The Double Standard for Boys and Girls in Brio Magazine

by | Jul 14, 2023 | Parenting Teens | 47 comments

Introducing the double standard of purity culture for boys and girls
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Let’s use a real-life example of purity culture double standards: Brio Magazine

Yesterday on the podcast Rebecca and I read excerpts from old copies of Focus on the Family’s Brio magazine, aimed at teen girls 12-16. We wanted you to hear first hand what purity culture messages sounded like, and how much the message to girls was fear and shame based.

If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, you need to–especially Rebecca’s impassioned cry at the end.

But today I’d like to contrast two of the articles that we read–one about girls, and one about boys.

Exhibit A: Making Out with a Boy Means You’re Not a Christian

Here’s what Brio Magazine said to girls:

Okay, Brio Sisses. This is where you can toss your magazine across the room and scream, ‘That Susie doesn’t have a clue.’

Go ahead. It’s okay. I’ll wait here until you come back.

I hope you’re ready to continue because I’m not finished.

What are we really talking about here?

Well, in a nutshell, absolute truth and personal holiness.

With all the lies and trash the media tosses your way, it’s really, really easy to rationalize, to make excuses for things that are really wrong and try to talk yourself into believing they’re okay… As long as I’m not actually having intercourse, everything is okay.

Wrong.

Do you think intercourse outside of marriage is the only sexual sin in the world? So why am I getting so much mail from you saying, ‘I can make out with my boyfriend. I can sleep next to him. I can drink. I can use bad language, and I’m still a Christian.’ Give me a break. You’re being deceived.

Someone may say, “I’m a Christian. I am on my way to heaven. I believe in Christ.” But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar. 1 John 2:4. Does Christ tell you to make out with your boyfriend or drink alcohol? Duh.

Susie Shellenberger

Brio Magazine, 2000, You Won’t Like This, But if You Decide to Read it Anyway Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned

As we noted on the podcast yesterday, notice how she is combining “making out with your boyfriend” with cheating on a test or drinking alcohol, and saying that all of those things mean that you can’t call yourself a Christian. And she’s doing it very harshly towards the girls. 

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Exhibit B: Boys are Predators, Girls are Prey. That’s their nature.

Then there’s this article that was written by a guy, to tell girls what guys think.

Can I be honest? I mean . . . really, really honest? Like from a guy-to-a-girl honest? Don’t get mad, OK? I’m gonna give it to you straight. Here goes!

Just as a lion would be tempted to attack someone wearing sausages, it’s the same to guys when girls wear things designed to arouse certain instincts and attentions in males. (OK, go ahead and get mad. I know you want to! But you said I could be honest, remember?)

So often girls wear clothing that’s tight, low-necked or short-skirted and expect guys not to react the way God designed them. Listen, Brio Sisses, when you wear revealing clothes that show a little extra this or a little extra that, it brings one thing and one thing only to a guy’s mind. Sex. That’s how God wired us.

That’s not to say we don’t have a responsibility to live self-controlled, pure lives.

But a lion is a lion, and a guy is a guy; I don’t care who he is.

So, help us out.

I was the most “godly” young man a parent could ask for. I was truly head-over-heels in love with my Lord and Savior. I prayed at least an hour every day, read and studied my Bible, and felt I was being used by God in my school and community. But I was still a lousy example of what God wanted me to be in my dating life. Give me an inch, and I’d see it as an invitation to go a mile.

I was 28 when I got married, and God helped me remain a virgin. The woman I married — Jeni Varnadeau — was also a virgin. And though 28 years was a long time for me to wait, I’ve gotta tell you that Jeni was certainly worth it! Wow!

Rory Partin

Brio Magazine, 2001, Straight from a Guy

He goes on to tell of a friend who was in the hospital partially paralyzed, and his girlfriend visited him and got pregnant, because guys–even hospitalized, paralyzed guys–only want one thing.

“Give me an inch, and I would see it as an invitation to take a mile”

Let’s not use euphemisms here but spell out what he is actually saying. “If a girl let me kiss her, I would go beyond her boundaries.”

The definition of going beyond a girl’s boundaries is sexual assault.

But, of course, this is never mentioned.

There was no discussion of what it meant to cross boundaries, or how it felt when those boundaries were crossed. A big part of the problem is because, in purity culture, girls are not allowed to talk about sex or sexual desire or the actual experience of sex. There is so much knowledge about sexual boundaries, and zero knowledge about what it feels like to approach those boundaries, or what it feels like to get aroused.

