The revolution will be blogged: Evangelical women challenging purity culture

I don’t have any special insight or commentary to add to the posts listed below, other than to say Amen.

Here I just want to catalog, to highlight, to bear witness, and to amplify what these women are saying.

It’s important. It’s important due both to what is being said and to who is saying it.

This conversation is gaining momentum and I want to see it continue and spread.

• Elizabeth Esther: I Kissed My Humanity Goodbye: how the evangelical purity culture dehumanizes women

• PerfectNumber628: The Story of Me and Modesty

• Elizabeth Esther: Virginity: New & Improved!

• Sarah Bessey: I am damaged goods

• Rachel Held Evans: Do Christians idolize virginity?

• Emily Maynard: The Day I Turned in My V-Card

• Elizabeth Esther: Am I being ‘soft on sin’?

• Libby Anne: Notes on Virginity: Idolizing My Inexperience

• Suzannah Paul: Beyonce & policing female sexuality

• Amy Mitchell: Oh my gosh! You said the ‘M’ word!

• Joy Bennett: News Flash: You Probably Won’t Marry a Virgin

• PerfectNumber628: Purity for the Sake of Purity

• Amy Mitchell: Breaking the rules

(This list is not complete. I’ll add to it as I find/remember/am reminded of other recent posts on the topic.)

  • P J Evans

     I hope that’s snark, because otherwise it’s really crappy trolling.

  • Fusina

    All due respect to Mr. Red, but I posit that people deciding to respect other people and not call them silly (mangina, really?? that’s what you go with?) is what has made us more civilized over the years. I’m sorry, but we may have had civilization of a sort for eons, but as short a time as 300 years ago some people didn’t have it. Some still don’t today–I’m thinking here of the people who have been displaced in the Sudan (women and children mostly, based on the news) the LBGT community in Uganda who may end up charged with capital crimes for loving someone else, women who have indeed “come a long way” but still have a long way to go to gain full “citizenship”.

    Err, and a friend of mine convinced me to watch Garrow’s Law. As one who is definitely a feminist, this show has some things that absolutely make me livid with regard to rights, specifically women, who had none, and black women who had less than none.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    *snorts at the poe troll’s claim*

    Hypergamy? Really? You keep using evolutionary psychology’s pseudoscientific jargon like that and your poeness will fail. ;-P

  • MaryKaye

    What I find really sad is that in the comments thread of almost all of the postings above you’ll eventually hit someone who’s all “But it’s *sin*.  I know that person after person is describing how this doctrine damaged her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but the alternative is *sin*.  You just can’t have that.”

    At some point people have to realize that their concept of sin and sin-avoidance is leading to clearcut evil and needs to be changed.  Either that or acknowledge they worship a God who doesn’t want what’s good for people:  who is okay with the physical, emotional and spiritual damage described. 

  • Elric the White

    Silly vaginaphobe, the historical control of male sociopathy is what kept civilization afloat for all these millenia.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

     The unchainedfaith entry about masturbation reminded me of Diogenes the Cynic, who had this to say to people who saw him masturbating in public: “I wish it were as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly.”

    If you could banish avarice by rubbing the wallet, the world may well be a better place.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s just crappy trolling. He’s done this before.

  • Aiwhelan

     Read the post on “Damaged Goods” and one commenter kept on coming back to that, till he proclaimed that “SINNERS will not inherit the kingdom of God…” and I could almost hear the refrain from the Mass-

    You came to call sinners
    -Lord have mercy
    You came to heal the contrite
    -Christ have mercy

    I thought, that’s exactly who inherits the Kingdom. Sinners. Because there isn’t anyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    It’s all about ownership. “How can we be properly said to own these women as we should if someone else has tasted such joy with them?”

    Oh, sure, men should be pure too, wink wink. But honestly, don’t worry about that. Boys will be boys. The women however must understand that they are property and must keep themselves showroom new until their owner arrives in their life.

    It’s disgusting.

  • http://unpublishedforareason.blogspot.com/ Hannah M

    It’s fascinating to read all this – I had a sudden realization last summer of how the concept of “emotional purity” warped my view of relationships, and though I managed to figure most of it out on my own before I entered into a relationship (thank goodness), I have many friends who have not been so lucky. Not to *entirely* plug my own blog, haha, but I did blog about that experience, back in August (http://unpublishedforareason.blogspot.com/2012/08/emotional-purity-when-you-use-up-all.html). It’s pretty specifically about the emotional purity concept, rather than physical purity, but it all ends up being tied together in a very sticky fashion.

