Made for a Woman
Nonprofit teaches Centex girls to be strong enough for a man
By Brandon Watson,
2:30PM, Wed. Jan. 15, 2014
It has never been a better time to be a woman in the state of Texas. There are just so many options, from being forced to remain in an irreversible coma to exploring the famed Lone Star highway system. And when it comes to career choices, the rules of yesteryear just don't apply.
Women can now choose to be a mother or get a degree before becoming a mother. Why, some enterprising sorts are even entering the business of motherhood.
At least that's the thought seemingly behind Harker Heights' Mother Teach Your Daughters, an "empowerment" program aimed at "empowering mothers and daughters from diverse socioeconomic, educational and religious backgrounds to positively impact their children through the educational programs provided with the intent to give encouragement for young girls to have diversified choices in their future."
What are those "diversified choices?" The groups latest program, titled "Empower Mothers and Daughters to be Strong Women For Tomorrow" provides a glimpse. The afternoon begins with Dr. Mark Lobaugh's presentation on "From Conception to Birth," a talk focusing on fetal care. Then, New Apostolic Church music minister Cristina Brown takes over with a lively discussion of "The Effects of Music in the Womb" should the aforementioned mothers or daughters want to stage an internal Electric Daisy Carnival. (Pro tip: Deadmaus prepares the child for a lifetime of mediocrity.) Perhaps they are saying that empowerment starts in the womb. Cue up "Eye of the Tiger."
Another seminar topic, advertised on President Anna D. Rinehart's skin care site, educates mothers on how they influence their progeny's esthetics. Does your daughter have facial telangiectasias? Perhaps that is because of that time you had a daquiritini at Sammy Hagar's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill. According to one of the self-described doctress' blog posts, "God gave each of us a personalized beauty plan that only belongs to her." The "personalized" beauty plan include avoiding all tattoos (even seemingly harmless dolphins), shunning piercings, and skipping all those "concoctions that will bring down their sense of judgment which further perpetuates the depths of our daughters not embracing their personal beauty." Rinehart does not elaborate on whether she is talking about Four Loko or Taylor Swift's "Wonderstruck" perfume.
To be fair, the group's website does devote a couple of blog posts on their site to financial literacy, but it is not clear whether the actual seminars offer more than lip service that women should be autonomous beings. Like many faith-based programs, biblical passages are quoted more frequently than verifiable statistics. And if an introductory video is to be believed, the choice of potential suitors or clothing means far more than college preparation or navigating the societally rigged game of girlhood.
The nod to "diversified choices" is only skin deep. One MTYD initiative, "No Gang Tattoo 4Me," says it encourages change from the inside out, but that "change" is from the outside in. Forget counseling, the road to redemption begins with the eradication of every last Marvin the Martian. More tellingly, the group has established an endowment at Central Texas College with a limited choice of majors – esthetics and nursing. Once boys are added to the equation, as in an Austin Community College fund, the language is switched to "an education of their choice."
They may truly believe they are empowering "strong women for tomorrow." And the intent seems at least a little more savory than the faith-based anti-abortion "pregnancy center" dotting the state. But when a woman's strength is confined to traditional gender roles and biology, the premise becomes decidedly weak.