For further reading here are some excerpts from Mrs. Andelin's web site:
Brief History: The Fascinating Womanhood classes began in a church. In the early 1960s, before Helen Andelin ever thought of writing a book, she began teaching marriage classes to the women of her community. She taught what she knew, simple truths supported by Bible principles. Because the classes were open to the community, women of all religions attended. Results were earth shaking!! Love in marriage was renewed and many rescued from the brink of divorce. Most women had never been taught these things before -- but it all rang a bell of truth. The classes grew to large numbers. Eventually many other women began teaching the classes in churches, adult education and outreach programs such as the YWCA. Study groups were also conducted in homes. The classes were taught across America and in some foreign countries.
What is Taught: The teachings of Fascinating Womanhood center around The Ideal Woman, From a Man's Point of View. The Ideal Woman has an angelic side and a human side. Both are important. Most of what is taught has to do with understanding men -- their needs, feelings and masculine nature. Students learn how to make a man feel like a man and how to avoid wounding his sensitive masculine pride. They are given a broad view of femininity and how it contrasts to masculinity. They learn four ways to be feminine -- in appearance, manner, nature and in living their feminine role. They learn to make their career a career in the home as a domestic goddess, learning the feminine arts and skills and how to make a house a home -- a haven of rest for their family. And last, they learn how to deal with a man when he is thoughtless or unkind, how to stand up to him in a charming way. The teachings of Fascinating Womanhood do not imply that women alone are at fault in marriage. Nevertheless, women are in a key position to make remarkable improvements in marriage. When a woman takes the initiative to improve as a wife, she awakens a loving response in her husband, which encourages him to make improvements also.
Permission to Teach: The Fascinating Womanhood program grants permission to churches, educational institutions and outreach programs to teach classes. We also grant permission to women to conduct study groups in their homes. Lesson material is available and listed under The Bookshelf.
If you are a feminist, will the teachings of Fascinating Womanhood interest you? It depends on what you want out of life. If you want to be liberated from the chores of the household so you can pursue any path you choose, one for which you may have great talent, this may not be for you. Or if you feel marriage is a 50/50 proposition in which you must claim your rights even if you must demand them, then this message is definitely not for you.
On the other hand if you want a perfectly happy marriage - the foundation of a perfectly happy home, if you want your husband to love and cherish you with a tender affection that becomes more intense as you grow older, and if you want him to appreciate you every day of your life, then Fascinating Womanhood will show you the way.
What is the Fascinating Womanhood Way, and how does it differ from the Feminist Way? Here is a quick review of the basic differences: Feminism centers round claiming rights, whereas FW centers around filling responsibilities, especially those in the home. The feminists want to assure equality of the sexes, whereas FW women want to preserve the differences between the sexes. Feminism teaches women to focus on their needs. FW teaches women to focus on their husband's needs and their family's needs. Feminism promises women a life of freedom and equality. FW promises women a life of love and happiness. Feminism is a self-centered philosophy, whereas FW is an unselfish, giving philosophy. Feminism ignores basic religious principles, such as those taught in the Bible. FW is based on religious principles, supported by the Bible.
It is easy to see why some women become involved with the views of feminism. The words rights, freedom and equality sound so fair and square. They are especially attracted to feminism if these ideas are planted in their minds by their mothers, who hate housework, hate men and urge their daughters to liberate themselves from the chores of the household by seeking careers outside the home. Once out in the world of men they are urged to claim their rights in all areas -- equal pay, equal opportunity, equal benefits etc. Naturally, young women exposed to this background are easy targets for feminism. They relate to their ideas and the influences of other young people. If there is no light to guide them in a better direction, they listen to the loud voices of the feminists and think it must be the only way to go.
Now and then an honest, open-minded feminist finds her way into the world of Fascinating Womanhood. With courage and persistence she applies the teachings and becomes transformed. With her eyes wide open she compares the two contrasting teachings, with a message of great value to others. Here is a letter from such a young woman.
Dear Mrs. Andelin,
"You have been like a mother to me even though you don't know it. My parent's marriage was a disaster. It is true that my father had many faults but my mother's reaction to his faults went against everything you teach, and I mean everything! Consciously or unconsciously she trained me the same way. My mother never taught me the importance of being a 'domestic goddess' or how to understand men. In fact she taught me to be selfish and demanding and refused to teach me to cook or clean! She said I should demand a maid from my husband because she didn't want me to become the 'slave' she had become, as she put it. I never did laundry until I went to college.