  • LL

    Damn, that “damaged goods” story is appalling. I’ve never been to a “Christian youth” convention or whatever they’re called, and I’m glad to be reassured that I haven’t missed anything. What a terrible thing to do to impressionable young people. Way to go, evangelicals, for telling young women that if they’re not “pure,” they’re worthless. Yep, that sounds exactly like What Jesus Would Do. 

    If it makes the evangelicals here feel better (well, OK, it won’t, but just to get it on the record), the secular world (the popular culture part of it, anyway) is currently only slightly more enlightened regarding women’s sexuality as the evangelical world is. They don’t focus so much on virginity (because girls who won’t have sex with you are a total bummer), but they don’t particularly care to hear about how badly women are still treated in America and how the “hookup culture” is not a particularly awesome deal for women (often). They just wanna get laid, and any “feminist” message (you know, like women can do stuff besides show their tits) is not greeted warmly. At least on some of the other sites I frequent. Maybe I need to stop frequenting them. They’re not all like that, but many of them are. It’s really quite depressing. Stripping and porn are now considered by many to be “empowering” for women. 

    I don’t blame evangelical parents at all for wanting their children to hear a different message, I just think they’re going about it the wrong way. Really wrong. 

  • MaryKaye

    Hannah M., the link you provide doesn’t work, and I’d like to read your article–any chance you can repost?  Thanks.

  • other lori

    I don’t think the problem is the idea of sin, but treating sexual sin as something unique and apart from all other sin. Christian doctrine holds that gossip is a sin, but most people who have gossiped or continue to gossip don’t feel damaged by that. Christian doctrine holds that greed is a sin, but I don’t know anybody who is just wracked with guilt because of it (and I don’t believe for a second that greed is less common than lust). There are plenty of things that are considered sin in Christian teaching that Christians do all the time, maybe say a quick prayer of forgiveness for if they recognize it, and then move on without any damage done.

    But we treat sex differently. Nobody feels as if a person is forever tainted the first time they gossip or covet, that they are somehow no longer pure and that that particular episode of sin will define them forever. Nobody proudly boasts that they are still a gossip-virgin or greed-virgin. And yet those things are considered sins. Why can’t sexual sin be thought of the same way?

    I do think that sex outside of a committed, monogamous, loving relationship is a sin. But, I don’t think it’s a special sin or a particularly bad sin or that it being sin means that we’re terrible people if we do it. It just means that it’s not consistent with fully loving God and neighbor, the way that gossiping isn’t or greed isn’t or jealously isn’t or hard-heartedness isn’t. But just like we don’t define people by those things, we don’t need to define them by their sexual behavior, either.

  • other lori

    I liked Bessey’s post the best, and had shared it on FB last week. What I really appreciated from her was the recognition that premarital sex can be something that women actually enjoyed, something they did because they really wanted to or were in love with the person they slept with. I did feel that some of the blog posts came too close to the idea that women only have premarital sex because they have low self-esteem or are looking for love in the wrong places or are somehow damaged. It just reinforces the idea that women have no sexual agency, an idea that seems really prevalent in both Christian and secular culture.

  • other lori

    I’m mostly troubled by the feminist movement simultaneously celebrating “hook up culture” as liberating and awesome, but then declaring any such sex that doesn’t meet really strict criteria (the female is totally sober–as if going out drinking when you are planning to hook up isn’t really common for both males and females and have a couple of drinks renders women incapable of making sexual decisions but men who are just as or more drunk are completely capable of that kind of decision making, the guy gets enthusiastic verbal assent at every point–the woman might be totally into it but she’s got to give an enthusiastic spoken yes for each moment of sexual escalation, that a woman can only consent to sex with a man her own age, and even small age differences mean the man is a predator and the woman is a victim–a 20yo who has sex with a 16yo is a pedophile) is rape. It’s like we can’t acknowledge that may, just maybe, having sex with people you don’t have any emotional connection to or relational commitment with is not a great thing, but we see that in practice that it’s not a great thing, so instead we have to use the only language we have available for bad sexual experiences (“rape”) because we can’t acknowledge that all sex between two consenting adults isn’t harmless.
    And I know I’ll be vehemently disagreed with, but that’s fine. I do think more feminists need to start speaking out against a feminist culture that is increasingly  making rape the default sexual encounter (at least for PIV sex) by saying that sex is rape unless certain conditions are met (which is what the idea of “enthusiastic consent” is), rather than saying that sex is only rape if certain conditions are met (like a woman’s no or lack of ability to say no being ignored). I didn’t like the idea that women can’t consent to sex with men when it came from Dworkin and MacKinnon, and I don’t like it when it’s fancied up a little bit and made to seem “empowering” (because it allows a little wiggle room, where women *can* consent if they do it in exactly the way that Hugo Schwyzer or Jessica Valenti tells them) today.

