Today, I stumbled on a blog post titled “I Didn’t Deserve to Wear White” (I’m not linking to it because I refuse to send any traffic to a post that promotes an idea that I would like to fall off the earth). Normally, I try to just move along because I am not a religious blogger. I read some. I have a few favorites. But my answer to a great many things theology is a resounding, “I don’t know” so I tend to just keep quiet and blog about happy things. Like knitting. And reading.
This last post, however, was the purity ring that broke the beast with two backs. I don’t know what it is with the interwebs (or the people I keep stumbling on in the interwebs) but I’ve just been inundated the last few weeks with FB memes, blog posts, tweets, and discussion posts that promote the purity culture ideal. And I’ve had enough.
Here’s me in a nutshell: My grandparents are Catholic. My mom left the church shortly after divorcing my dad. My step-father has evangelical leanings and I spent most of my youth attending evangelical churches with my family and evangelical youth groups that give that movie Saved a run for its money. I started really questioning my faith around 17 and left the church at 18. When I did return, not until my mid-thirties, it was as a Catholic.
As a recovering evangelical, I read these blog posts and I hear the voices of my own youth group.
Damaged goods. Tainted. Impure. Defiled. Used chewing gum (yes, really).
By having sex before marriage, we’re throwing away the most precious gift we have to give. The one that belongs to our husband. (I’m just going to just skip over the embedded idea that a woman’s sexuality isn’t her own but is somehow the property of her husband.)
I am now a mother. I have a daughter. And I can tell you right now, if any person says to her that the most precious gift she can give her husband is an intact hymen, that person will get the most passionate momma-bear dressing down I can manage.
Whether she has sex before marriage or not, my girl will NEVER be used chewing gum. She will NEVER be damaged goods. If and when my daughter walks down that aisle, I want her to feel no shame in the amazing, God-created person she is whether that person has had sex outside of marriage or not. I want her to have no doubt in her value as a woman, wife, human.
And I want that for every single woman.
A woman’s value is not in her virginity.
She is not “Certified Angus Beef” to be labeled “pure” and trotted out as superior.
The shaming of our girls, whether intentional or not, needs to stop.
Every woman deserves to wear white if that’s what she chooses.
A therapist once told me that such churches are emotionally abusive. I agree, for all the reasons you so clearly articulated. I think many of us are ready for sex before we're ready for marriage, and entering into the latter before you should because you'd otherwise have to deny yourself the former is just heartbreaking. We were made as sexual beings, and two loving, caring adults don't have to be married for sex to be healthy. What's unhealthy is urging people to deny a fundamental aspect of their beings and using shame to do it. (Thanks for giving me a chance to rant myself.)