On Becoming A Woman, Chapter 3

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This book. THIS FUCKING BOOK. Gah. I’m sorry everyone. I am SORRY that you had to read this. Even for 1968 this was bad.

Chapter 3 is titled Evidences of Womanhood

Throughout childhood a girls’ physique is about the same as a boy’s…but in her early teens–sometimes at about 11 years of age, sometimes 2 or 3 years later, a girl begins to blossom into a woman.

I know it’s considered “normal” to start developing at age 11, but I still think this isn’t, this shouldn’t be normal. What 11 year old girl is ready to bare children for Satan’s sake?

This period is one of rapid growth, where a woman gets taller (theoretically), her chest fills out, she she becomes round and soft instead of angular like a man. In other words, her body betrays her and all starts of horrible things start happening.

Of course, even if they don’t do anything, the reproductive organs are still present in childhood.

A teenager is clumsy and awkward because he or she has grown so rapidly that their brains can’t keep up. The teen isn’t expecting his or her arms to be so long, so they swing about awkwardly. Eventually, the teenager gets used to their adult body.

Shryock goes on to talk about pimples, and how they’re not really the result of too much candy. He does not inform us, unfortunately, that birth control is an excellent way to deal with pimples. Birth control was around by the late 1960s, so he has no excuse for this.

The changes that occur in a girl’s body at the time of her transition from girlhood to womanhood are brought out and controlled by her ovaries.

Eh, what? I thought it was the pituitary gland.

You mean, my ovaries decided when I was going to grow breasts and bleed? Then why didn’t anyone remove them?!

The Ovaries have 2 functions to perform. The first is to produce chemical substances which circulate throughout the body and bring on the many changes…they also stimulate the further development of the other reproductive organs such as the breasts and the uterus.

Quick, someone, remove my ovaries STAT. Preferably 20 years ago.

It may be asked, what is it that causes the ovaries to begin their production of these mysterious chemical substances at just the right time–about 11-14 years of age?

11-14 is not the right time. I get that it’s considered normal now, but 11-14 is not the time to be getting pregnant, so, why so early?

It may be said that the pituitary gland has a controlling influence over the ovaries.

Oh, so it does play a role. It stimulates the ovaries. “Welp, this child is 11 years old, time for her to grow useless lumps of chest flesh and start making babies. Yessirree, it’s definitely that time! The Creator designed us this way!”

Sickening.

 

Really, I haven’t answered the question completely, because it might next be asked, “what is it that causes the pituitary gland to signal the ovaries?” This latter question cannot be answered except to say that the power of the Creator, as manifested through nature’s laws, is responsible for causing such things to occur at just the right time.

In other words, we start developing when we do because Goddidit.

And people wonder why I was angry at God for years. This wasn’t the only reason but it was one of the reasons. At age 11, I clearly was not ready to start having children, so why did I have to grow breasts and start bleeding? Shoot, if someone got pregnant at age 11 I’d be all for them having an abortion, because I seriously doubt it’s safe for an 11 year old to have a child.

It makes no sense for us to have evolved the ability to start menstruating at earlier ages, and I can only guess that this is because natural selection no longer plays a part in who lives or dies. If an 11 year old gets pregnant today, she is far more likely to survive than she was 400 years ago. To be clear, I think this is a good thing.

Shryock could just admit to us that medical science doesn’t (yet) have an answer to the question, “what tells the pituitary gland to start pituitarying?” In science, “I don’t know is considered an acceptable answer. It is not an acceptable answer in Creation Science. If a cause is unknown, Goddidit.

The second function of the ovaries is to reproduce female germ cells called ova.

Ovaries, basically, make eggs, only he doesn’t call them eggs, he calls them “ova.” Because reasons?

But a baby must have both a mother and a father.

Yes. This is a biological fact. Biologically speaking there must be a male and a female. Ok, I can agree with that.

The Creator has therefore arranged it so that the life of a baby begins only when the female germ cell, an ovum, produced by one of the mother’s ovaries, is joined, that is, impregnated, by a male germ cell, a spermatozoon.

A what? Wow, I guess that’s what they used to call Sperm? God it sounds like a disease. “I have Spermatozoon.”

When such a union between an ovum and a spermatozoon occurs, a new life is started within the mother’s body and she is said to be pregnant.

Conception does not equal pregnancy. Conception plus implantation in the uterus is what makes a person pregnant.

But I like even less what he’s really saying here. Shryock doesn’t spell it out, but is’ clear he believes that The creator designed reproduction this way because he didn’t want children to have two mommies. That would just be horrible! This is a dig at gay parents. God clearly didn’t want that or he’d have made 2 mommies able to reproduce.

Shyrock goes on to tell us that the ovaries usually take turns producing eggs, unless one of them is removed, in which case, the other ovary does double duty. Damn. There went my strategy for only having a period once every 2 months!

When we say that womanhood begins in the early teens we mean that from this time on it is possible for a girl to become a mother.

If she doesn’t die in childbirth, which, at age 11, is more likely to happen if she carries the pregnancy to term.