  • LL

    I agree with you, if that means anything, except I don’t think feminists are necessarily celebrating the hookup culture. I think “post feminists” are doing that. Because they apparently think (and I disagree) that any sex is good now, even if it benefits men (hey, free sex! all the time! boobies! sexting! 24/7 porn! yay!) way more than women. Even if it makes women feel kinda used and unappreciated for anything other than blowjobs and any other sexual act they feel compelled to distribute because they want to prove they’re not a man-hating feminist or a prude. If you feel a little used by someone who thinks “friends with benefits” is the most awesome thing ever, you’re just inhibited and old-fashioned and you don’t have a healthy, sex-positive attitude. Many men (and boys, I guess, among the teens) often ask other males for advice on how to convince a female acquaintance to agree to have sex with them regularly with no expectation whatsoever that there will be anything but sex. They want women to have sex with them on demand and then go away, basically. Because girlfriends are so labor-intensive, I guess. They express dismay that the girl might get “too serious” (ie, expect girlfriend stuff) from them. To be fair, some of them do also express concern that they don’t want to hurt the female in question, but mostly, they just want the sex with as few “strings” attached as possible. 

    I do agree the rape label gets thrown around a little too freely, but I don’t think it’s nearly as much of a problem as actual rape. 

    The character played by Ryan Gosling in the movie (which I haven’t seen) “Crazy, Stupid Love” says:  “The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise.”

    He’s right. And I think that’s sad. I think it’s sad that it is always seen as adversarial. It’s the 21st century. We should be past this crap by now. It doesn’t have to be this hard. It really doesn’t. It’s such a waste. 

  • Lunch Meat

    I don’t think the problem is the idea of sin, but treating sexual sin as something unique and apart from all other sin.

    I agree. Even assuming for the moment that sex outside of marriage is always and undeniably sin, it would be one thing to gently and respectfully correct those who have done or do it. It’s another thing entirely when the entire culture related to sex is such that even those who haven’t sinned by those standards are paralyzed by guilt and shame, so that they can’t even have “good” sex. It’s another thing entirely when the misinformation about sex leads to pain, terror and crushing disappointment on the night that’s supposed to the best of your life (so far). I was a virgin on my wedding night. That didn’t stop me from crying through half of it.

  • http://unpublishedforareason.blogspot.com/ Hannah M
  • Carstonio

    Whatever the flaws of the hookup culture, it’s a mistake to base one’s criticisms on the old sexist idea of females as sexual gatekeepers, with males assumed to be looking for just one thing. The real issue with the hookup culture is that it does away with only one part of the sexism equation – the double standard, the virgin/whore dichotomy. It doesn’t address male entitlement and the commodification of female sexuality. Any approach to sexual ethics has to involve gender egalitarianism, with entitlement for both limited to bodily autonomy.

  • Hallie

    I have to say I was kind of disappointed by a few of these articles, particularly the one by Amy Mitchell that used the phrase “I’m a human, not a robot” and Libby Anne’s “Idolozing my Inexperience”. I’m asexual. I’m not a robot. I’m no more immature than your average 22-year-old. It’s not that I don’t know what they *meant*, it’s just that what they said was kind of hurtful, even inadvertently. 

    Purity culture is bad, and it would be nice if we could talk about it without accidentally implying that people who don’t experience sexual attraction or take place in sexual activity are damaged goods, or not really people at all.

  • Ennid

    The really bizarre thing about the whole “purity” fetish is that it has nothing to do with the biblical reasons for not having sex outside of marriage and doesn’t make any coherent sense.

