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I watched a movie last night that reminded me of a church lesson I had beaten into my head: "I am an 8 cow wife." Anyone know what I'm talking about here? For those not familiar, it's the Legend of Johnny Lingo, a film BYU produced in 1969, based on a short story from the early 60s. Given the culture of women at the time, it's offensive but is to be expected for the times (I'll tell the story under the cut). What is really crazy is that this was re-produced in 2004, and is still the most beloved LDS movie of all time, even more than Saturday's Warrior, which is my personal favorite because it's a birth-control musical, lol. NO, REALLY.



The story is this: on a Polynesian island, women are "bought" from their families with livestock, a so-so looking wife would fetch 2 or 3 cows, an extraordinary beauty would get upwards of 5 cows. (Are you now wondering how many cows you are worth? No? You wouldn't make a good Mormon, then. Hee.) Mahana is ugly, plain, thin, and OLD. I mean, guys, she's like 19. (No, really. That's in the story.)

Mahana's dad can't stand her because she's shy and walks hunched over and it couldn't be because her dad says she's worthless and a burden, right? Oh, wait, that's not the point of this tale. So Johnny Lingo, the greatest trader of Samoa, or where ever, is passing through, ready to give up some bovine for some lady lovin'. Who will he take? How much will he offer? Mahana's dad is told to trade her off for anything, high ball Lingo with 3 cows so he'll get talked down to 1. Heaven forbid they end up trading chickens, the pennies of the Polynesian world, you know what I'm saying? How embarrassing!

Well, long story short, (and the movie is 30 minutes long) Lingo offers 8 cows! For Mahana! Everyone is scandalized. This is blowing their tiny third-world view point! Ah, but Mahana hears that she is worth 8 cows, and emerges from her hut and OH MY GOD SHE IS PRETTY. Guys? [Get a tissue.] Guys? Because she knew that someone valued her, it made her beautiful. Once she knew her worth (in the monetary form of cattle) she was able to stand up, not be such a sour puss, and magically become attractive to everyone else.

I was taught to be an 8 cow wife, to know that I WAS an 8 cow wife. Sometimes it was a lesson to teach me how to find a mate (the more important aspect of an LDS teen's life) or to teach me that I had worth, because GOD (or Heavenly Father, as Mormons call him) saw my worth. O....kay.

Now, I get the warm and fuzzy feelings that people like to glean from this story, but as far as I'm concerned, this is a HORRIBLE tale. One, her father never gets taught a lesson about treating his only child like a piece of crap. "Mahana, you ugly." Before Johnny Lingo shows up the dad threatens Mahana, "Do you want me to cover you in bruises so Johnny Lingo can see what a disobedient wife you would make?" MAYBE THIS IS WHY I AM UGLY, DAD. Maybe lay off the beating stick and mean talk, I'm just saying.

The village doesn't learn that maybe they shouldn't continue to judge women by their looks as a determining factor of their worth, they all just realize that Mahana is pretty, ergo, worthy, in the end. Yay? And let's also not gloss over that men are BUYING WOMEN. And this, again, is a beloved MODERN story in my old religion.

Also, the racist and misogynist crap that is continually perpetuated from this story is just disturbing to me. There are LDS women TODAY that are advertising themselves as an 8 Cow Wife to find the right man.

You can watch it here.

And just maybe I don't want to be worth any cows. I want to be worth Orcas! I AM A TWELVE ORCA WIFE, let it be known. Ha ha ha.

A reminder: Orcas are the bullies of the ocean. They're the Mean Girls of the Sea!

Oh, and this just reminded me of the story of the Hot Guy in Class that asked the "crippled" [the word they use] girl in a wheelchair to the Big Dance, and she can't believe it, because how could anyone in a wheelchair expect to do something normal, and it ended up being the best day of her life because someone paid attention to her. Once. WOW THIS CRAP IS SO BAD. (That story, and my commentary on it, is in my book, btw. *G*)

Comments

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beadattitude
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like most "fairy tales," it has a pretty dank and dark underbelly. ::shudder::

stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
But this is a MODERN "fairy tale" that girls REALLY EXPECT to happen.

I'm not joking when I say that some LDS girls tell potential mates that they are 8 cow wives.
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fabrisse
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
I wish I thought your fertile imagination had made that up.

*shudders*

On my one visit to Egypt, a guy joked with me about Americans all thinking that Egyptians would buy their wives or daughters with cattle. He said, "It's all wrong. It's camels."

Sadly, I don't think the people who made Johnny Lingo got the joke.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHAHAHA. I mean, that's wrong, but it's FUNNY.

Yeesh.
the_soul_of_wit
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Wow. What a story. Thank god you put such a humourous spin on things, or I'd be a lot crankier with these Mormons.

Speaking of, a couple of really cute Mormons came by to give my grandma a copy of the Watchtower or the Mormon Bible or whatever they're handing out these days, and I went "urg you are so cute why are you so crazy cute boys!!!"

