An article and photo from a blogger arguing that Christian men "prefer debt free virgins with no tattoos" went viral this week, and received much pushback.
The piece, which was published Monday on the blog of Lori Alexander, who is known as "The Transformed Wife" asserted that "young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college" if they desire to be wives and mothers, and went to great lengths to explain why women should remain chaste.
"Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It's far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits," Alexander argued.
Alexander also approvingly quoted a woman who wrote her recently who said that "the husband will need to take teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possibly way that is wrong."
Alexander added that it is not right for a woman to bring financial debt into a marriage, urged them not to get tattoos, and said she will never understand women who prefer careers over babies.
When she posted the article on Facebook, she asked: "Do you know how much more attractive debt-free virgins (without tattoos) are to young men? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of young women anymore because of the high costs of college (debt) and sexual promiscuity even within those in the church."
As of Friday, the post received over 47,000 reactions, more than 55,000 comments, and nearly 44,000 shares, with many people expressing their anger at how judged they felt. Alexander is followed by approximately 79,000 people on Facebook. She has defended her perspective on her page a few times since publishing the blog Monday, citing various scriptures.
Her words elicited strong criticism, including from people who say they conform to the ideal of womanhood Alexander supports and says is most biblical.
Author Trillia Newbell tweeted Monday a photo of the Facebook post, stating her disagreement with it.
"I never want to make it a habit to pushback on ministries. Ever," Newbell commented.
"Yet this teaching will do such harm to women."
Writing in Boundless this week, Erica Wilkinson recounted how Alexander's post haunted her, noting that she read it with "mounting rage and disgust."
"You see, I am a debt-free virgin without tattoos. I'm also a Reformed Presbyterian Christian, deeply immersed in the Scriptures, well versed in the history of the church and the writings of the Puritans. My mother and I live together in a happy multi-generational home. I can cook for any number of people from one to 100. I help homeschool my younger brothers. I am the exact woman you hold up as an ideal. I am the person you say young women should strive to be," she said.
"But I'm still single."
Wilkinson went on to explain that Alexander instructs women how to be what men want in order to deserve the best spouse.
"As if there is a long line of Prince Charmings out there ready to gallop in if only these girls would be good enough for them," she said, exasperated.
"This isn't what the Bible teaches," Wilkinson continued. "This if/then religiosity leaves women feeling either guilty and worthless or — if they're like I was in my early 20s — indignant and angry at God."
She also took issue with what men supposedly prefer from her experience, and objected to the notion that the only way to please God is through Alexander's prescription.
"There's biblical evidence for women to work outside the home: Lydia was a seller of purple, and the Proverbs 31 woman was an entrepreneur (investing in real estate, making and selling linen). Deborah was a judge, for goodness' sake. The idea that the only way to be a godly woman is to be a homemaker is just patently false."
"My message to young women is not, as yours is, 'Live a disposable life. Make yourself small. Erase your heart until a man writes what he wants to see on it.'"
Some men weighed in too.
Jarrid Wilson, who pastors at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California, said Tuesday, linking to Alexander's blog: Stuff like this breaks my heart. As if a women who is not a virgin, has tattoos, and is in debt is worth less than a woman who isn't those things."
"C'mon, Christians! We're better than this."