Posts tagged purity culture
Why Do Evangelicals Think Everyone Is Addicted to Porn?

When we pathologize certain behaviors while simultaneously misunderstanding what that pathology actually means, we create a world of fear, a world of shame. We make it impossible for people to differentiate between normal sexual expression and experience and the dangerous, life-altering effects of sexual addiction. And that, of course, is the goal – evangelicalism thrives on the fear of our own bodies, so keeping us in the dark about potential addictions prevents us from actually confronting the idea that we might be sexual beings altogether.

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#PurityCultureTaughtMe: Stories and Why They Matter

But, there’s a sea change happening. Our stories are becoming too loud to ignore. The explanations are becoming hollow and more obviously untrue. Our lives, our experiences, cannot be explained away as isolated incidents, as failures of individual personality, as a misapplication of theology. The problems with purity culture and the purity movement are systemic and they cannot be changed by simply making sure individuals don’t “take the theology the wrong way” or by excluding individual narratives from the overall story. You don’t get to claim your movement as a success if you refuse to take the data from those your movement failed.

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Bristol Palin and the Privilege to Fail

This, ultimately, is why Bristol Palin’s second, chosen pregnancy matters. Because of the abstinence culture she promotes, because of purity culture’s narratives of forgiveness from which she benefits, other people are left without resources. Bristol was uniquely privileged in her pregnancy to have a supportive family and the public relations ability to capitalize on her story to make money for her and her child. She is privy to resources almost no teenage mothers have, and is engaged, even while choosing to have another child, in the rolling back of resources and rights for women just like her. 

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Avoiding Heartbreak Means Avoiding Your Self

The whole “first love-heartbreak” is something that purity culture is pretty bent on trying to avoid – ideally, you should avoid dating altogether until you’re ready to marry, because then you won’t get your heart broken a million times and you won’t be “damaged goods.” We should avoid heartbreak at all costs because it allows you to present a clean and pure heart to your future spouse – only that person will know you; only that person will care that deeply about you.

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The Mini-Skirt and Me

It took me a few years and a lot of work to get to a point where I was comfortable dressing in more feminine and more “revealing” clothing. For me, owning my body and owning my choices meant learning how to mimic and play at those gender expressions disregarded as “typically feminine.” I had to teach myself how to do make up, to do my hair, to be comfortable in dresses and “fancy” clothing. Modesty culture, in its attempts to protect my womanhood, had robbed me of my understanding of myself as a feminine being.

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