Purity (noun): freedom of sexual immorality, especially of sexual nature. "Purity is what a woman should strive for." Synonyms: virtue, piety, honor, decency, integrity, saintliness.
As a little girl, I can remember lessons and sermons being taught over the topic and idea of “purity” – primarily the role that it was suppose to play in my life, as well and other young girls like me. I can still hear the idle threats against my sanctity as a whole, and the echoes of fear escaping from the mouths of young girls who had internalized these ideals.
The ‘8th Grade Tea’ was similar to a right of passage. We were on the brink of womanhood. We all sat nicely dressed in our dresses, skirts, blouses and mid-sized heels, and attentively listened as the speakers spoke. We quickly learned what it meant to be a woman and which lady-like qualities we must acquire- the most undeniable being ‘purity’. As the evening went on we further discussed and conceptualized its meaning, with the overarching concepts being: No sex before marriage, and if so it must to cease immediately. Anyone who was ‘not pure’ was sure to be damned and not fit for marital bliss – now, or ever for that matter. We were to save ourselves for our one true love, our king. These memories were filled with horror and fear of being ‘unclean’, because once you are unclean there is little hope for redemption or salvation. Yet as we were being verbally instructed and pressured, our male counterparts were participating in a lackadaisical day of fun and games. No need for structure, because boys will always be boys (regardless of instruction) – so they believed.
As I have grown into young adulthood and indulged in my fair share of relationships, and counseled some of my girlfriends though their’s. There are some things that have become more and more evident to me – the values of what women and men conclude to be sacred. Some of these values are chosen on an individual level, where as others are socially constructed from events such as the one mentioned above. For the average woman ‘purity’ has been her ascribed status, but an optional act for men.We are taught to save ourselves, to be upright, and holy. Whereas, men are not. They are taught to sow their wild oats, do what ‘men’ are expected to do (and we can all assume what oats are being sown). Subsequently, as men and women age we have one group who cherishes and relishes in thoughts and ideals of purity, where as one does not. Women grow to be bachelorettes who seek long-term monogamous commitments, with marriage in mind as the end result. As for men, they grow to not know how or when to stop their ‘sowing’. Unfortunately, the cultural dissonance between the values of men and women lead to a large number of women who become broken-hearted and scarred from relationships of infidelity and mistrust.
My question though is this, why are these values primarily being taught to women? Is it because of the Holy scriptures such as:
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.
, which does not even limit its commands to women alone. Or is it because women’s main duty or role has historically been to complement and adhere to a man, submit to his beck and call, or be the caretaker of the home and rear upstanding children. I mean, get the idea of abstinence and celibacy, and I do believe that these are things that we should aim for – but not just women, but men also. I believe that the application of these standards only being limited to one sex is indeed counter-productive. If these ideals of ‘holiness’, ‘cleanliness’, and ‘decency’ are continuously just ingrained in one sex and not the other, what good does that really do? I mean “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, right? Or for the purpose of this blog, one spouse to another in a ‘holy and perfect union’ (marriage) or a relationship. In other words, one partner can ruin or harm a relationship – whether it be a male or female.What good is it for me to save myself or to be ‘pure’ for ‘the one’, when he is being taught not to be. Do I not deserve the same in return? Am I not worthy of him saving himself especially for me?
The idea of this blog is not to invalidate the need of purity, abstinence, or celibacy, but to reiterate the need for these ideas to be taught to men just as much as they are shoved down the throat of woman
******Disclaimer: This is not scientific/research article. This is written from my experiences and my view point.
– As Told by HER, Hailey Elise