TeenPact and Relationships

Everyone is told, no crushes are allowed to happen at TeenPact (because you can “allow” a crush to begin with).
Boys are told, to open doors for women, to let them go first in line, and to treat them like they’re delicate little flowers. Essentially, boys are taught to treat women like objects who are helpless and can’t take care of themselves. Girls are told to accept these gestures, always, even if they’re unwanted. Never turn them down.
Some of this is Tim Echols forcing southern manners down everyone’s throat, and some of it is perpetuating the idea that women are “the weaker vessel”. It’s hard, as a courteous person, because, having boobs means I can’t practice common courtesy on a human level. I’m not allowed to open a door, trade my place, give up my seat for someone who’s a boy because then it is interpreted as a slap in the face to them and their efforts at (forced) chivalry. This tells women to expect “special” treatment because they’e seen was weaker, and teaches men that women are weaker and need help to do basic things.
We’re supposed to let the men take command in setting things up, in making decisions, and whatever even if we disagree or have a better one. We can’t just assert ourselves and say no like normal people, because we need to learn submission.
In what I like to call the 2007 Speech From Hell, Tim Echols started by going on a raging tirade about “effeminate men” and I’m pretty sure he worked in how homosexuals were evil too. He said that it was an abomination to god and he was really angry with any man he saw who didn’t act manly enough for his liking. He listed specific examples (that I thought were ridiculous) but I can’t remember what they were now.
Then, he turned his attention to women, he singled us out and spent far too long on another tirade.
He talked about how we need to grow up and get married (fast! young!) so we can start breeding an army, because that is what we women are supposed to do. Our job in life, our job to further the cause, is to create more people and train THEM to make the changes that (hopefully) our husbands will have started to make. If we did that, god would be happy, we would be fulfilling our roles as women – because that’s just how it is. Women are not supposed to actually lead, women’s place is in the home, behind a man, who is supposed to be bringing the nation back to it’s christ-centered roots (don’t get me started).
Well before that point I had sworn off marriage, because a life of doing nothing but being pregnant and teaching children with the HOPE that they would be passionate about the thing I was and want to do the same thing just sounded horrible and unlikely. When he singled out all the women in the audience I felt embarrassed, ashamed, sad, horrified, and broken.
Because I had been told by my parents that what Mr. Echols was conveying was indeed my purpose, but I didn’t want that. I never had. It sounded like hell to me, though I would never have used those terms. It sounded just….the thought of it crushed my soul, and I was hoping TeenPact would be the place I didn’t have to fit that mold, but I was so wrong. I knew that once I got married I would have to go into that box – so I swore it off, and in case that didn’t work, I resolved to do all the things I wanted to do before I got married. Remembering that speech still devastates me and kills that thing that it killed before over and over again. I think maybe it was hope.
I felt completely broken, like a failure, because while every other girl was sitting there, raptured, already sold on the idea of getting married and having kids and getting permission to get married young, I was devastated, because that was just not the life I wanted – not the life I felt I was supposed to live.
I was supposed to do what they wanted me to do, without question, because a guy said it, I was never supposed to think.
And yet, thinking is what saved me from that fate, so, Thank you, TeenPact, for introducing me to my thinker-husband, my thinker-friends, and our sense of knowing we can indeed change the world, and reverse the lies and beliefs you perpetuated that only serve to enable the abusive environments we escaped from. Because of you, maybe we can make that change.


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  1. Tim is playing a numbers game. He has said so quite explicitly, as you point out. He believes that if liberals have small families (because they eat birth control for breakfast and have abortions over lunch) and conservatives have big families (because patriarchy is holy horniness), then one day conservatives will outnumber and out-vote the liberals. But politics aren’t genetic. He doesn’t count on folks like you and me who can decide on our own that conservatism isn’t for us any more. Especially if conservatism continues to look like Bushes and Palins and Hannitys and Dobsons! Or TeenPact…

  2. I am a former Christian and I just found out about you and your story while looking up things about Christian culture. I gotta say your story is inspiring. Did you actually write a blog at 15 years old claiming ronald reagan to be your hero? Lol. Its amazing youve come from that to this.
    Now my expirience with home schoolers has been different. I have been in a couple of bible.. bible study groups with adults who were homeschooled. While I didnt pick up on any past abuse ( most oc them dearly loved their parents with a real love you could tell was genuine ) , I noticed some other things. Homeschoolers by and large are very stuck up. I mean…..they are shy and nice at first because they are generally scared of interaction til you get to know them. But once that wall of shyness comes down, there is alot of arrogance under there lol.
    They are sooo conservative that at times i wondered if these were even real people. And they think they are better than…well….most everyone. Blacks, people on welfare, you name it. Did you expierence this attitude from your peers growing up?

  3. I grew up with these manners too, as a fundamentalist Christian, and I kept them for a long time after I left church. I thought I was being nice. I didn’t realise then how I was hurting both men and women by keeping up these sexist ideas, and I wish I’d read your blog then to explain it to me.
    I never had any involvement with TeenPact, but I went to plenty of Christian camps where we promised to keep ourselves “pure”. I’m glad I didn’t stick to that promise.

  4. I am just discovering blogs written by people who have left fundamentalist thinking, and I want to thank you so much for your blog. I am just finally starting to confront some of the emotional baggage I have from growing up in fundamentalist culture. I’m finding it so hard, and I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to write. Much love to you.

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