Amanda Barbee on how the purity movement cloaks female sexuality in silence and shame, stunting women in their growth as sexual beings and causing long-lasting psychological and spiritual damage.
I don’t normally post about social issues or personal stuff here, but I read this article a few days ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it or the light bulbs it set off for me as a former Evangelical. Today being International Women’s Day, it seemed appropriate to share this article with others who have been, and continue to be, affected by purity culture.
You see, I could have been part of the study group. That was me from the moment I hit puberty and my mother, my friends’ mothers, my Christian schoolteachers, and my church youth leaders began to hammer the message of modesty into my head. That was me when I became aware of sexual feelings but didn’t really understand them or my body or my emotions because my only sex education was 7th grade biology and True Love Waits. That was me when I was sixteen and asked my parents if I could watch Braveheart and they said it was okay so long as I closed my eyes while my friend’s mom fast-forwarded through the sex scenes. That was me when my parents found out I’d been kissing my boyfriend and suddenly it called my relationship with God into question. That was me on my wedding night, giving my husband the most precious gift a woman possessed, crying because I was naked. That was me struggling through the first few years of marriage because sex was supposed to be emotional for women and physical for men, and i just didn’t fit into that box.
This is me now, five years post-Christianity, ten years married, mother of a four year-old, and only now beginning to see how entrenched I was in the purity culture, how twenty-five years in that culture continues to inform my views on relationships and sexuality, how these themes are finding an outlet in my fiction. This is me, accepting of my own sexuality (and feeling damn lucky not to be as scarred by purity culture as many I know are), yet afraid to share my writing, or sometimes even to write at all, because I know that to those (I love) in the purity culture, there is no distinction between sensuality and pornography.
This is me, still naked and ashamed.
dentist: *shoots you* you’re bleeding b/c you dont floss
1995 - 2002 - 2012
Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.
Day 5 of my 30 day sober “experiment”! Feeling less bloated and it’s a bit easier to get up in the morning. Yay being responsible in 2014….