(Warning: Graphic images)
Quiverfull is largely centered on women and babies, with a heavy emphasis on babies. Men are largely breadwinners, provide half the genetic material, and the main discipliners. Men are expected to fulfill specific roles. Nurturing and hands on parenting for fathers is discouraged in Quiverfull, except for corporal punishment.
Quiverfull gender roles are largely derived from a theological belief called Patriarchy. It is also called complementarianism. Men are considered the head of the family, spiritual and physical. Their wives are to obey them in everything but sin, though sometimes even then (see Debbie Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet for examples). The justification comes from Ephesians 5:22-24 where St. Paul lays out wives being submissive to their husbands (while ignoring verse 21 which requires mutual submission) and Genesis 2:18 where God created a helper for Adam, the first man.
(I could go into a refutation of woman as inferior helper and slave but the are multiple places that reveal the truth. It is part and parcel of Patriarchy and comes.from Genesis 2.)
Since Patriarchy is an authoritarian belief system, the justification to abuse others using the Bible is rampant. Women are kept financially, physically, and emotionally dependent on their husbands. Husbands may beat, harass, threaten, rape, withhold money and support all in the name of being the head of the family. And say the God approves. I’ll get to children later in this post.
Men in Quiverfull are just as hurt by its beliefs and practices as women and children are. While there is nothing wrong with being the sole financial provider, men are usually expected to be the only provider. Many lack a decent education due to restrictive homeschooling with its emphasis on religious beliefs and practices and disdain for government educational standards.
Many receive the equivalent or near equivalent of a high school education. Many times the education is barely eighth grade level. Many are forbidden from going to college or can only go to an unaccredited Christian college.
A lack of education hinders many from getting a decent job or at least a job that would financially support a large family. Men may even have to work multiple jobs to support their families. This leaves men overworked and even overwhelmed. But the emotional health of men is not a concern.
Men also have to live up the false standards of Patriarchy. They are expected to be the spiritual and physical head of the family. Patriarchy says that men be authoritarian leaders who give orders and make demands that must be obeyed immediately and without question. Disobedience and other infractions are to be punished with corporal punishment, i.e. spanking. Disobedience is rarely or vaguely defined and almost an always arbitrary condemnation. It can be much worse if the parents follow the teachings of Michael Pearl and his book To Train Up A Child.
(I suggest the site http://whynottrainachild.com to refute his teachings and to learn about gentle Christian parenting)
Threatening a child. Threats may include things such as spanking, loss of friends, damnation to hell, being kicked out of the home, etc.
Michael Pearl advocates parents start spanking as young as three months. This baby was the victim of abuse but if the parents were followers of Pearl’s teaching then this could be a result.
A child that has been on the receiving end of corporal punishment, probably been hit with a thin stick. Again, fathers in Quiverfull are expected to spank their children for disobedience and any other reason they decide.
Mothers, too, can and will spank their children in Quiverfull. This particular picture gives the impression the mother is spanking in anger, something parents in Quiverfull allege they don’t do.
One potential object used to spank a child. Many children are spanked on bare buttocks with things like this spoon, hair brushes, paddles, and belts though this is not an exhaustive list.
Men in Quiverfull are not permitted to be hands on (except spanking) or nurturing. Their fatherhood is defined in activities they do outside the home (work), their “God given” gender role (spiritual and physical head of the family), and their “God given” ability to spank their children info submission. Men in Quiverfull are denied their whole being to fulfill man made gender roles.
Doing any of these is frowned upon or even forbidden.
Remember, babies and children are women’s work. Men are discouraged from being tender, gentle, and nurturing. It’s all about rigid gender roles rather than discovering how God made you to be and working in partnership with their spouses. If men do do these things, it’s not talked about or hidden.
Also, not all families in Quiverfull spank or spank to excess. There are higher incidents of abuse and definitely a greater emphasis on obedience and physical discipline and corporal punishment in Quiverfull. Rigid gender roles plus fringe religious beliefs plus lack of education plus limited finances plus other elements create an environment that encourages or at least greatly excuses abuse.
Men are just as hurt by Quiverfull as women and children are. Their victimization is covered up or not even acknowledged.