"I went to a woman's college where feminism ran rampant. In fact, it went overboard. I can understand wanting equal pay for equal work but I was surrounded by man haters. For awhile I bought in on it then I was struck by the stupidity of it all. They were trying to show how awful men are by taking all the negative traits of masculinity and expressing them themselves. It became very transparent to me. The men I knew were even more confused than the women. They wanted to be manly but were afraid to because the only way they could win a woman of my generation (I'm 26) was to be a "sensitive new age guy." Mrs. Andelin, we have a generation of women trying to be men and men trying to be women. It's absolutely insane!
"I used to be very masculine. I wore work boots, jeans, T-shirts and had boyish hair. Because I am a science teacher my job can be messy, so I still dress much the same way but I wear more feminine shoes and my hair is long. I also wear earrings and makeup to look more like a girl. I used to swear all the time, now I rarely do. I changed my mannerisms and my tone of voice. I have tried to quit smoking but have been unsuccessful in that endeavor. I used to stand there like a guy with a cigarette hanging from my mouth while I did something else like type or throw darts. What an ugly image. People who haven't seen me in years often comment on how much I have changed. FW helped me realize what I should be doing. Actually, when I read your book I felt more like I was "remembering" my long lost role. It all made perfect sense. When I'm not sure how to handle a situation I ask myself, "What would Mrs. Andelin do?"
"I love to sing karaoke and I go to the AmVets every week end to do it. Many of the men there are WWII and Korea veterans. They often compliment me and tell me what a lady I am. They say I am what a lady should be, and that so few women are anymore. My girlfriends never hear this, even though many are better looking than me. These older men have seen many of the changes in the male/female relationship over the years. They say when they see me I'm a breath of fresh air, and I remind them of their youth. Many of the men at my school are so confused because of the mixed signals they receive from women. Even though I am single I am much happier than I was before reading Fascinating Womanhood. I feel more at ease with myself and have much more confidence. The information I have gained from FW makes me confident that I will have a strong marriage when that day finally comes."
Before leaving this subject let's turn to the first paragraph, the part about the mother feeling like a slave, and teaching her daughter to demand a maid. Do you want to know what is wrong with this mother and why she hated her domestic work? Several things are wrong with her. In the first place she hated her work because she didn't consider it important enough. Second, she didn't put enough into it to enjoy it. And third, she considered herself too good to do such a lowly job. It was quite all right to let another woman clean her house but she was too good for the job. This is quite a different attitude from the Savior of mankind who bowed before his twelve apostles - humble fishermen, and with a pan of water washed their dusty feet and dried them with his towel. By this act he impressed on us all, in a dramatic way, the requirement that we remain humble.
From Grateful Readers:
"My mom sent me Fascinating Womanhood several months ago. At the time my marriage of 22 years was seriously floundering, our teen-age children were rebelling and our finances were in deep debt. Since reading the book I quickly saw my large part in causing many of our problems. Now, though our circumstances remain very difficult, our marriage is growing stronger and stronger day by day and we are in love again. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing that book. I have bought seven copies and given them to friends."
"I read FW before I ever married and it so helped me understand and have a much better relationship with my dad and brother. I have a heavenly marriage now and I believe it has a lot to do with knowing how to understand men. I praise our great creator for your book. Thank you! I have given some to friends and everyone who read the book is helped so much and inspired. If only everyone knew!
On this web site we teach the importance of living our God-given roles - the woman devoting her time and energy to being a caring wife, mother and homemaker and the man to being a devoted guide, protector and provider
First, I claim openly and consistently that the principles of Fascinating Womanhood are based on Christian principles, or sound moral principles which do not change and which will exist forever.
Motherhood is a most sacred trust. Try in every way you can to give your little ones the best childhood possible. Learn special skills in dealing with your teenagers. Don't turn a deft ear to them. Listen to them and try to understand their needs. Don't be impatient and arbitrary. Making friends with your teenagers is the most important friendship you will ever make.
Many of you mothers are working. Try to quit if possible. Come home from your typewriters and filing cabinets and spend your time and talents where they really count. You are building the future citizens of the world. Many of them could be important leaders of great influence. But even if they're not, give them a solid home life that will lead to peace and happiness as adults.