    If you think it’s super important that you be a virgin until you marry because otherwise you’re defrauding your future spouse of something really precious and blah blah blah…then it seems like you must also think a woman whose husband dies, and then remarries, is “damaged goods” and ought to feel terribly guilty for the fact that she can’t offer her new husband her virginity. Most of the reasons evangelicals give for why not to have sex as a teenager would apply equally to why it’s bad to have had married sex with one person and then remarry if widowed. But that’s not on anyone’s account of it a sin.

  • stardreamer42

    I cannot even begin to describe in words how much I hate the phrase “damaged goods”. They might as well admit straight out that they want to take away women’s right to vote, and to own property or make our own money, and to marry who we choose, because we are nothing but the property of our fathers until we are sold to our husbands. They say “damaged goods”, but I hear the “chattel slave” hidden underneath.

    When my father found out that I was no longer a virgin, I had to listen to him howl and rant and sob for hours about how his ENTIRE LIFE HAD BEEN WASTED because I was now “damaged goods”. (No, he wasn’t an Evangelical, but he was born in 1920.) You know what that got him? He didn’t get to walk me down the aisle when I got married 10 years later, is about all. It wasn’t just about that — by that time I was 31 years old and had been living on my own for years, and it just felt weird to pretend that I couldn’t make that walk by myself — but that was definitely part of it.

    And then I think about how much worse it is for women who have been sexually abused, often by members of their own families, to have that flung at them — to be told that they are worthless forever because of something that someone else did to them that they didn’t have any control over — and I just want to have 20 minutes in a room with these assholes and a horsewhip.

  • Carstonio

    As a father of daughters, I’ll volunteer to carry the horsewhip for you.

  • banancat

    Why is it automatically bad for me to have sex with no emotional or relationship commitment? Why is it bad for me to sometimes have sex for the fun of it? And how the fuck does any of this make men more likely to rape me? Surely you realize that rape happens frequently in the context of committed relationships. In my own experience, men who are part of hook up culture are the ones who care most about my consent and enjoyment and actually listen to what I want. It’s the tourists who are usually monogamous that give me the most trouble to the point that I don’t even bother with them anymore, because they all these ideas about what sex should be and how it has to go.

    I’m on my phone and won’t have access too a proper keyboard for a couple days so I hope one of our intelligent commenters here explains to you exactly why your attitude and condescending hand-wringing do more to further rape culture than hooking up does.

  • banancat

    What if I don’t feel used after sex though? What if I don’t want to spend the night? What if I don’t want a relationship right now but I also don’t want to be celibate? Don’t you see how you are playing into stereotypes by assuming that women just of course want relationships more than men so of course we must all feel used if we give away sex (which we certainly can’t enjoy for it’s own sake) without getting a relationship out of it?

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    i’m cheering. thanks, fred. i love how you wield light to expose and illuminate. i’m grateful for what you do here everyday.

  • Carstonio

    I had that point in the back of my mind but didn’t know how to articulate it. What you rightly condemn is a pseudo-feminist version of gender essentialism, one that assumes what women want or what’s best for women. The same attitude in the repulsive pop hit I’ve Never Been to Me from 30 years ago, which claims that women who pursue dreams other than motherhood are dooming themselves to unhappiness.

  • Jessica_R

    The National Review scold taking to her fainting couch over Beyonce showing her knees like some Flapper was almost a note perfect parody of those “think of the children” moral panic pieces were it not actually on National Review’s site.  I loved Beyonce’s performance and I can see why it got the right/purity culture hackles up. It was sexy and bold and Beyonce was utterly in control of it. It was her show, it was her body, it only females on stage, she was not doing a damn thing she did not want to be doing. You watched, but you watched with the clear understanding she is a performer and you are not entitled to an inch of her. Of course the “my daughter’s vagina is locked up next to the semi engine in the old shed” crowd hated it. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    “It’s like we can’t acknowledge that may, just maybe, having sex with people you don’t have any emotional connection to or relational commitment with is not a great thing, but we see that in practice that it’s not a great thing…”

    That’s fine if you choose to believe that, but you really need to stop trying to push it on everyone else. You’re no better than the people we’re discussing in the OP when you do that, you just have a wider range of what “purity” means.