Next he talks about the uterus. It’s hollow, shaped like a pear, and it automatically starts contracting whenever you try to put something in it. Shryock doesn’t say that last part, I added it.

He goes on to talk about how uteri are for cooking babies, and that babies take nourishment from the uterine wall.

So it is that the Creator has provided that at the proper time the lining of the uterus becomes loaded with those nourishing substances necessary for the growth of a new baby.

I hope you weren’t wondering what these “nourishing substances” are, because he doesn’t tell us. I could have broccoli in my uterus for all I know!

Inasmuch as a baby must have both a mother and a father, the only proper time for a union to occur between a female germ cell and a male germ cell is after marriage.

Wait, what? I’m confused. A male and female germ cell only combine when one gets married? That’s it? Only once in your life, since Adventists believe you’re only supposed to get married once?

So, basically, you get married, and then a “male germ cell” is somehow inserted into the vagina to make a baby. That’s your definition of sex ed? Oh god, I am about to start crying. The poor people that had to read this instead of The Care and Keeping of You. I feel so terribly bad for you right now.

Having a biological male and a biological female (we are talking sex here rather than gender identity) is a necessity. That’s a scientific fact. Waiting till marriage, however, is not. I wish that Shryock had not mixed scientific fact in the same paragraph with christian dogma. He should have told us about sex, and then said, “the proper time for sex is after marriage.” I would still disagree and criticize it heavily, but at least that would make sense and be accurate.

Kids, if you have sex before marriage, that sperm could still join with that egg and there could be a baby. It’s not like the sperm and egg will pass each other by if they find out the mother is having sex outside of marriage.

Marriage is not a scientific requirement for reproduction.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t have any kittens in our lives, and that would be sad.

The thickened lining of the uterus is not needed until a pregnancy develops.  The lining therefore becomes detached from the wall of the uterus, breaks up into small pieces, and is eliminated over a period of about 4 days through the vagina. Naturally, these fragments of the lining membrane contain considerable blood.

These nutritious substances are blood? What, is my baby a vampire? Why is my unborn child eating blood? How is that nutritious?!

Menstruation is somewhat painful Feels like someone is stabbing you in the uterus with a sharp knife over and over again until you die-a little more so in the teenage girl than in the older woman. Sometimes it gets better as you age, but don’t count on it. This discomfort is the result of two things…

Somewhat painful? Discomfort? Nope. I’m going to go back and fix that paragraph. There. That’s more accurate.

During menstruation a woman must wear some type of sanitary napkin to keep herself tidy and avoid the embarrassment of being offensive.

Tampons were a thing when my grandma was in Academy– in 1954. This book was written in 1968, and Shryock is a physician. He should not only know that tampons exist, but that there’s nothing wrong with using them. Also, by 1950, the first menstrual cup was totally a thing.

Also, how is a menstruating woman who’s protection failed offensive? I can see embarrassing, but offensive? Maybe if someone was running around refusing to use anything and just bleeding all over the place (so me at age 11 before I discovered the tampon*) that would be offensive. Otherwise, if my cup leaks, I’m not seeing how that’s offensive.

During the 3 or 4 days of menstruation a young woman… may not posses her usual optimism and becomes somewhat downcast and perhaps sensitive and irritable….this situation is a normal part of these monthly events int he life of every healthy woman. There need therefore be no alarm over any of these conditions.

Women are just going to become sensitive and irritable around this time, no need to do anything about it. Dick. I’m soooo glad we now have medication that can regulate our moods during that time, or even eliminate that time altogether.

This next paragraph is just faulty science.

A young woman should avoid strenuous activities such as horseback riding and tennis during the period of her menstruation. She should also abstain from swimming.

If one is wearing a pad, I suppose I could see why you wouldn’t want to go swimming. Like I said though, tampons were a thing in the 1960s along with menstrual cups. But even if I concede that Shryock may be somewhat right about swimming, what’s wrong with horseback riding and tennis?

Shryock goes on to tell us that the menstrual cycle can be disrupted by stress or disease, and that in most women it ends by 45 or so.

As you come to understand the various functions of your body, you will be increasingly impressed with the Creator’s kindness to his human children in making provisions for their comfort, happiness, and welfare.

Yes, every time I had period cramps as a Christian, my first reaction was to be impressed with God’s kindness toward me for making provisions for my comfort. By giving me a mother who wouldn’t allow me to go on birth control and end my suffering.

I’ve actually done a lot of thinking, even as a Christian, about how God could have designed all this better. When Richard Dawkins talked about how poor a designer God was, I kept waiting for him to mention the female reproductive system. Alas, he only talked about the male one. Typical man, only thinking about man parts.

The form and functions of your body have been designed…with your best interests and happiness in view.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH

Yes, God totally had my best interests and happiness in mind when he decided I would bleed once a month starting at age 11 and that it was going to be the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Praise the Lord.

Surely you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Barf

 

 

 

*Mom didn’t actually prevent me from using tampons. It just honestly never occurred to her that I might want to use them, until she found out I had been stealing them from the other girls at school for months. She was more upset about the stealing part than the tampon part, to her credit, and went out and bought me my own box.

 

 

 

 

 

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