The Cult of Virginity (Half the Sky Chap. 5) #sjbc

This post is part of the April Social Justice Book Club. This week we are discussing Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

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Conversation Questions for Chapter Five:

In 2008 the United Nations declared rape “a weapon of war.” A former UN forces commander states, “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in an armed conflict.”

Can we do anything about this?

What are your thoughts about the authors’ recommendation that all universities require graduates to spend time in developing countries? Could this really make a difference in our citizens? Our country? In the world?

Source: The above questions come from the organization Global Women.

“The cult of virginity has been exceptionally widespread. Not only does the Bible advocate stoning girls to death when they fail to bleed on their wedding sheets, but Solon, the great lawgiver of ancient Athens, prescribed that no Athenian could be sold into slavery save a woman who lost her virginity before marriage. In China, a neo-Confucian saying from the Song Dynasty declares: “For a woman to starve to death is a small matter, but for her to lose her chastity is a calamity.”

It may be seem easy to dismiss these attitudes found in this chapter about women as being foreign to our culture. Yet, as we can see, similar views of women and sexuality are found amongst even the most respected texts of the Western world. How do we still struggle with these conceptions of women in the Western world? How is it different? How is it similar?

Please share with us your responses to the questions above or any thoughts or questions you have about honor killings, virginity, and gender-based violence in the comments section below.

The Social Justice Book Club is a project of Independence Rock Group: Center for Faith, Ethics, and Social Justice. Please consider supporting the Social Justice Book Club and our other projects. Find other posts about the Book Club and Half the Sky here.

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About Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen has moved Approaching Justice off of Patheos. Find his latest posts and the new Approaching Justice. Thanks!


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