    There are lots of people, me included, who have/have had sex with people while lacking commitment or an emotional connection that have never had problems with it. We don’t see the same things as problems that people who hold your view do. And, really, our right to do so needs to be respected without people like you shaming us and implying that we’re lying to ourselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobby.herrington.1 Boze Herrington

    “There are lots of people, me included, who have/have had sex with people
    while lacking commitment or an emotional connection that have never had
    problems with it. . . And, really, our right to do so needs to be
    respected without people like you shaming us and implying that we’re
    lying to ourselves.”

    Who is doing the shaming, exactly?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Please point out to me where in my comment I shamed anyone. Unless you’re implying that the fact that I don’t adhere to your views on sex makes me shamed, in which case you need to reread my comment and and apply it to your own attitude. 

    Or, on the off chance Disqus is being a butt again, my comment was addressed to Other Lori. 

  • banancat

    So I’ve been thinking about this and I need to articulate why this hand-wringing about hookup culture is harmful. I’m female and I like sex. I also don’t want a relationship right now. I have felt this way since I was a teenager. I have always known that people exist who would believe I am “damaged goods” because the premarital sex damaged me, and for the most part it’s easy to ignore those people because they would surely disapprove of me in general for one reason or another. I get that this attitude is more harmful to people who grow up surrounded by it, but for me I was mostly exposed to the reasonable idea that sex before marriage isn’t inherently damaging.

    However, there is a second, more subtle narrative that a woman who wants uncommited sex, especially a teenager, must be damaged anyway. Not because of the sex itself, but something must have happened to make her want something that is more stereotypical of men. I think this idea started among the purity crowd and spread elsewhere, but in any case it is going strong even among feminists and progressives. There’s the assumption that the woman or teenage girl is just desperate for male attention or that something messed up her brain and sexuality. I sometimes wondered if I had been sexually abused in the past and repressed the memory, or if I was just scared of relationships because my patents divorced. I frequently wondered if something was seriously wrong with me. I do have plenty of issues but none of them cause me to like sex or not want a relationship. Wanting to hook up doesn’t imply that I’m damaged goods from some other cause.

    As I got older I realized that most women like sex and that it’s not even that uncommon for some other women to want sex without wanting a relationship. And since I’m no longer a teenager I don’t see quite as much hand-wringing. But I still get people insisting that I can’t possibly benefit from this, and it’s still implying that I’m lying about what I want, even to myself.

    It doesn’t make sense to criticize hooking up because it benefits men more than women. First of all, it’s just not true. Men aren’t a monolith and they don’t all want uncommited sex. However, marriage and live-in relationships do benefit men more than women and yet we still view those as good things. In any case, I can benefit from something even if someone else benefits more. It’s not zero-sum and I don’t lose when someone else gains.

    So what exactly is a woman like me supposed to do, if not hooking up? Should I lead a man on and pretend I want a relationship just so I can have sex? That doesn’t seem particularly feminist. Should I just be celibate until I have a sexual preference that you hand-wringers approve of? Or do you just wish that women like me would Dtf existing our at least hide ourselves since we don’t fit into your little boxes of what women want? Well, I do exist and that doesn’t imply that I am damaged in some way.

  • Carstonio
  • Carstonio

    there is a second, more subtle narrative that a woman who wants uncommitted sex, especially a teenager, must be damaged anyway. Not because of the sex itself, but something must have happened to make her want something that is more stereotypical of men.

    Rigid gender roles seem to run deep in our culture, transcending many religions and ideologies, and the roles include the idea that there’s something wrong or bad with female sexual desire. I suspect that many people who otherwise believe in equality of the sexes still harbor that idea and often don’t recognize it. The subtler narrative you describe may be their subconscious attempt to reconcile the two ideas.  Reconcile because doing away with gender roles inevitably means doing away with the double standard for desire.

    It doesn’t make sense to criticize hooking up because it benefits men more than women. First of all, it’s just not true. Men aren’t a monolith and they don’t all want uncommitted sex.

    And men benefit far more from the double standard because it means male entitlement. The Slate article I mentioned emphasizes that objectification of women is not just sexual.

    However, marriage and live-in relationships do benefit men more than women and yet we still view those as good things.

    How do these benefit men more? I could see if these relationships were patriarchal, what fundamentalist Christians call male headship. But I would think that a relationship between equals would have benefits shared more or less equally, even if the benefits may be different according to gender. At the least, one gender wouldn’t be expected to trade obedience for sustenance and shelter.