And there’s definitely no discussion of consent.

So when a man who, due to his very nature of being a man, chooses to take what he sees as an invitation to “take a mile,” how are girls supposed to know when that’s happening or how to respond to it? They’re just told that, as girls, they can’t let it happen or they’re the ones at fault for sexual sin; he’s just doing what comes naturally to him as a boy, after all.

We talked about this at length in She Deserves Better, and if you want to make sure your kids understand consent–please pick it up!

The entire context for Rory’s article comes from a trip he once took to Africa where he witnessed a pride of lions and describes feeling deep awe of the animals as he realized their inherent danger. He states, “They could have easily broken the windows and made a quick snack of us all. What an awesome experience!”

He continues to draw from his experience by relating the lion’s predatorial nature to men’s behaviour towards women. He does this by setting up an imaginary situation in which he were to approach these wild animals to pet them, while wearing steak around his neck. The obvious result would have been his imminent demise. To which he says,

But why? All I wanted to do was get their attention so I could pet ’em and love on them a little. Again, I can almost hear you Brio Girls saying, “Duh, Rory! That’s just how lions are made! It’s their nature. You approach them wearing sausage juice and they’re gonna attack!”

Rory Partin

Brio Magazine, 2001, Straight from a Guy

And that’s when he starts to show parallels between men’s seeming inability to control their sexual urges and women’s responsibility to stay safe around men.

What Rory is describing in his article is predatory behaviour.

He’s saying, “A lion can’t help but attack.” He is not describing two lions suddenly hugging or going at it. He is describing predator and prey: she is prey, and he is a predator. And that is their nature. And it doesn’t matter that he prays an hour a day and he knows his Scriptures and he volunteers at church. He is still a predator because that is his nature. That is how God made him.

Let’s take a quick look at the different messages about boys and girls found in Brio magazine.

 

What Girls Are Taught About Themselves And Sexuality

  • To doubt their own intuitions and comfort zones about innocent affection, such as kissing, with “advice” to pray about whether or not God approves of their choices.
  • Making out is a sexual sin and is on equal level with other sins like underage drinking.
  • A girl who chooses to make out with her boyfriend cannot also claim to be a Christian.
  • Girls are the gatekeepers of sexuality and hold the burden of keeping firm boundaries with boys and dressing appropriately to help boys think pure thoughts.

What Girls Are Taught About Boys and Sexuality

  • Boys do not have the same burdens about maintaining sexual purity as girls do. Girls will not struggle with lusting after boys, so boys’ clothing isn’t mentioned.
  • While girls are having their salvation questioned for making out with a boy, boys are just assumed to be naturally driven towards sexual activity.
  • Crossing sexual boundaries (which is sexual assault) is normalized for boys as part of God’s design.
  • All of the burden of maintaining boundaries is placed on girls, because boys are predators by nature and can’t help it.

She Deserves Better!

Because we all deserve a big faith.

Your daughter deserves better than what you likely grew up with in church.

What would it look like to prepare the next generation without toxic teachings about modesty, sex, or consent, and instead set her up for a big faith?

Have you noticed a theme?

In the end, it always comes down to the idea that girls alone are the gatekeepers of sexuality, and if sexual sin occurs it was likely because she wasn’t modest enough, prayerful enough, or Christian enough.

It’s amazing to see the double standard in these two articles–but that double standard was all over Brio Magazine, all over purity culture, and is still very present in our evangelical resources.

Let’s start watching for it–and calling it out when we see it. Because this is not okay. It never was okay. It needs to stop.

The Double Standard of What purity culture expected of girls and boys, with Brio magazine

Do you think the double standard is still here? Did you experience it as a teenager? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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47 Comments

  1. Angharad

    Not only double standards, but also incredibly sloppily written. Take this for example:

    “But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar. 1 John 2:4. Does Christ tell you to make out with your boyfriend or drink alcohol? Duh.”

    Well, Jesus doesn’t tell me to go to school, drive a car, own a refrigerator, use the internet, read a ‘Christian’ magazine…

    (Oh, and on the topic of alcohol – the Bible warns against DRUNKENNESS not against drinking any alcohol at all. If some folk need to be teetotal because they can’t stop, that’s fine, but you can’t make it a blanket rule for everyone and claim that you are being ‘Biblical’ because nowhere ever in the Bible does it tell you not to drink at all!

    And the whole thing about men being like lions…you really WANT to portray yourself as an animal? Do these people ever think through what they are saying?