Some of you feel you must work outside the home. In some cases this may be true but remember, your calling as a mother is a "God given calling." This makes you entitled to His assistance. Through the application of faith, doors will open in a surprising way, making it possible for you to come home and attend to your family. In some cases, women work for extra money so they can afford the comforts, pleasures and luxuries of life. Although there is nothing wrong with nice things, they are not worth a risk to your family's welfare. The material things of this world quickly fade away but a child, well raised, will affect eternity in a positive way. To end my message I would like to quote from a letter I received today:
From A Grateful Reader:
"I wholeheartedly agree with what Calvin Coolidge is quoted as saying in your book -- 'Look well to the hearthstone. Therein lies all hope for America.' What a better country our children would inherit if less were stuck in day care centers as they are growing up and more had the strong foundation of a solid family. I am so thankful God has given me a wonderful husband to respect, admire and 'do for,' and a son who will grow up with a blessed childhood. Thank you for all your words of encouragement to women to keep the home fires ever burning."
The Appeal of Femininity
This month I received a letter from a man who expressed the following views on femininity:
"I am a 48 year old male, a journalist and former college professor. . . I have recently taken an interest in issues of femininity and feminism coinciding with my recent marriage to a young Filipino woman. I felt I had to go to the Philippines to find a real woman.
"I feel that Western women have lost the art of femininity. . . have become infected by feminism and are quite confused. They are becoming like men, are selfish and have forgotten how to love. Your message deserves a wide audience . . . Thanks for taking this essential leadership role."
And from another man, also received this month:
"Several years ago I fell in love with an extremely feminine woman and wondered how it was she could be so irresistibly attractive to me and have such a powerful effect on me. Then one day I found F.W. in my mother's closet and being a voracious reader and very curious began to read it. It was a shocking experience because it appeared you had studied this woman and simply described her characteristics. She was not an American. She was a Spaniard.
"I now know the reasons behind the attraction and power. But I also know that her culture is vastly more feminine than our own American culture. There seems to be almost a dislike among American women for femininity, whereas the Spanish women enjoy it immensely. She did not study your book. Those qualities were in her as a result of her culture and her upbringing. Americans, it seems, are not so fortunate to have these advantages.
"I have spoken to many women who have read your book and they just don't seem to get it. I have longed to bring this woman, or any Spaniard for that matter, to America to show my female friends what a feminine woman does. This, of course would not work. They would resent the effort.
"Above all else I desire a feminine woman. I grew up on novels which presented the image of a feminine woman but until I met this woman I had no idea what effect true femininity would have on a man. Good luck in your efforts!"
The tragedies which have occurred in the U.S. in recent weeks, with children killing other children, have brought world wide attention to the subject of parenting. Probing questions stir in our minds: What could have prompted these shocking atrocities? To what extent are parents accountable for the sins of their children? Where was the mother during the child's formative years? What can parents do to make certain it does not happen to their children?
Something which has been overlooked until recently is the child's need to be talked to. To verify this I quote from an article in U.S. News and World Report, by the editor-in-chief, Mortimer Zuckerman: (Sent in by Jill Farmer.)
"Every day a newborn baby's brain is developing with phenomenal speed. Billions of nerve cells -- neurons -- are growing and specializing. By age 2 the number of synapses, or connections among the neurons, approaches adult levels, and by age 3 a child's brain has 1 quadrillion such connections. The synapses are the basic tools for processing within the brain. After this early spurt of rapid growth they are then selectively pruned, enabling the brain to form physical "maps" that allow communication and learning to take place. According to recent findings, the neuron links that are the keys to creativity and intelligence in later life are mainly laid down by the age of 3.
"Is inherited ability the main factor in establishing these connections? Apparently not. Interactions with an attentive adult - in most cases the mother - matter most. The sight, sound, touch, smell and especially the intense involvement through language and eye contact of the parent and child affect the number and sophistication of links within the brain. . . In their book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children, professors Todd Risley and Betty Hart say that the number of words an infant hears each day may be the single most important predictor of later intelligence and economic and social success. . . This word play is so important that those left behind at age 2 may never catch up.
"These findings come when many subscribe to the notion that there is no harm in a mother's leaving her baby in someone else's care and returning to work. More than half of all mothers are back to work before their baby is 1. The working mother is a fundamental feature of this era. But what will parents do when they learn that absence in the first three years may have a significant effect on their baby's future. Most working parents know in their hearts that "quality time" is no substitute for quantity time - the time a child requires for emotional and it now seems, intellectual development."
Makes us think, doesn't it? All the cooing and baby talk mothers carry on with their infants is far more important than most of them realize, as is telling them stories, reading to them and just talking to them. The father, other adults and other children add to the input. This is one of the advantages of a large, closely knit family. Don't think you can depend on nannies, day care centers or baby sitters to fill this need. Not even a grandmother. No one can take the place of the mother in such a vital, daily requirement.