  • banancat

    Marriage increases life expectancy for both men and women, but the increase is higher for men.

  • Carstonio

     That may be due to sociological factors and not biological ones. I would be more concerned if marriage decreased life expectancy for women while increasing it for men. You and I probably agree that male headship marriage benefits the husband mostly at the expense of the wife.

  • banancat

    I was only using it as an analogy to hookup culture where the other lori disapproved because it benefits women but (allegedly) benefits men more. My point is that if that reason is enough to consider hooking up bad, why does that same reason not also reflect poorly on an analogous situation which is more socially acceptable?

  • Carstonio

    Exactly. Just about every case I’ve heard for male headship, religious or secular, has boiled down to gender essentialism and complementarianism. The claim of unequal benefit from hookup culture involves the same assumptions about gender. It’s the modern (?) version of urging girls to wear longer skirts to avoid giving boys an eyeful or avoid the impression that they’re “easy.”

  • LL

    Sure. 

  • LL

    For the love of cheese, I thought I’d heard all the dumb things that could be said about this subject, but HIS life was “wasted” because you weren’t a virgin? 

    Does it not occur to fathers how icky and creepy it is when THEY become so invested in the virginity of their daughters? Was he hoping to marry you off to a Kennedy or something? Or use you to procure a herd of goats? WTF?

  • vsm

    I’m not entirely sure that defence holds water. The basic argument seems to be that sexual objectification means reducing someone to nothing but their attractiveness, denying other aspects of their being. If so, is it even possible to sexually objectify a talented non-pornographic performer? For instance, Marilyn Monroe is funny in her comedies, Lara Croft is capable and strong, and pole dancers are most agile. Are these all completely unproblematic?

    (Just to clarify, I’m not calling Beyoncé a stripper, just trying to find out if the argument for what is sexual objectification works.)

  • LL

    It’s nice that you’re happy with whatever “hooking up” you’re doing. Not everybody finds that arrangement as awesome and fulfilling as you do. That’s all I was saying. 

    It’s amusing how reflexively defensive people are when someone expresses something less than full-on endorsement of something they like. I guess almost everybody does it to some extent, but it’s no less annoying coming from younger people than it is coming from older, purity-loving, Jesusy types. Just because somebody doesn’t express enthusiasm for everything you like doesn’t mean they think you shouldn’t like it, either.  

    If you’re happy with however your sex life is going, cool for you. And that’s really all you need to say. I didn’t call you (as a sexually active young woman) a slut. I simply pointed out that (based on stuff I’ve read and heard from younger people), not everybody thinks “hooking up” just to have sex and nothing else is the greatest thing ever. 

    If that offends you, maybe “hooking up” isn’t working for you as well as you think it is.

    Saying that sexual activity has some possible pitfalls is not “playing into stereotypes.” It’s acknowledging reality. 

  • AnonaMiss

    People who would rather not participate in hookup culture don’t have to. I don’t.

    The fact that some people don’t want to participate and might be pressured to participate by others is no reason to condemn the culture itself.

    I dislike eggplant. But I’m not going to start publicly regretting how damaging Eggplant-Eating Culture is because of all the Possible Pitfalls of eating eggplant.

  • LL

    Men do get an “unequal” benefit from “hookup culture.” I’m not saying it’s fair or right or good that women who have lots of sex are still stigmatized by lots of people, including, often, the people they hook up with. It isn’t any of those things. If banancat wants to hook up with a different person every night of the week, fine. Doesn’t matter to me. I don’t think any less of her as a person. What she does with her naughty bits is no business of mine. I don’t have to approve of it. I assume she’s an adult. She doesn’t need my permission to have sex with whoever she wants. 

    But a lot of these men seeking to benefit from the hookup culture aren’t interested in helping the women they have sex with feel empowered. They just wanna get laid. And often, they’re not very complimentary towards the women they’re having sex with. I’m sure they say most of the right things when they’re actually having the sex, but among their friends (other men), they don’t really sound like they have any respect at all for the women they’re having sex with. They are happy to encourage this “sex is awesome and great and everybody should have sex” thing, while saying a lot of the same shit men have always said about women who have sex outside of marriage or a committed relationship. 

