A shot at a good marriage

Annie Oakley fell in love with Frank Butler who said he was the champeen of shooting.  She swooned. She begged him to like her. He wanted a girl with soft hands and shiny nails, and one who smelled good. She polished herself up and did everything she could do to make him ask her to marry him. 

She learned to read. She learned to wear white gloves.

One thing she didn’t have to learn was hot to shoot a gun. And, truth be told, she was better than he was.

Toward the end of the Broadway play, they are reunited after her stint in Europe where she earned many medals. They declare their love for each other and plan their wedding in song.  He wants a small wedding where she will vow to love and “obey” him. She wants a big wedding without the word “obey.”

A spat starts and they sing “I can do anything better than you.”   This swooney girl had grown up and now knew what she was worth. She knew that she was better at what they both did.

They decide to settle it with a shooting match. This is where it gets interesting.

Her friends know that she can shoot the best, but know that she can’t “get a man with a gun.” So they rig the gun so it won’t shoot straight and she will lose and big Frank Butler (the Champeen) will win.

She misses all four shots, he gives her his gun. She is ahead, and then he loses on purpose.

At the end of the play they are holding each other and have decided that their marriage will be a partnership.

Frank Butler began as a male headship guy, while she began as a strong woman gone mushy. She grew up but he remained the same until the end where he realized that he couldn’t live without her by his side.

Don and I saw a group of home-schooled Christian youth present “Annie, Get your Gun” this afternoon. I wondered if they saw what I saw in that musical. I also wondered what the parents saw as they heard the boy and girl declare that their marriage would be a partnership.

Will you help get the message out that a partnership marriage is healthier than a marriage where one has headship over the other?


About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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12 Responses to A shot at a good marriage

  1. Temperance says:

    I think one of the signs of inner strength and ultimately a real dependence on God alone, is the willingness to risk disapproval, maybe even loss of relationship to use the talents God gives us. Burying our talents in the ground or hiding our light under a bowl may bring temporary approval, but the price we pay on the inside is not worth it in the long run. If someone can’t accept me for who I am is the relationship really worth investing my time, energy, and heart.


    • Absolutely. When this story took place, and even when I was a kid, women were told not to outsmart men. I hope girls are not told that today and they can let their “smarts” show.

      > Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 15:29:09 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >


      • Temperance says:

        It reminds me of an episode of Andy Griffith where a girl trying to get Opie’s attention is better than him at a lot of things, and he starts to distance himself when he discovers this. Helen tells the girl to play down her abilities and let Opie win some games. So she does and then everything is just dandy with Opie. That always bothered me. As I said, anyone who can’t appreciate our talents and expects us to water them down isn’t worth having.


  2. Mabel says:

    Since the 60’s, the invention of the pill has allowed women to be less dependant on husbands and less tied to the home. the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned workplace discrimination not only on the basis of race, religion, and national origin, but also on the basis of sex,. THere were >&> women going to college, graduating, making more money than their husbands, etc. Men became very threatened and there was a big push to keep “the old days” when men ertr the protectors, the money makers, the strong ones, etc. After the 60’s, there was a fundamentalist takeover of the Evangelicals and with the CBMW leading, the tide has turned against women in the church, which lasts to this day. The ramification of this cannot be more devastating. Bottom line: there is a push to pull up men and a tidal wave to dumb down women, or, even if women are the smartest & the most capable, most spiritual, to keep them down telling them it is the “creation order.” To this day. It does not change much. Normally reasonable people become completely dense as soon as the gender topic is mentioned (never makes it to the discuss stage). It is tragic. Educate, agitate, advocate.


  3. Thanks Shirley for finding a good metaphor to tell the story. Once we are sensitised, we see the injustice in all sorts of places.
    Our current story in the Lutheran Church of Australia is that there are now more congregations who are willing to stand up and be counted on women’s ordination, after last weekend’s conference in Brisbane, Queensland. While we never know how long it will take for justice to be brought about, there is always hope.


    • There is hope, Katie. I am seeing a movement in the Church of Christ churches. They are about the 6th largest denomination, about 5,000,000, and are mostly in the southern part of the US, where fundamentalists are also more prevalent. They are known for not having music in their churches, and for their strictness against women. Women cannot even attend the business meetings. (My mother-in-law was C of C and I am surrounded by two neighbors who are). Women cannot sing looking around them, but have to keep their faces toward the pulpit lest the gospel fall on a man’s ears in song. But – there were 14 different C of C congregations represented at our conference in April. This past week there was a new C of C person attending who thanked me over and over for inviting him and said he would bring some of his other church members to the next meeting. The Baptists have closed the book on women’s equality, but I think others are beginning to question. This is encouraging to us. We are a movement. Things are happening.

      > Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2012 07:59:52 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >


  4. It’s intriguing how the different traditions of so-called “Bible-based” churches seem to focus on different issues. It would be an interesting exercise to document these. It would show how random and ridiculous the different readings of Scripture are. Maybe it would highlight that we could learn from each others scholars on the methods of hermeneutics.
    I wonder if readers could detail how the opposition to women’s ordination is evidenced in their tradition?
    Here’s my initial first effort: In the Lutheran Church of Australia they make a big thing of the fatherhood of God as evidence that clergy need to be male. We are told that WO is inspired by the second century Gnostic sect. We are encouraged to ask, “What do the angels think about women’s ordination?” We are warned that it will split the Church. We are encouraged to maintain links with the Catholic Church (!! not a hint of a wry smile).
    There is much more but I need documents in front of me.
    Does anyone think that this would be a good exercise to compare a ‘compare and contrast’ list of objections to women’s ordination?
    I have this gut sense that we shouldn’t ignore each others struggles.


    • Anyone? Will you tell what women can not do in your church based solely on the fact that they are women? If you know the reason for the restriction such as what Katie gave, would you tell us why women are barred from doing it? This could be a very good discussion point. Thanks, Katie. You have enlightened me.

      > Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2012 22:55:07 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >


  5. silver price says:

    Shirl Kasper, author of the 1992 biography Annie Oakley, points out that the shooting match couldn’t have occurred in 1875, because Frank Butler’s shooting career probably didn’t even start until 1876. There are no contemporary newspaper accounts of the match. More likely, it occurred in 1881, which is what Butler said several times much later. When the couple actually wed is also uncertain. They told everyone that they were married about a year after they met, and their only known marriage certificate says they tied the knot on June 20, 1882, in Windsor, Canada, when Annie was 21.


    • Welcome! I didn’t know that about Annie Oakley. Marriage licences are not always truthful. My own parents ran away and got married and my mother had to lie about her age because she was only 17 and my daddy was much older. I don’t trust official documents when people give the information to serve their own purposes.

      But I glad you wrote. I have been so busy on my book that I haven’t been posting new blogs. I have an editor who thinks sentence structure is very important. (LOL). The apostle Paul would never have gotten his books of the Bible in print if she had been his editor. Look for Dethroning Male Headship in the spring.


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