Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Romanticizing Zion

The Houston Chronicle this morning published another distressing article on the Zion Ranch. This one is a celebration of the clothing and hairstyles of the women. Will we see some new fashion for women come out of this Ranch? So the reporter asks. Will we see pastel colors again - how sweet they are - and puff sleves - how old-fashioned? Full length dresses perhaps - to give women today a more subdued appearance? And what about hair styles. Aren't their buns homey? Long hair is "in" now, and women are on the look out for vogue "updos."

This is enough to make me want to scream, "You have to be kidding!" How desperate are we as a culture (maybe this is just Texas?) to romanticize this compound, as if it is some return to a lost Eden or a golden era of pioneers and self-sufficiency?

Let us keep this in mind. The State of Texas has taken temporary custody of over 430 children because the underage girls in this compound are pregnant. They got pregnant somehow. Someone permitted it and someone did it. And the mandatory DNA tests are going to sort this out. We are talking about statutory rape. We are talking about a polygamous compound in which some men have dozens of wives, many who are still children themselves. These men have hundreds of children and grandchildren. The families dress in specific colors in order for them to be recognized as a husband's family unit. The women dress with head to foot coverage so as not to tempt other men in the compound or make jealous other wives in their particular family unit. What happens to the boys on this Ranch? In a small polygamous compound, certainly they cannot all be maintained. Has anyone wondered what is going on with them? The pattern here?

1 comment:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

You're right to wonder about what happens to the boys. Basically, a lot of them get expelled from the camp, often for what seem to us like trivial offenses.

The LA Times had a story about this a couple years ago.