Not to their faces; that'd be weird. But in my head, I was definitely berating them for letting their good looks go to waster.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
HEE, the Watchtower! Oh, you HAVE to tell any Missionaries that you wish they'd give you one of those. :D (That's the Jehovah's Witness, btw. They're big rivals. Hahaha.)
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mecurtin
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
I think your "wtf no seriously wtf?" tag says it all. Though part of me now wants to hear you talk about "Saturday's Warrior". But it's too early in the day for drinkin'.

I am horrified/fascinated by the Wikipedia page, which says: It was not as well-received as expected, because of the rewriting of the pivotal bargaining scene to make Johnny a weak, almost desperate character.

Tell me more, O native informant!
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
I'll have to see if I still have up the post I made about Saturday's Warrior - it has an entire chapter dedicated to it in my book. I'll add the link to the post if I can track it down.

Oh, yeah, the weakened Lingo! (lol) Men must be strong, praiseworthy, and Godly. Weakness is not allowed. Why do you think there are so many closeted Mormon males?
mecurtin
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
I googled for "8 cow wife" and my soul is now very sad.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Saturday's Warrior
I briefly talk about it here and again in comments with Floweringjudas towards the bottom of the page.

I may have to post over at my book journal an excerpt from the chapter, it's so damn funny, unintentionally so, of course. :D
Re: Saturday's Warrior - mecurtin - Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saturday's Warrior - stoney321 - Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
enigmaticblues
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
I am obviously a one chicken wife, because in that world? I would suck. Lucky for me I found a man who has his priorities in the right place.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
But maybe you're worth one of those fancy chickens with floofy feet and plumes! Don't sell yourself short - someone will find value in you, and THEN. THEN you can be pretty. LOL.
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maybe1ce
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
How can that be a top LDS movie when "Sons of Provo" is still out there languishing?

I had a number of (still active, but persistently mouthy, LOL) LDS friends who had HOURS of fun mocking the 8 Cow Wife. One had a running joke going with her husband where they'd constantly review each other using the livestock measuring stick. "Hey, babe. You'd be worth an extra cow if you made some popcorn." "What do you want with cows, we live in an apartment! Make your own darn popcorn." or "Sorry I'm so tired. I got no sleep last night. On the bright side, Steve is now a 12 cow husband, if you catch my drift."
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
I think it's based on sales and number of times it's been played during Young Women's around the globe. LOL.

HAHAHAHHA, that's funny. I'm going to adopt that back into my daily vernacular, I think. i'm trying to remember some of the film strips we watched in Seminary that all were the same thing: if you did any sinning, you would die, and wearing prairie skirts makes Jesus love you. GOOD TIMES.
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stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Um, you can add that right up there with the Jews that left Babylon, migrated to Asia, built submarines with glow in the dark rocks inside (no means of steerage) and became Peruvians in the Mormon folklore, aka, one of the plots in the Book of Mormon. :D

SEE, THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU ARE USING LOGIC. you have to stop that for the beauty to enter your spirit. ;)
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ethrosdemon
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Ok. I watched the whole thing.

What is fucking me up isn't that that this was made. It was the 60's, considering how assbackwards and fucking stupid Mormonism is, I wouldn't expect anything else from that time. IT WAS REMADE IN 2004?

Goddamn.

Time to get drunk.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU FOR CATCHING THAT PART. RE-MADE. Re-made. Because it needed to be told to a new audience.

AUGH!!!!! (But Kassie, you are totes my 8 cow wife. Like, milk cows with huge udders and shit. <3)
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brunettepet
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Good thing I measure my worth in the amount of banchan I've made for a Korean meal! I am a 7 banchan bride.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, maybe measurement in hamburger buns would be good for me. It *is* grill season, after all.

Wait, scratch that, make it baby back ribs. I am a 5 rack.
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arcana_j
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Wait, I thought in yesterday's post, you said that last night you planned to watch a horror mov... oh.

Nevermind.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Hee hee hee.
cdvla313
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
The story in general is ridiculous. The fact it was re-made in 2004? Just plain scary.

This is kinda off topic, but you don't happen to know if there's a copy of Sons of Provo flitting around the internet for download, by any chance, do you? I'm kinda in love with Will Swenson.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
I have no idea, but fulldls.com or some other torrent site might have it. *cough* You could always order it from Deseret Books... ;)

I think Netflix has it, too.
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darlas_mom
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
...why did I watch? God, Stoney, WHY DID I WATCH?

As an aside, was it just me, or was Johnny Lingo a white guy in brownface? Just for that extra racist flavor.
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
No, that's just you. Almost everyone cast were locals from the Hawaiian Islands where there's a HUGE LDS community. (Tonga and Samoa, too.)
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dwivian
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
see, nobody gives Johnny the props he deserves. He saw a beautiful woman, raised her self esteem, and gave cows to someone that obviously doesn't know much about taking care of the good things in his life. He's going to wait a couple weeks, go fetch his eight cows from where they've wandered off unsupervised, and be ahead on all counts! Then he'll tell his wife, she'll laugh at her stupid dad, and they'll go live together happily on the other side of the island.