    Reply
    • Jim

      I never understand the idea from some Christian circles that drinking is a sin. Drunkenness is, like you said, Angharad. If drinking was a sin, why is it that Jesus first miracle was to turn water into wine? And not just wine, but good wine. It is one of the potential sources for the saying ‘Saving the best for last’. In Jesus’ time, a wedding was a several day long party and it was common to start with good quality wine and slowly introduce lesser quality as the party went on because everyone would become less ‘discerning’ as the party went on.

      I was told by my son near the end of the school year by his teacher that Jesus and his disciples drank grape juice at the Last Supper. (My son goes to a conservative, private Christian school and his teacher is a woman). I told him that they did, it was called wine. I consider myself a conservative Christian but that is a stretch in logic and does not match with the historical context.

      Reply
    • Laura

      Oh the irony of drinking alcohol when Jesus’ first recorded miracle in the Bible was turning water into wine!

      Reply
    • Anonymous305

      I’d agree with “zero alcohol until you are of legal age”, which is probably the context here, but it helps to clarify.

      And why the guy wants to be compared to an animal…good question…

      Reply
    • Curly Sue

      And people who are predatorial by nature (because that’s how God wired them) shouldn’t have authority over the sheep. Sheep need protection, and Jesus is The Shepard who protects them from predators. So, if you follow the “men are like lions” statement through to its logical conclusion, all men would be disqualified from any leadership in the church.

      Reply
    • Anna G

      He really didn’t think through this part. 😉
      So what he is really saying is that—-since people would probably carry rifles or tranquilizers when they go around lions, in case they attack—-then girls and women should carry rifles too whenever they’re around men. Then if the men make any threatening moves, the women can just shoot them.
      I mean, if men are savage, unreasoning predators, we should treat them like vicious animals, then, right?

      Reply
      • Lisa Johns

        I’ll get my carry license ASAP. 😂

        Reply
  2. Martha

    Recently I have read a complementarian man saying that it’s a man’s responsibility (he is in control) that his virgin girlfriend stays so until they are married.
    What do you think.?

    Reply
    • Laura

      Martha,

      I have heard something along those same lines in recent years. Because it’s been taught that the man is supposed to be the “spiritual leader” in the relationship, he must be responsible for keeping the premarital relationship sexually pure. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Dannah Gresh:

      I will keep speaking out as one who teaches that women are worthy of respect and that men need to step up to protect them as Christian brothers. This is a dialogue that God Himself initiated through His servant the apostle Paul. He charged men in Ephesians 5 to present her a pure and spotless bride. While men and women are both charged to express self-control for their own individual purity, only men are charged specifically with being responsible for the sexual wholeness of the opposite gender. According to God, it’s the man’s responsibility to act in integrity regardless of how a woman acts or dresses. This seems to place the ultimate responsibility for respecting human sexuality squarely on the shoulders of men. Protecting a sister’s sexual integrity is one of the highest forms of respect that a man can show to a woman.

      https://liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/does-he-protect-your-purity/

      I recommend reading this article and see how much she contradicts herself. Even though I agree with some of what she mentions in this article, I find it sexist. I guess her way of thinking to get males to show respect to women is to tell them they are in charge. I think BOTH parties need to be responsible and respectful to one another.

      Reply
      • Aron

        And even then, Dana Gresh misuses scripture once again. That passage actually does not order men to present brides to themselves in spotless fashion, but rather it is a tangent into the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Husbands are commanded to love their wives, but as Paul so often does, he goes on a minor rabbit trail about the beautiful saving work of Christ before bringing it back around to his original point of husbands loving their wives on the same level as they love their own bodies. That passage doesn’t in any way imply that a husband’s love is redemptive or that he is solely responsible for her purity (sexual or otherwise). But DG loves a good proof text…

        Reply
      • Martha

        Laura,
        I’ve read the article and comments under it. It’s mostly about human trafficking and I meant a consensual relationship.
        The point is that it’s usually women who are blamed for allowing to cross the line, provoking men etc. When the responsibility is put on men (by believers of patriarchy) , isn’t that an unusual shift.?

        Reply
        • Laura

          Martha,

          I posted the link before I even read the comments. Then I decided to read them and thought it was weird. I didn’t realize how what DG had to say about men being responsible for a woman’s purity had anything to do with sex trafficking. I was not sure what her entire point was.

