emphasis mine):
I hope you always stay exactly as you are right now. Innocent, carefree, unencumbered, pure.
But these could only be the hopes of a foolish idealist like your Dad. I can rub the genie lamp and make a thousand stupid wishes, but you will grow. You will start to learn about the culture that surrounds you. You will form opinions about yourself. Your vivacious, bubbly happiness will give way to more complex emotions. You will develop new dimensions.
In these times, here in your very early life, you only cry because you’re hungry or tired or you want me to hold you. One day, though, your tears will come from a deeper place.
Note how she goes from pure to wretched, and the agent of change is the culture. This is really no different than Marx, etc wanting to make the New Socialist Man, or what feminists are trying to do. The idea is that people don’t have a nature (and certainly not a sin nature), and therefore you can solve humanity’s problems by fixing the culture. Just to be clear, I don’t deny the profound impact of the culture, as this is an area I focus on a great deal. But as Christians we err greatly if we ignore the true source of our fallen nature, pretending instead that it comes from the culture.
This may seem subtle, but there is a huge difference between pointing out the problem of the culture reinforcing the worst aspects of our nature, and claiming the culture is the source of the worst aspects of our nature. This is the problem with Walsh’s piece, and it isn’t found in just one segment, but throughout the piece. Closely related is his baffling obsession with making sure the young girl always knows she is beautiful. Whether this means strictly her physical appearance, knowing that she is inherently good, or is about her self esteem seems to be under debate here. My personal read is he is talking about all three, but obsessing about any of these isn’t remotely Christian, which I’m surprised isn’t more easily spotted. I pray this truly isn’t the “advanced class”, but either way we have a truckload of modern cultural baggage to unpack. We may as well start right here, right now.
Moderator’s Note: The same rules apply to this post as the last one. Keep the focus on general advice and protection of a Christian girl. Any references to Walsh’s children or anyone else’s children will be removed.