A couple years ago, I read the book “The Purity Myth” by Jessica Valenti. It was about the obsession with virginity, namely teenage female virginity, which brought about a number of troublesome phenomena, including the retch-inducing “purity balls”. As in the father-daughter dances complete with ceremonies where the daughter pledges to her father that she will remain a virgin until marriage. Yeecchhh!!!!
I mean, shit, you’d think the classy thing to do would be to at least TRY to hide the fact that they believe a girl’s genitals belong to her father!
But it’s obvious why this happens. It’s this fetishization of “purity”. This obsession with the untouched and (therefore) untouchable. It’s why you get people who consider it some sort of bonus to have sex with a virgin, to “take one’s virginity”. Because they feel like, on some level, they were the first to “soil” what was before unsoiled, that they were the ones who opened the seal, so what they got was theirs.
This goes well beyond sex, though, even if that is the most obvious application. It could be as simple as an unwillingness to walk across a snowy field that is still pristine and undisturbed, so as to keep it pristine and undisturbed, that to walk through it and spoil that would be some kind of crime. And yet, this snowy field is ever so tempting to those who want to, well, write their name in it.
What is pure is tempting and yet confusing, what with the dual contradictory desires to be the first to use or touch it, and to protect it from others who would use or touch it.
In either case, once it is used and no longer “pure”, it has lost its worth. Rather than a temptation, it’s now a source of disgust. It is ruined. It is shameful.
That’s where we get the famous virgin-whore dichotomy.
And that has a lot of youth rights effects too!
I mean, we get told all the time how “pure” and “innocent” children are, right? Their lack of knowledge and experience is held up as an expectation, a virtue even. John Holt talked about them being kept in a “walled garden of childhood”, where they are separated from the harsh adult world by living a life of innocence and play. And if they try to leave the garden, they get smacked right back into it. If they succeed in leaving, they are forever damaged, soiled, and lost.
It’s talk of abstract good and evil concepts, a form of invented morality that even the secular seem to observe. That there’s something inherently good about being pure and innocent, and evil about being knowledgeable and corrupted. Even though there’s no real reason for this other than people’s sensitivities. Shit, isn’t the idea of Original Sin based on this, that it was evil for Adam and Eve to acquire knowledge and awareness that they were naked? God got all pissed when they said they were naked, all like “Who told you that you were naked?!” See, he lost his little peep show when they realized this, that they had thoughts of their own, so God didn’t want them anymore and kicked them out of Eden. And this is the same thing adults often do to children, that it is children’s purity and innocence that they like, that when these children acquire knowledge, form independent thoughts and opinions, aren’t always obedient, and a host of other things that scare their elders, they lose all their worth. Basically, around the time they become teenagers, a time adults fear and teach each other to fear, that their innocent children aren’t so innocent anymore, that they are bad and troubled. Because they are actually totally fine but just aren’t living up to their elders’ lofty expectations of them, to be their perfect little angels like they feel entitled for them to be.
Especially when these knowledgeable teenagers are female. Then the elders need to fight tooth and nail to keep them pure and innocent. To keep them alluring with their purity, to those who want to be the first to corrupt them. Yet protected. So they don’t do anything with their lady parts that will bring shame upon their rightful owners, their fathers. 🙄