I gave elfgirl's dad a box full of plastic pirate coins for her dowry. Seriously. He loved it!
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
LOL at your TWEEST at the end, haha!

Now THAT is a dowry that rocks, hilariously awesome! And does L let you tell people that you bought her for wooden plastic nickels? ;)
minstrel666
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Wow... I want to watch that with Anna... but with my luck she'll get the wrong idea. :/

Still, [i]Saturday Warrior[/i] sounds [i]epic[/i]. Can you find it online?
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
HAHAHA. She might not appreciate it like Mahala...

You can buy it from the Church? I just couldn't stomach that purchase, but I think I really REALLY need to have my own copy. It's a thing of wonder.
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dovil
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
DUDE! All this time I've been searching for beauty at the bottom of a moisturiser jar and all I had to do was invest in livestock. Does it have to be shares in a cattle ranch or can I just get the same effect by buying 8 Whopper burgers?

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DUMB?!?
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Once cooked,t he cow to money ratio drops severely, like the US dollar.

And let's face it, you're a four sheeper, if ever there was.

YOUR ICON IS A THING OF BEAUTY AND WONDER.
ruthless1
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. I am afraid that I am just a one cornish game hen wife.
*is sad now*
stoney321
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
But those are fancy hens. Those are easily six raccoon hides.
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chrryblssmninja
Jun. 22nd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
I just had to say that your icon is glorious.
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Hahahahaha, thanks! That Sailor Moon/Edward icon is freaking hilarious.
ann1962
Jun. 23rd, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
A LDS woman I know is 26 or so, and not married. This just let me into her unhappiness about her situation a little. Wow for lots of reasons.
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I used to have a comic strip that I hung on my office door when I worked at my university (in Utah.) It had a college girl reading a book in a chair and three or four old ladies clucking around her saying things like, "23 and not married?" "Well, Heavenly Father will match you up with someone in the next life." Etc. Etc.

Yeah, 26 and single, she's getting there in years. (How horrible is that?)
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redbrickrose
Jun. 23rd, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
OMG. I...don't even know what to do with that story. A *modern* story? Really? WOW.
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
If a man doesn't validate me, I'm ugly.

Sleep tight, girls! (gag)
judetwee
Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
O_o

o_O

Well, self-confidence can make you prettier...but I don't think having a man in your life is the answer to low self-esteem.

(What happens if you're not Caucasian? Does that lower your wife-price in Mormon world?)
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
No, the Caucasian thing isn't the issue. Missionaries in foreign places marry women from their mission all the time. It's just the fact that a woman's gift to a man is her beauty, something that has a steady drum beat in the church. Yuck.
entrenous88
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Urk, but it's like every dance "feel the rhythm!" movie plot, with the ugly girl with the glasses who gets chosen to dance by the hot unapproachable popular guy, and LO AND BEHOLD when she lets down her hair and shimmies her hips, she is sex on stilettos.

Which makes me think that screenwriters are watching Mormon movies for inspiration, hey now!
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
SOmehow, when it involves the nerdy girl who changes the heart of the studly football captain, I don't find it as offensive... Probably because it doesn't involve buying another person.

No, let's face it: if there had been a prom scene in Johnny Lingo, I'd be all over that. Lol.
trinfaneb
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
An Orca bit off Bo Derek's leg. True story.
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
LOL, I haven't seen that movie in YEARS. I love the idea of an Orca being able to chomp a leg off, when that's not even how they eat...
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sockmonkeyhere
Jun. 23rd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Hee, it ain't just the Mormons -- my town's Methodist church showed that movie to us during a Youth Fellowship meeting back around 1972. What struck me then was not the cow-woman ratio, but that a guy in an all-Samoan village would be named "Johnny Lingo." Hell, I thought it was gonna be a western.

Moo. :D
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Well, this movie I'm talking about was made by BYU and cast with all Mormons. Other religions like it because of the message, I'm sure, but this is a Mormon production, head to toe.

And hahahahahaha on the name, isn't that hilarious? *bell ding, chews cud*
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domenowtrent
Jun. 23rd, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
I know MAAAAAANY girls from YW and BYU who have "I am an 8 cow woman!!!" shirts with 8 little cartoon cows on it.

I remember being younger and watching Saturday's Warrior and being concerned about the modesty of the "bad girl" actresses who were trying to get Jimmy to run away with their group of friends. I wondered if they got paid more to wear too-short shorts and show their shoulders.

I also remember being at BYU and having my neighbors knock on my door and invite us over for Johnny Lingo and rice crispies. Like that was how 20somethings spent their evenings. My roommates and I went out to see Brokeback Mountain instead. :-P
stoney321
Jun. 23rd, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
I FORGOT THE T-SHIRTS!!! Those were popular at Ricks (that's how old school I am, I'm pre-BYU-Idaho) but not so much at Dixie.

LOLLOLOLOL the bad girls in their tanks and cut offs! I worried about that, too, and if they ended up with a bad reputation at the college because of it! HEEEEEEE.
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