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Some people mistakenly believe that the opposite of purity culture is objectification, but that’s not true. #PurityCulture is one kind of objectification. In both cases women’s bodies and queer bodies are objects via the male gaze that must be controlled.
The opposite of #purityculture is sexual/gender liberation, rooted firmly in consent. The opposite of purity culture (where women’s bodies are under the control of men) is autonomy - where our bodies belong to US, for our own freedom and pleasure.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week because of the #bachelorette (way to go @AlabamaHannah!). My colleague @emilyjoypoetry has had compelling threads re: this too. But #purityculture sells us lies about what makes women worthy and it’s ALWAYS in relationship to men.
There’s a similar respectability argument where we shame women who express ourselves sexually by saying, “she doesn’t respect herself.”+
+ This is inherently #purityculture showing up even in secular spaces by making a value judgement on women’s relative worth in relationship to her sexual experiences or lack thereof. It assumes sex/sexual expression cheapens is and lessens our value.
The antidote to #purityculture is a value system which says that MY BODY belongs to ME. And that nothing I do with my body (grounded in consent) lessens it or cheapens my worth.
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