          Reply
          • Lisa Johns

            Apparently even DG herself wasn’t always sure what her point was…

      • Angharad

        “I guess her way of thinking to get males to show respect to women is to tell them they are in charge.”

        Hmmm, so men need to be praised as ‘leaders in authority’ before they can behave like decent, adult human beings. Now where I have I heard that argument before…?

        I’m not aware of any Scripture where one gender is given the responsibility for keeping both genders on the right path. Yes, we are told we should be encouraging each other to do what is right, but that is a charge given to all believers, not just to one group

        Reply
        • Jo R

          Then the corollary would be that women never need to be decent human beings since they can never be leaders? 🤔

          Reply
    • Taylor

      I think I see what they’re trying to do–put responsibility on the guy. But here are some problems with that statement.

      One, it could lead to a guy getting really posessive/jealous of his girlfriend if she has other guy friends. If her virginity is his responsibility, he has to watch her like a hawk. (Stalking.)

      What if she’s sexually assaulted by someone else? And suddenly she’s no longer a virgin. Does that mean that he’s failed?

      What if she decides to go sleeping around with other people? Is that now his fault?

      What if, for whatever reason, she wasn’t a virgin prior to when they started dating?

      It puts too much emphasis on virginity. If virginity is the main focus of the physical love in the relationship before marriage it can 1) Take focus from other relationship areas that need to be worked on and 2) Could also lead to a mentality of, “I can do whatever I want to her as long as my penis doesn’t enter her vagina before we get married.”

      Also, virginity often has an expiration date. If the emphasis is on keeping her a virgin until marriage, and that’s the main push, when marriage happens he’s no longer responsible to keep her a virgin. So, what is his responsibility as a husband? Does he even have any responsibilities now? Or does he just get to do whatever he wants because he’s already fulfilled his virginity obligations?

      I think it would be far better to say something like, “You are responsible to treat your girlfriend with kindness. She matters. You are responsible to honor her and respect her mind, respect her soul, and respect her body.” This kind of message doesn’t expire.

      Reply
      • Nessie

        “Does he even have any responsibilities now? Or does he just get to do whatever he wants because he’s already fulfilled his virginity obligations?”

        This is so spot on to how these guys behave! Sadly they have been given a message that doesn’t expire: love her like Christ loves the church, treat others as yourself, etc., but many often just don’t. So much room for improvement. I feel like some of them believe their only responsibility IS to have sex.

        Reply
  3. Melissa W

    So I’ve been thinking about this double standard a lot and this is what I think. They truly wanted to both shelter and protect girls “innocence” and “purity” while simultaneously making sure they were raising them into the right type of Christian wife for the future. So for instance they couldn’t empower girls, show them they were valuable in and of themselves or in any way encourage their bodily autonomy or sexuality without sabotaging turning them into compliant, submissive, sexually obligated wives that was really their aim all along. So the only option they really had was to use fear and shame. That would simultaneously keep them “pure” while teenagers and turn them into a “godly” wife in the future while maintaining boys/men as the “head” of the house and the authority of the wife both before marriage and after marriage. The way girls were taught in purity culture really had very little to do with the girls and their well being and really had everything to do with setting the stage for men and patriarchy. It may not have been conscience but this is exactly what they did. Every message to girls/women wasn’t really about them and was really about setting the stage for men to get what they wanted. If they really cared about girls’ well being then they would have empowered them rather then just shaming and scaring them into compliance. However, they couldn’t really empower them and still maintain their patriarchal agenda. Besides control was really the agenda all along anyway and we all know fear is a powerful source of control. Just my two cents as an outsider looking in as I wasn’t raised on this stuff.

    Reply
    • Carla

      Well said. Thank you.

      Reply
    • CMT

      Reminds me of this piece: https://laurarbnsn.substack.com/p/misogyny-the-sbc-and-beth-moore

      The gist of it is that even if patriarchal systems don’t overtly hate women, they are still misogynistic because they train people that “Care, attention, support, and service flow as an obligation from women to men. They flow less reliably, and at the giver’s discretion, from men to women. This particularly becomes a problem when women, instead of giving support and care to men, instead give it to themselves or to each other“

      If that’s the water you’re swimming in, then this bat$#*+ craziness is almost logical.

      Reply
  4. Jo R

    So a guy can take a mile and still be a Christian?

    A guy can kiss his girlfriend and be in no danger of ruining HIS personal holiness?

    Why do all the negative consequences accrue only to the female in the relationship?