Talking to your children is filling just one of your child's needs. Consider other vital needs - his need for love, affection, daily care and understanding. To prepare him for a safe life ahead you must teach him obedience, respect for higher authority and a code for living that is solid and unchanging. You must mold his character, help him acquire self-esteem and teach him how to work and take responsibility. When you consider all of these requirements of being a good mother and preparing your child for a safe, productive life ahead, you can see that your career is cut out for you. Your place is in the home. You have one of the most important responsibilities in existence. No place in science, industry, education or the government can compare to the role of the mother in importance, in making the world a better place.
In a former issue of this Internet a question was asked which I directed to Ginny Leavitt for the answer. Ginny is my daughter and the mother of 12 marvelous children. She is a shining example of devoted motherhood and well qualified to give advice on this subject. Here is another questions directed to Ginny:
Dear Ginny Leavitt,
Most of the girls in my daughter's 7th grade class here in Southern California, even the girls at our church, wear nothing but denim - denim shorts, overalls, blue jeans etc. My daughter has refused to wear a dress now for over a year, saying she will be ridiculed if she does. How can I encourage her to dress in a feminine fashion?
You are certainly not alone! Most girls in our society dress unfeminine, wearing the same type of jeans, T-shirts and athletic shoes as the boys their age. For parents with traditional values it is frustrating to see the blending of male and female identity reflected by the clothes their children wear.
The best way to encourage your daughter to dress in a more feminine fashion is to be an example yourself. Peer influence is tremendous but you are her role model in the long-term sense. Maintain a respectful and loving relationship with her and your influence will increase. Be respectful of her choices; pressure can cause resentment and rebellion.
Encourage her to be feminine in her actions and emotions by way of books, entertainment, hobbies and skills that encourage domestic, girlish feelings. As she develops interest in activities that promote feminine qualities she is likely to dress like a girl.
I frequently receive questions regarding my religion, such as the following:
Dear Mrs. Andelin,
Thank you so much for your books. My family has benefited greatly from them. I want to start classes in my church . . . but questions have arisen as to your religion. Could you please tell me of what religion and/or denomination you are? It doesn't matter to me personally because I think that what's in your books is what counts and that it's all true. I would really appreciate the information. Thank you.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly called the Mormon Church. Fascinating Womanhood, however, has no connection with my church. I wrote my book to woman of all faiths.
I also frequently receive questions regarding men being addicted to pornography. Following is a question from a married women and one from a single women. Note how my comments differ in each case:
From a Married Woman:
I am following your wonderful book, but what shall I do in response to my husband's addiction to Internet pornography? Should I respond by just accepting it as a fault, or like it is a kind of adultery? Accepting it would be very difficult. I feel so betrayed and ugly. I'm so upset I don't know what to do.
Although viewing pornography is a serious sin, it is not in the same category as adultery. I suggest you accept it as a serious human frailty, but help him overcome it in the following ways:
1) Live Fascinating Womanhood devotedly. Do all you can to look and act feminine. If you are attractive to him, he will be less tempted to view another woman's body. Be sure to live your feminine role in the home, a vital part of being feminine. Also, be mindful of his masculine needs and do all you can to fill these needs. In addition, make an effort to improve your character. Work on kindness and charity, unselfishness and love. If you can make such improvements in yourself, he will be more prompted to clean up his life.
2) Bring the Spirit of God into you home: Play sacred music. Remember in the Bible when King Saul was bothered by an evil spirit, David played his harp and the evil spirit disappeared. Also, have a daily time to read the scriptures together, to pray together and discuss sacred goals.
3) When you lead him to the point where he wants to give up pornography, suggest he cancel your Internet service. Whatever you lose by doing so will be worth it.
Dear Mrs. Andelin,
I am reading Fascinating Womanhood and trying to apply the principles but feel I would be better to have more guidance. I am 6 years married and where you might think we have and ok marriage, it is not a godly marriage, full of the love I dream of. I have tried appreciation and admiration but he seems leery and not accepting of it??? I am still trying. Any words of wisdom.
Your trouble is that you are just "dipping your foot in the water to test the temperature." I advise you to first read the book all the way through to get a broad view and a conviction of the subject. Then, don't just try it. Live it wholeheartedly. Accept it as a new way of living, one you are determined to live regardless of what it will do for you in return. If you live it consistently over a period of time, you husband will get over being "leery."