• Thu, Mar 11 2010

'Fascinating Womanhood': How to Be a Good Sister-Wife

Ever wondered how fundamentalist Mormon polygamists get those rockin’ hairstyles? Or how they compete against seven other sister-wives for their husband’s attention? It turns out there’s a manual: Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin is a popular choice for young women in FLDS communities. Carolyn Jessop mentioned the book and some of its tips in her book Escape, and we at The Gloss knew we had to get our hands on a copy. Here are some tips that will help you be the perfect subservient wife:

  • “If he is talking about politics, religion, or world events, don’t follow the conversation so closely that you fail to appreciate the man talking. … If you cannot comprehend all of what he is saying, do not let this lull you to sleep. Look for traits of character which you can admire.”
  • “The most important way to enhance your femininity is in the home, serving the wife, mother, and homemaker. Here you have a field in which to grow as a woman. As you love and care for your children, cheerfully devote yourself to the ordinary chores of the household, and serve as the understanding wife, you acquire gentle, feminine traits. … Your devotion to household, family, and charity enhances feminine charm, whereas employment outside the home does little or nothing for it.”
  • “The Domestic Goddess adds feminine touches to her homemaking – gingham curtains, a bowl of fruit, soft pillows, a soft rug at the door, a row of plates above a crossbeam, cheerful wallpaper – to give a homey feeling to the house. … The Domestic Goddess honors her position in the home. She looks upon her career in the home as the most important career in the world. Creating a happy marriage and family life and raising honorable children are the greatest contributions she can make to the well-being of society.”
  • “Avoid all processed or refined foods such as white flour, white sugar, white rice, or foods that contain them such as macaroni, crackers, cold cereal, cookies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, pizza, spaghetti, candy, gum, or ice cream. Beware of foods which come in boxes, bottles, cans, or packages. Avoid canned or frozen food. Avoid cold cuts of meat, ham, sausage, or wieners.”
  • “You don’t have the right to be angry when your husband has failed in his world of responsibility, when he has made a stupid mistake in his work or lost his job, or neglected to cut the lawn, balance the budget, or wash the car. He has a right to be himself, even if it means to be weak and lazy, to neglect his duty, or even to fail. This is his department.”
  • “When buying a house, don’t consider your children’s comforts and whims ahead of your husband’s needs and requests. Don’t press him to buy a house beyond his means, feeling it best for the children, or ignore a feature in the house that pleases him, while yielding to the whims of your children. He may have always wanted a view, a deck, a pool, or a private study. Although he may forego these preferences to honor his wife’s choice, he is not inclined to place his children’s wishes ahead of his own.”
  • “If you have talent as an artist, writer, designer, actress, singer, scientist, or in the technical fields, should you pursue a career? Think twice before you take this step. Your foremost duty is to your marriage and family. Here you must succeed. A career may sidetrack you from your family. Not only will a career demand your time, but your interest and sometimes your soul. If your husband and your family must be second place, you are making an unwise choice. The price you pay is too high.”

I cannot believe I read (by which I mean “flipped through while looking for particularly odious passages”) more than three hundred pages of this dreck and I still don’t know how to do the rockin’ prairie sister-wife ‘do. I feel really ripped off.  Helen Andelin, call me! Do you use Aqua Net? I really need to know.

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  • Sharonica

    How can it be so right about carbs and so wrong about everything else?

  • Ayla Serenemoon

    Wow. I don’t even know where to start. First off, the woman who wrote FW is NOT FLDS. They may like her book in the FLDS community but she was not writing to them. Second, do a little research, she passed away last year and she did not style her hair in the manner of the FLDS. Thirdly, how can you even begin to suggest that this book is about sister-wives when the author is clearing writing for Christian, married couples?

    In my opinion actually reading the book before you post a review of it would be fair, instead of just flipping through it – that’s really unfair and unethical journalism.

    • LeilaM12

      You apparently didn’t read THIS article: The author of the article never claims that is what written by an FLDS woman, only that it is popular WITH FLDS women. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for Christian married couples. It’s patriarchal disgusting internalized misogyny bullshit.