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Emily Joy @emilyjoypoetry
, 21 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Joshua Harris is apparently discontinuing publication of I Kissed Dating Goodbye & its followups (including Boy Meets Girl which I would argue is maybe worse). Great. Eventually maybe I won't have to keep buying every copy I find in a thrift store so no one else does.
Let's take a look at his "explanation" (I won't call it an "apology" since that implies genuine repentance and a good faith effort to do something to fix the actual problem at hand but okay)… Link here or in the pictures below
Some highlights:

"Two years ago I began a process of re-evaluating the book."

Welcome to the party, Josh. We figured you weren't coming.
He says he regrets implying that premarital kissing (a phrase I cannot believe I still have to utter) was a sin, but then recommends instead books such as Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud and True Love Dates by Debra Fileta, both of which teach abstinence until marriage.
They're also both notably silent on LGBTQIA+ issues. I went to Debra Fileta's website and typed "premarital" into the search box and got lots of article results, but nothing for "LGBT" "gay" or "homosexual." If you don't talk about it, it doesn't exist, right !!
Anyway, he goes on to say, "To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it…" um. LOL. "Misdirected" is what happens when Siri tells me to take a road that's closed for construction. "Unhelpfully influenced" is that one friend who always buys shots
Joshua Harris' role in mass producing and popularizing the precepts of purity culture for a generation goes so far beyond "misdirection" and "unhelpful influence" I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Of course it wasn't JUST Harris, there's an entire Purity Industrial Complex.
But like it or not, #purityculture is a form of sexual violence as @hannahboning says, and Harris wittingly or unwittingly played a HUGE role in perpetrating that violence against a generation of young people. It's not just that he was too harsh about kissing before marriage. 🙃
Telling people that the divine ruler of the universe expects them to remain sexually abstinent until legal monogamous marriage between a cishet man and a cishet woman for life is trash and abusive theology whether you say it nicely or not. #purityculture
Anyway, here's the real kicker: "I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and God." I couldn't say it any better than this:
"Biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships" = dog whistle to the conservatives. Nothing more, nothing less. Harris is "apologizing," sort of, for how his original views were LESS THAN "biblical," and "biblical" in this context means purity culture.
Harris hasn't actually changed the meat of his views at all. It's clear that he still believes that anything other than total sexual abstinence until legal monogamous marriage between a cishet man & a cishet woman for life is still sin or not God's best or not ideal or whatever.
What he's "sorry" for is the parts of his teachings that made our friends look at us like we were martians when we explained that actually, we wouldn't be kissing until our wedding day. He's not sorry for any of the basis of those teachings at all. Ask me how I know?
The production people for Joshua Harris' documentary (for which he raised over $40,000 USD by the way) actually reached out to me a few months ago asking me if they could use a clip from this video in the documentary:
When I got the email I was like
Obviously I told them it'd be a cold day in non-existent hell before anything I created would be a part of that project, but not before watching a clip they sent me showing how and where my content would be used if I agreed and y'all. It is so bad.
Basically the entire thing is about Joshua Harris and his sad feelings about the impact of his work. This entire thing is about him. He claims to want "his reevaluation to be commensurate to the public reach of his book" but this whole campaign centers him start to finish.
So here's the deal, Joshua Harris was 20 when he published I Kissed Dating Goodbye. TWENTY. It's wild that anyone even let that happen but nonetheless. I also would like to apologize for the views about relationships and sex that I held at 20, lol.
The difference being that Harris hasn't actually changed the substance of the beliefs he had at 20 about relationships & sex. He's only softened them, made them a little more palatable & a little less wildly fundamentalist. He still thinks I'm living in sin, less than God's best.
So sure, write your thinkpieces about how Joshua Harris "apologized" but just be aware that he's still deep in the pockets of purity culture and that he's still centering himself in every facet of this image rehab. Harris is deeply uninterested in divesting from #purityculture.
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