A recent Cosmopolitan article on the Duggars takes the flawed thinking that we can we do whatever we want to our bodies to a whole new level:
Purity culture is insulting and degrading even when it’s not directed at victims of sexual violence. It tells women and girls that they aren’t valuable because of who they are as human beings — for their intelligence, their kindness, their hard work — but because of what they can offer a future husband. And even then, the supposed value they’re bringing is ignorance — about their own bodies, about sexual pleasure, about what they might like in bed and out of it, about what they want in a partner, about their own rights and desires in a relationship. The whole thing is structured to keep women clueless and subservient, to maintain male power, and to assuage seemingly delicate male egos unable to cope with a partner who may know what she likes and, presumably, find him lacking.
This got me SO fired up. So let’s go on a rant, shall we, about how Cosmo got it ALL WRONG:
Disclaimer: I won’t discuss the Duggar’s situation just yet. That’s for another day.
1. “[Purity culture] tells women and girls that they aren’t valuable because of who they are as human beings … but because of what they can offer a future husband.”
Cosmo is trying to tie the Duggar’s scandal to the lifestyle some of us choose, and in doing so, it unjustifiably equates no-hand-holding-til-engagement or no-kissing-til-marriage for religious reasons to no-sex-til-marriage for nonreligious reasons. The former are just plain weird; the latter is a choice I’ll stand for and continue preaching until I die.
To those of you who are new-ish to my blog: Hi, I’m Annie, and I’m still carrying my V-Card. Not because God or my parents tell me (they’re not crazies or radicals, after all), but because I effin’ want to. I’m not a car that should be test-driven and I think those who think that are losers because they end up giving themselves up WAY too early. There’s way more to offer a relationship than sex.
Anyways, Cosmo, you don’t know me, but suppose I’m already intelligent, kind, and hardworking. Who are you to say that I can’t offer my future husband a pure body, too? WHY should I give it to the first chum who claims he loves me and for whom I feel butterflies? You know, I dated someone like him: He said he was falling for me one day, I told him I was waiting until marriage, and he dropped off the face of the Earth two days later.
But I digress.
Purity culture doesn’t tell us that we aren’t valuable for who we are–to tell me that my being a virgin means I can’t work hard or be kind is nothing more than an insult. But I also view my BODY as valuable: I don’t drink, do drugs, or put my body through extremes. I also don’t sleep with (just) anybody; I’m not promiscuous. I am free to do so, sure, but men are NOT free to view me as a commodity. Only loyal married men get that, and that’s why I’m waiting. So, no, purity is NOT wrong.
I’m also waiting because I can, damn it. Believe it or not #1, my boyfriend (AKA fiancé, as of Nov 2015!) is also waiting. In fact, we’re waiting until marriage. Sure, it can feel difficult at times, but we never even dare to cross the line or approach the point where that’s a possibility: it’s worth it because we’re free to choose so.
AND believe it or not #2, someone wished me luck (in that arrogant, pedantic, snarky way one uses when you know something is very unlikely) when I told her the man I wanted (before I met said fiancé) had to be OK with waiting. She’s now a former friend.
2. “…The supposed value [women in a ‘purity culture’] are bringing is ignorance — about their own bodies, about sexual pleasure, about what they might like in bed and out of it, about what they want in a partner, about their own rights and desires in a relationship.”
Hahaha OK. Sooooo being a virgin means women don’t know anything about sex? Listen, I get that some may not know because they don’t find out anything until their wedding night. BUT that’s not my case, so let’s don’t generalize. I’ll just leave it at that because to say that many virgins know what they want could make extremists think we’ve experimented. But you’d be wrong: I don’t need to experiment with drugs to know that I don’t want them, just like I don’t need to experiment with sex to know what I want/don’t want.
3. [‘Purity culture’] is structured to keep women clueless and subservient, to maintain male power, and to assuage seemingly delicate male egos unable to cope with a partner who may know what she likes and, presumably, find him lacking.”
I get how someone can apply this to the Duggars. BUT if there’s something us voluntary virgins know is that WE hold the power: We act the way we do and have faith in what we do precisely because we know that while men may be the figurative head, we’re the neck. And the head doesn’t go anywhere unless the neck allows it. I’m #sorrynotsorry but I do happen to believe that those of us who are waiting are stronger and have more willpower than someone who freely gives herself away.
Also, the (ideally long) time spent courting/dating someone should serve to show us the good and the bad. Having sex with someone isn’t the only way for me to find out about their ego. There are many other ways for me to discern it’s too frail or he acts like a wuss.
4. Finally, put yourself in the man’s shoes.
I’m not saying that your formerly promiscuous husband (for those of you who are married) isn’t honorable for sleeping around… But an honorable man–the kind that’ll raise the type of men who’ll view and treat women as treasures to serve and not commodities to trade–will want an equally honorable woman: A woman who guarded her heart, body, and soul; one who’ll teach her daughters to do the same; one who’s like a brand new, unblemished toy, or a cup that hasn’t been figuratively spat on by all the men who came before him (to use a Duggar reference).
Also, you do realize that when you sleep with someone, you’re also sleeping with their previous partners? Come on, no man wants that!
Like a commenter on that Cosmo article said, “The idea is that something so personal and intimate would be made extra special if you waited until you fell in love and were married.” Don’t think all of us who wait are as close-minded as the Duggars.
If you or someone you know is waiting because you choose to wait, you a) are not alone; b) are worthy of an honorable someone who deserves that; and c) are RIGHT; and d) make me proud. Thanks for reading this, and feel free to pass it along to someone who may need the encouragement.