The Surrendered Wife, by Laura Doyle, has been out for a few years now, but has started making the blogs again recently – this isn’t a proper review, as I haven’t read it – but “know them by their works” as the proverb goes, and this book’s works are ugly.
For example: this review praises the book’s insights, even if the reviewer doesn’t agree with everything that’s said. But she does wonder if her husband “would enjoy if just once in a while I would keep my big mouth shut and turn to him adoringly and say, ‘Whatever you think.’” And she does suggest, “Our husbands want to know they have our respect, trust, and, as Laura Doyle suggests, every time we control, direct, or even worse, criticize them, they know they don’t.”
Ok, so respect means never criticising, does it? Trust means never suggesting an alternative?
The reviewer assures us that this is “not a book about submissiveness. It is not anti-feminism. It is a book that demonstrates the destructiveness of trying to control another human being, particularly your spouse.”
Really? Well, Australia’s version of Sixty Minutes gave us this documentary about people who live by this book’s principles. The transcript is disturbing as hell; these aren’t even close to the worst of it:
“I think obedience is a good quality to have in a wife. An obedient wife does have a quality of being submissive and yielding her rights to the needs of her family and the desires of her husband.” [Wait, I thought it wasn't about submissiveness!]
“It’s about honouring, it’s about trusting, it’s about respect.” [Er, respect for who?]
“He always has a final decision in this house about anything. He is the leader.” [Ah, right, that would be him then.]
That spells submissive to me; it spells control of another human being (or isn’t it a problem if it’s a woman, or maybe women aren’t human beings in this thesis). And it makes me wonder what if one of these wives wanted to unsurrender herself. But then I look at the picture in that review I mentioned at the beginning of this article – at the scared expression round the eyes of the gagged woman – and I know the unspoken answer.
As I said, I haven’t read the book. But unlike most books, this one has works I can know it by. And it’s ugly.
P.S. Many thanks are due to the folks at Feministing for finding this first.