January 25, 2007

Purity Ball

Sheesh. Ubub alerted me to this phenomenon last week, and today I read Sarah's great post on the topic today. She covers it all--the patriarchy, the male ownership of female sexuality, and the horrible implications of abstinence only as public policy.

I sent this to some friends and received some strong responses. These elements of patriarchy still have very strong support, which always continues to surprise me. Perhaps it is my small stature which forced me to address my failings as a male prototype, but I am simply tired of institutions, symbolism, or language that undercuts women. Just tired of it. Opening doors for women is fine, but not if it communicates a weaker sex. And why not open doors for men? I do. I like it when others show that consideration to me. Why frame it in purely gender roles?



Sarah said...

I'm always amazed, too, that such opinions still exist. I was just speaking with a friend of mine on this topic. She recently had a baby, and sometimes checks out an online forum for new mothers. Apparently, a political discussion arose the other day about Hillary Clinton. My friend said that there were a surprising number of women who said they would never support a woman for president. One woman actually stated that she wouldn't vote for a woman because "women are supposed to be subservient to men."

Wha-wha-what?? I can't believe people like this still exist. Truly. I don't know which emotion I feel more strongly - sadness or fear.

Tony said...

Commenting from a conservative perspective, I do not understand abstinence as a policy. I can understand teaching it at home; but the consequences are too far-reaching to try to impose it on a further scale.

It can be encouraged by those in public office but not realistically implemented.

Good thoughts, Sarah.

Bootleg Blogger said...

The article starts out with the host saying, “Are you ready to war for your daughters’ purity?” As others have commented, this is an amazing regression. Actually, I guess some people have never progressed. Anyway, just analyzing this one comment is, I think, revealing. First, he's speaking to fathers. It's the males protecting the female. Violence is referred to "jokingly" as a means of achieving this protection. And finally, the call is to protect the daughters' "purity". In other words, if you have sex outside of marriage you aren't "pure" anymore or if you don't you are "pure"? As Streak says, I'm tired of this crap. There's all kinds of ways to abuse a child. I have to think these attitudes are one more. How does it help bond with your daughter to tell her she needs males in her life to protect her? Sounds like some insecure MEN to me. Don't get me wrong- sex is serious stuff. Encouraging abstinence and wisdom in their sexual lives is a great parenting choice. That can and should be done in a parent child relationship. As I read the article, though, I don't think that's really the heart of what's going on. Putting chastity and fatherly protection on public display is obscene if you ask me.

On a side note, I am sadly amused sometimes how closely some fundamentalist types can resemble each other in attitudes and practice regardless of their specific religious stance. The family's daughters sexual purity, its connection to the patriarch's status and honor, and the consequences of desecrating that honor being on the shoulders of the "adored" daughters seems to be a common thread amongst many cultures. I wonder if these fundamentalist christians are aware that their attitudes are so close to some of the fundamentalist muslims they despise so much?
Later- BB

Sarah said...

Bootleg Blogger makes an interesting point. I'm reminded of the "honor killings" that take place in the Islamic fundamentalist world. It certainly does seem like a much more extreme version of the same thing.

I think anytime a woman's "purity" is emphasized to such an extreme degree, you start to run into problems.

And the whole "Are you ready to war for your daughter's purity?" statement really disturbed me, too.

Streak said...

The Bootlegger has been known to make great points. :)