Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Myth Independent

Okay, so I'm still thinking this one through... but sometimes thinking is overrated... so here we go:

I just finished The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women and, for all intents and purposes, had a difficult time putting it down. The premise is a bit too close to what I've been pondering on my own as of late: that females are being sold a bogus bill of goods on what makes us valuable, namely:
Our bodies
Our virginity.
The number of men who have had us prior to marriage.

I grew up with the "good girl" notion that one was to "save herself" for marriage. So be it. There's no angst or anger or need to sit on a shrink's couch because of it. My mother is a product of the 50s. I came of age in the 80s. It's now 2009. Things change.

The problem today is that it's not what we females do so much as how we are taught to view ourselves after we do it. Once a male has a female, she is less of a person. She isn't as "good" as the girls who are not had.

I may be a Catholic school girl, but I am also the graduate of a Catholic women's college where men were nice to be around but far from paramount to our existence. Most of the time, we were too busy being human to worry much about batting our eyelashes and wiggling our hips. I learned that there are too many things I can do on my own to ever become the clinging, vapid young thing so idealized by MTV et al.

Still, though, as students, we divided ourselves subtly. The girls who had sex were quietly nicknamed and wondered at. My friends and I thought that you had to be in love to have sex, and we could not understand how those other girls could be so "easy." We were taught that men would not love us fully (read: marry us!) if they knew that we had a "reputation."

Like nearly all of my female cousins, I found my husband while in college and graduated not only magna cum laude but also engaged. Carrying on the tradition, I walked down the aisle in white, and -- upon return from the honeymoon -- began to plan for babies. What I didn't do was plan to quit working after said babies arrived, but that's another blog for another day. We're here to talk about what I did "right," not what I did for me.


I still find myself buying into the purity concept, to a degree. I don't believe is sex for the sake of sex. I cherish the idea of it being between two consenting, caring, loving adults. I'll tell my son to wait to have sex, and I'll be nervous when he brings home girls who have (real or imagined) reputations. I won't even try to deny any of that.

What I do believe is that intimacy is not about naked bodies tangled together in bed. Bodies are cheap and interchangeable, particularly when there is no intimacy. Intimacy is about language.

I look at it through my words -- what is said and unsaid, what is implied and what is screamed. Several months ago, I removed the link to my fictional blog, retitled [Insert Title Here], because it's about a woman who isn't exactly true to all of those social and religious ideals. Selina is not, to put it mildly, living the happily ever after promised to women who played by the rules.

I removed the link because I was worried about offending, a behavior -- I have to admit -- that offends me.

Wouldn't want Simply Sentenced readers to be offended, now would I? Wouldn't want them to think that I was a bad girl at heart, you know? Wouldn't want them to laugh at me, right? Wouldn't want to gain that reputation that everyone and her mother warned us about, would I?

Do you hear my sarcasm, readers? Or is it lost in translation?

The link is back. It won't be removed again. You're old enough to determine what you want to read.