    Just in the past week, I’ve read a query from some dude (not sure of the age, early 20s, maybe) who was seeking advice from other men in how to convince a female acquaintance to become his “slam piece” (he did say that he would not be using that term when speaking to her, because chivalry isn’t completely dead, apparently). I’ve heard/read other men numerous times referring to women who “put out” as “cum dumpsters.” 

    And I just don’t see how that’s any better than the Jesusy types calling someone a whore for having sex without benefit of marriage. Both of those groups have no respect for women as people. I’m not sure why being regarded with contempt by sexual partners is considered empowering. I’m not sure why you’d want to reward someone who has no respect for you with copious sex. I mean, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care about being treated with respect, fine, I guess, but I’m going to decline to endorse that. I don’t think anybody should let other people treat them badly. Or take advantage of them. Or use them without regard to their feelings or welfare. 

    I’m just sayin’, when women are having no-strings-attached sex, they might want to have it with people who don’t compare them to garbage. And maybe the best way to do that is to get to know what kind of person somebody is before you let him put his penis inside you. Telling somebody to maybe use just a bit of care in selecting the people they’re having sex with is not shaming them or telling them it’s their fault when they are treated badly. 

    I am less interested in making women feel good about the “hookup culture” than I am in keeping them from being harmed by it. If you want to see that as paternalistic or insulting (keep in mind I am also a female), fine, I can live with that. I actually give a shit what happens to other women. They can take my advice or ignore it. Whatever. But I will offer it. And it’s meant sincerely, not some sort of back-door, regressive, faux feminist bullshit disguised as acceptance. I’m sure there are plenty of concern trolls out there who do that, but I’m not one of them.

  • LL

    Not condemning it, just pointing out the less-than-awesome parts of it. Again, just because somebody doesn’t offer a ringing endorsement of something doesn’t mean they think other people shouldn’t do it. 

    I hate cilantro. I don’t care if other people eat it. But if somebody asks me how I feel about cilantro, I’ll tell them. And if hurts their feelings, oh well. I hear stuff I don’t like all the time. I don’t take it personally. Grownups can like or dislike different things and still be OK with other people liking or disliking them. I’m not a Republican member of Congress. I don’t think everybody needs to be just like me.

  • Carstonio

    Obviously there are plenty of men who have no respect for women as people, and I share your contempt for their attitude. I also condemn women who have no respect for men as people.

    While I have no direct experience of hookup culture, what you describe sounds like a straw woman. It’s a good idea for both sexes to use care in selecting the people they’re having sex with. My point is that you’re placing the burden for this on women, implying that their sexual activity is helping to perpetuate the lack of respect.

    While I don’t doubt that you care what happens to women, your argument sounds very much to me like victim-blaming. Or else it casts men viewing women as “dumpsters” as simply an unavoidable reality of life. Either way, the real problem is male entitlement.

  • The_L1985

     You’d think more of these sola-scriptura types would recall Romans 1:28:  “ALL have sinned…”

  • The_L1985

     “the woman might be totally into it but she’s got to give an enthusiastic spoken yes for each moment of sexual escalation”

    To be fair, I don’t agree with that idea.  If it’s really obvious that she’s into it (leaning into touches, moaning, holding your hand in place, using her hands to stimulate you right back), then a verbal “yes” isn’t necessary.  But if she’s saying “no” at any point–verbally OR nonverbally (cringing, pulling away, complete lack of enthusiasm or sexual response)–then I count that as a big, fat NO.

  • The_L1985

     Nobody’s saying that you shouldn’t hook up.  No one’s saying anything about casual sex being a bad idea or part of rape culture.  But hookup culture–the idea that absolutely everybody MUST enjoy hooking up or be condemned as a prude–is toxic.  I don’t believe that I’m anybody else’s sex toy to be used at their whims, any more than I believe that I’m some sort of temple that is automatically defiled by intercourse.  Choosing of your own accord to hook up is awesome, if that’s what you want to do.  But for a man to expect a woman to hook up with him, regardless of her own feelings on the matter, is bad.  That’s what we’re talking about.

  • The_L1985

     She’s not.  She’s just pointing out that those individuals who do feel used after a casual hookup shouldn’t be forced to play along with the whole “hooking up” thing.

    Some people are happy having casual sex.  Those particular individuals who can’t be happy that way, shouldn’t have casual sex, or feel in any way obligated to do so.  That’s what I got out of LL’s post.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X