    Just come right on out and say it already! Guys can never do anything wrong because they’re in training to be the sinless Christ in marriage, and gals are always wrong because they’re naturally made that way, being in the default position of the church that needs salvation and then endless guidance, correction, and control from their own personal little Christ.

    Do I need to show the emoji? Yes, I guess I do. 🤮

    Reply
    • Amy Garner

      Funny that some would claim men are little christs, but then also claim they have the self control of an ape. That the man should be in charge, but also paint males as dangerous animals. Which is it?

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Stop that thinking! The men will do the thinking for us!

        Reply
  5. Phil

    Its funny Sheila. I ended up digging around a bit in scripture this morning on different topics from within the post. A couple of them were – 1. truth and personal holiness. 2 double standard. The article that I had most interest in I found, was about double standard and written by a Priest.

    The summary is: that we as christians all hold double standards as does God. Continued summary: Most often we talk about double standard in terms of one tilting the scales for the better of themselves. Or in the case of the Brio articles presented – getting someone to do what you want them to do by holding a double standard.

    Then there is the Christian double standard. Which is also present in the post. The christian double standard goes like this:

    For christians we are to act like Jesus and are expected to be held to a higher standard. Aka -authors of. Brio should be held accountable for using the double standard to get young girls to do what they want in the name of God as they see it.

    For non-beleivers – we dont judge you and we love you and we know that once you feel his love you will be compelled to a higher standard of living.

    For me, all this was helpful in seeing the distinct differences. Its all fitting in the work that is done around here and is pretty fascinating how it all comes together.

    Reply
  6. Mara R

    From the above post: “He’s saying, ‘A lion can’t help but attack.’ He is not describing two lions suddenly hugging or going at it. He is describing predator and prey: she is prey, and he is a predator. And that is their nature. ”

    This is what I was thinking as I was reading. Why, the heck, do they work so hard to make men one species and women a completely different species?

    Well, actually, we know why. As mentioned a couple places further up the comment thread, it’s all about control. There is no way on God’s green earth that they could ever compare teenage girls to female lions. That would be too empowering. Nope. Teenage girls, children, and adult women have to be sheep or rabbits or some other symbol of being prey.

    They have to work very hard to keep women from ever thinking like a mama bear protecting her cubs. That view of a woman is far too dangerous for the patriarchy.
    Nope. No lionesses, she-bears, or tigresses allowed.
    Only male lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my.

    And it doesn’t bother them one bit to think of themselves as sexual predators. They are a bunch of sick puppies.

    Reply
    • Taylor

      Yes, males and females are set up to look like completely different species. I HATE the the predator/prey model.

      I was thinking about this the other day: maybe that’s why God made Eve from Adam. He could’ve just formed her from the dust of the ground, like He did Adam. But making her from him clearly establishes that they are BOTH human and BOTH made in His image.

      Reply
      • Anonymous305

        I never thought of that, but that’s such a great idea!!

        Reply
    • James Eyre

      Your comment about different species is so true. It comes up in other circumstances: men get Bible study (just the Bible, the real Bible), and women get Bible Study for Women. It might even be pink! Men get to be human and women are females.

      Reply
  7. Angela

    “Boys will be boys” but girls cannot be girls and everything is ALWAYS their fault.

    I see that there was a magazine for boys as well? Did it have influence and what advice did it platform?

    Reply
  8. Jim

    It would be interesting to see what boys and young men were reading around the same time to see the difference.

    I don’t remember reading magazines like this when I was growing up.

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      My brother said he was taught to be responsible for his actions and not blame the women. When I learned that, I couldn’t believe we went to the same church, since I was taught not to be a stumbling block to guys of ages 11 to 101.

      Now, it looks like the church was thinking that both guys and girls needed to control the guys in order to prevent sex.

      I was told that “guys are 100% responsible for their choices, but you can help.” At the time I couldn’t explain why that felt “icky”, but now I can explain that “help” felt like “be responsible for”.

      Reply
  9. Nathan

    > > Funny that some would claim men are little christs, but then also claim they have the self control of an ape. That the man should be in
    > > charge, but also paint males as dangerous animals. Which is it?

    Both are true, funnily enough.

    This is a very odd contradiction in that belief system. Men should lead completely, because they’re more Christlike and closer to God. On the other hand, they’re out of control animals who can only be reined in by the women who serve them.

    Reply
    • Amy Garner

      Do they really want to compare men to dangerous predators considering that Jesus compares spiritually unsafe people to wolves and all Christians to sheep? So, are they fessing to being wolves in sheep’s clothing? A dangerous predator pretending to be harmless? They really didn’t think this through….

