Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Ripped, Crumpled Gift

sex, misogyny, feminism, feminist, purity, chastity
The thing that bothers me the most about purity or chastity movements is their inherent misogyny. It's always women that need to remain pure (as opposed to filthy, I suppose), women that need to remain chaste. Oh, sure, more modern groups will pay lip service to the idea of male purity, but it's always women that get compared to cows and gifts.

From the Pure Love Club:

"I choose to be pure because that's what God, my future husband, and I want. I know God wants it because he says so in his word. I know my husband wants it because it is such a special gift. A friend once used the analogy that purity is like a beautifully wrapped present. If too many people are allowed to handle it, or open it, by the time it gets to the one its meant for, your future mate, its ripped and crumpled. And even though your future mate will accept it, he/she will probably be disappointed it wasn't as beautiful as it started out as. I want to stay pure because I want to be able to give myself wholly to my husband and have no regrets. Those are the reasons I want to stay pure. Not only for myself, but also for God and my future husband."- Michelle

Well, by that logic, Michelle, you should seal yourself in a small closet to prevent your ever interacting with anyone, seeing anything or hearing anything that might crumple the delicate tissue paper that is your hymen soul. We wouldn't want experiences to rip your perfect purity, we want you to remain hermetically the same, forever and ever.

Who we are is an amalgam of our experiences, of where we've been and what we've done and who we've done it with. This notion that women should not change, that we should remain innocent little girls forever, first to be protected by our fathers, then by our husbands, but never by ourselves, is misogynistic at its core. I am perfectly capable of charting my own course and making my own decisions, and my experiences do not make me less, they make me more.

We will end with a story about ripped and crumpled gifts.

Our second Christmas together, the Hubby was attending school full time and I was the only one working, and we had no money. Once we were done buying presents for everyone else, we had no money left for ourselves. I managed to scrape together enough for a pack of guitar strings, but it didn't seem like enough. If you live with a guitarist, you know that guitar picks end up everywhere: behind, in and under furniture, under rugs, etc. So, I scoured the house and came up with a handful of picks. Half of them were probably useless, as the tips of picks get ground down by the strings after a while. I wrapped it all up in white printer paper.

I handed the Hubby that sad, battered gift Christmas morning* and he loved it. He loved it because I gave it to him and because sometimes it is the thought that counts. The moral of the story is, if you choose to share** yourself with someone, they should appreciate it, no matter what's gone on in the past. Anyone who doesn't appreciate the beauty of you isn't worth sharing with anyway. To put it bluntly, do you really want to spend your time apologizing for the past you can't change? And why should you want to change it? It made you who you are. And that's worth loving.

Check out the Cynical Nymph for an excellent tangentially related post on women's bodies as public property.

*Hubby wrote me a song. I love that song.

**You can share your sexuality with someone, you can't give it to someone. It's not an ipod.


  1. Dammit woman, get back in the kitchen and make me pie. Also the slut I was banging before we got married was much better at sex than you, you need to improve. Damn virgins never know anything.

  2. The Virginity Myth addresses all of this. This whole idea is unspeakably creepy to me, woman as girls, but not just girls, highly sexualized girls. It's weird, these people who are obsessed with virginity put a sexual spin on every relationship a woman has, because that's all she is, her vagina and her hymen.

  3. I remember giving gifts to my housemates one Christmas where every gift was a book or CD or DVD of mine that I just wrapped in newspaper. The thing is; I made sure that every single one of them was fit for the person it went to and wrote a little personal limerick on each - cue tears from the lady folk and back-slapping (plus manly tears) from the man-folk.

    The thought is what counts because, at the end of the day, we are our thoughts, we are not our iPods (insert Tyler Durden speech here)

    I remember being a virgin. It sucked. I remember losing my virginity. That sucked too. I remember the first time I was with my present girlfriend (after both of us had had many years of individual experiences). That, most certainly, did not suck.

    I can't imagine how depressed I'd be if I'd have stuck with my first-time-girl, purely because of the fact that cherries were busted that time.

  4. As far as I can tell (without having actually read any research on it), the entire thing originated from insecure men having an OCD-level need to be sure who their children were.

    Okay, so I may hyperbolize, but...

  5. This fits in the whole virgin-whore dichotomy. There are understandable cultural and possibly evolutionary reasons for this (although like much of ev psych the ideas are almost completely untestable and so should be taken with a hefty dose of salt). When a make knows that a female is a virgin that means any offspring they have soon will be the male's. So the male can be certain that investing resources in the offspring makes sense.

  6. Now that I feel dirty for my super misogynistic message, I want to say that your Christmas story is beautiful.

  7. Beautiful post. Thank you for writing that.

    The interesting thing about girls who write paragraphs like the one you quoted is that, in the end, they rarely wait. Most Christians have sex when they're dating. I know that was the case with many couples I knew when I was a fundamentalist Christian single.

    When push comes to shove, their self-control is really tiny.

    I also wanted to say that, when it comes to sex, experience does make it better, in my opinion anyway.

  8. what about regretting that you went into a marriage with no sexual experience? i mean, i love Pete, and never want to be with anyone else - but part of the reason we meshed so well is because we were able to avoid so many of the mistakes that happen the first few times you have sex, and because we both were experienced, knew what we wanted, had some idea of what the other *might* want, and were able to easily and without shame communicate what we wanted.

    who the hell would want a virgin, anyway? no experience and etc. plus, part of the idea of virginity is the hyman - an "organ" that fades away over time in most cases anyway - and that the first time (or first few times) a woman has sex it HURTS (it doesn't always. but it is SUPPOSED to)

    if you are marrying the woman you love, why the HELL would you want to start off by HURTING her?!


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