The Other McCain has a post up about a woman (Julia Baugher) whose profession is giving life advice, even though her own life is an absolute train-wreck. The post titled Fame Whore Update: Relationship Expert Fails and Good-Bye, ‘Reasonable’ Man is worth reading for entertainment value alone. As one of McCain’s reader’s puts it, Baugher is:
The Comstock Load of feminist crazy!
One thing that struck me as I was reading his post is how often women who have failed miserably at finding a husband set themselves up as experts teaching other women how to find husbands. This isn’t just the case for witchcraft practicing feminists like Baugher, but for conservative Christian feminists as well. In the past I’ve written about never married Mandy Hale (age 39) and never married Wendy Griffith (age 54) teaching Christian women how to find a husband. The other day commenter JRob brought Lisa Anderson of Focus On The Family to my attention as well.
Like Hale and Griffith, Anderson (age 46*) has never married. From the stats I shared the other day this makes Anderson an extreme outlier even in our feminist era; only 8.6% of 45 year old White women in the U.S. have never married! But Anderson doesn’t allow her failure to do what nearly all women her age have done discourage her from giving other women advice on how to do what she has failed at. In 2015 Anderson published The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose. Focus On The Family also saw fit to make Anderson their Director of Young Adults and Host of The Boundless Show:
Lisa Anderson is director of young adults for Focus on the Family, the world’s leading Christian organization dedicated to helping families thrive. She manages Boundless, Focus’ ministry for young adults, with the goal of helping 20- and 30-somethings grow up, own their faith, date with purpose and prepare for marriage and family.
From what I have found, Anderson’s advice is not as bad as the advice of Wendy Griffith. Much of it is stock churchian platitudes like dating with intention and teaching a modern Christian adaptation of chivalry/courtly love. At times Anderson gets tantalizingly close to offering clear insight about how her own feminism led to her being 46 and single. When asked what she would say to her 28 year old self, Anderson replied (emphasis mine):
I’d say, “Dating takes effort for both men and women.” Dating was hardly on my radar in my 20s. I was too busy chasing a career and thinking I was too awesome to need a man. I didn’t make the effort to get to know men. I don’t remember ever saying I wanted to be married. I turned dates down because I found some miniscule flaw in the guys in question. And then I wondered why I was still single at 30. God puts people in our path for a reason. Many of them are probably good marriage candidates. But when we give all our attention elsewhere, we cheat ourselves out of a healthy pursuit of what is for most of us a God-given life goal. Marriage is a good thing, and biblical, intentional dating is a great way to get there. But it takes work. And that work should start earlier rather than later. Learn from my mistakes on that one, folks.
But when asked in the same article why men are “intimidated” by strong confident women like herself, Anderson answered that men who aren’t attracted to women like her need to stop being so insecure:
3. On The Boundless Show, in your writing, and in person, you come across as incredibly confident. What advice do you have for men who are intimidated by confident women?
There are really only two reasons I’m confident: My salvation is secure, and I know I’m loved. The good news is both of these assurances are available to everyone, so it levels the playing field. Any other reason I appear confident is just personality and other lesser stuff. Our negative reactions toward others are usually a reflection of our own insecurities, so men who are “intimidated” by confident women need to examine why that is so. Dating the helpless and needy Damsel in Distress is appealing for only so long; she may initially make you feel strong and important, but eventually you’ll just feel smothered and used. Become secure in who you are, and you’ll be attracted to (and will attract) women who are also healthy and secure. That said, a word for the ladies: Being confident doesn’t mean being a rude, brash, belittling femi-Nazi. Nor does it mean taking everything on yourself and acting like you rule the world. Show that you need men, that men have value, and you’ll prove yourself inviting and attractive.
Likewise, in dating with intention Anderson complains that married women tell her she isn’t trying hard enough to find a husband:
Another area that exhausts me is when people assume that if I’m not husband-hunting 24/7, I’m not “trying hard enough.” If I join a women’s Bible study, it’s “why don’t you find a co-ed study?” If I go on a trip with my girlfriends, it’s “don’t you all hang out together a little too much?” Constantly having my motives and efforts questioned makes me feel like I’m not valued for who I am and how I’m currently living my life. Yes, I’m certainly open to marriage, but I’m also maximizing my singleness right now, so let me live my life boldly and with purpose while trusting God for the rest!
The criticism about her hanging out too much with her girlfriends and not leaving room for a husband sounds like it is on target. In Single, But Not Alone Anderson explains that she is in a season of making a commitment to her girlfriend in the form of building their dream home (emphasis mine):
And now I’m in a new season. A season that’s calling me to even deeper commitment.
As of one month ago, another close friend, Julianna, and I decided to buy a house together. Actually, we’re building it together.
…This buy/build/move idea was Julianna’s idea first. I had to be convinced of it. But now I’m on board. First of all, it’s financially wise (we’re going to rent out our current homes as investments). But bigger than that, God’s been teaching me that maybe for this season in my life, there’s something silly about rattling around in a home that I alone have to finance, repair, insure, furnish and protect (hello expensive security system).
Strip out the “season of singleness” nonsense and this isn’t necessarily a bad plan. As she hints at in the beginning of the article retirement age isn’t that far off, and as she notes this will also allow her to care for her aging mother. Her father has passed away, so if as a 46 year old career woman she is recognizing reality and effectively ruling out marriage it makes perfect sense. We don’t use the word spinster any more, but if we did, Anderson and her committed-roommate would be textbook examples. The problem is that she is not recognizing reality, and (even worse) is positioning herself as an expert on how young people should go about finding marriage.
*Per this article she was 43 in July of 2015.