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        It is absolutely crazy.

        Reply
  10. Nessie

    “That’s not to say we don’t have a responsibility to live self-controlled, pure lives.
    BUT A LION IS A LION, AND A GUY IS A GUY; I DON’T CARE WHO HE IS.
    So, help us out.”
    1. That last sentence feels like grooming for being his “helpmeet.” Except girls aren’t expected to be that just for their future husbands but for ALL BOYS. But WE are the “weaker sex.” Riiiigghht.

    2. Formula: First part of sentence/thought sounds “biblical” and thus must be good, BUT then an escape claus(gaslighting excerpt) follows after the word “but.” I am so tired of this formula. Be honest. A boy/man has a responsibility to live a self-controlled, pure life. Full stop. As do girls/women- but we are dumped on with the full weight of responsibility and thusly far worse consequences.

    3. As bad as women being compared to weak, prey animals is, I’m rather sick and tired of the food analogies as well, which serve to further dehumanize and objectify us. “Sausages to a lion.” “Cool drink of water.” “A Georgia peach (A USA term for a southern gal from Georgia).” If she’s “easy” she’s “low-hanging fruit.” “Apple or pear shaped bodies.” “Forbidden fruit.”
    I won’t even go into isolated body parts being compared to various foods. This trend is heavily skewed towards women. Clearly they expect females to “feed their appetites.”
    To all the perverted guys- go on a diet! To all the honorable men- thanks for seeing us as actual human beings.

    Reply
  11. Perfect Number

    I’ve read posts written by men who grew up in purity culture, and they talk about how they were also taught impossible standards about “you are naturally a monster and you have to work hard all the time to fight your nature” and these guys were really genuinely trying to be good and godly so they really did their best to follow that, and internalized those things about themselves, and it was very harmful for them.

    So to some extent, if you simply look at the teachings that are being told to boys and to girls, they might be symmetric. The problem is, though, the way it is enforced is definitely NOT. Girls are judged way more harshly for failing to follow “the rules”, while for boys it’s like, well, you weren’t supposed to have sex before marriage, but, like, we expect that from boys so whatever.

    For boys who are very very committed to following all the “rules” to be “godly”, purity culture teachings are very harmful for them. But for boys who don’t care that much, or for boys who are abusers, they get away with it because people don’t enforce the rules on guys the way they’re enforced on girls.

    Reply
    • Taylor

      Another thing that’s really off-putting is the whole “OK, get mad. I know you want to. But you said I could be honest, remember?” It equates consent to listen to an argument with accepting the argument as a reality. He makes a bad argument, and instinctive anger would be a reasonable response to what he’s proposing. Because he’s proposing garbage, and he’s posing as a type of authority figure while he’s doing it. But a girl isn’t allowed to be angry or protest this garbage because he assumes that she’s consented to hear it (read–pre-agree with the argument before she knows what he’s going to say).

      Assumed consent is not consent. Consent to listen/read is not consent to agree with a (toxic) argument.
      It’s another form of agency theft.

      Reply
      • Angharad

        And the bit where ‘Susie’ talks about her readers throwing the magazine across the room and screaming and how she says she’ll wait till they come back.

        Both writers are treating justifiable anger of girls who are being treated as disposable and consumable as if it were a toddler temper tantrum. “We know you are going to get mad because you are immature little girls, so we, the perfect adults, are going to wait until you’ve calmed down enough to listen to our wisdom”.

        Girls, if someone starts misquoting the Bible at you to justify their own beliefs, or comparing you to meat and the men around you to lions, you have every right to throw that magazine across the room. Your mistake would be if you picked it back up again.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          This is a really important point! They’re treating girls’ anger as if it doesn’t matter or as if it is the main issue, rather than justifiable anger at the atrocious double standards.

          Reply
  12. Elena

    As I’ve been reading She Deserves Better and thinking about my own dating in high school, I realized I never heard the message “he won’t be able to stop.” What I remember my boyfriends saying was that at a certain point they’d have to stop making out or whatever because they would ejaculate. Not ever that they wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from assaulting me. But of course purity culture would never address that because that’s too much like sex ed. So on some level was the motivation to prevent boys from being embarrassed and messy?

    Reply
  13. Anna G

    That bit where the guy is going “I was the most “godly” young man a parent could ask for” , first of all, proud much?
    But then I was thinking of Frollo in the Hunchback of Norte Dame singing: Beata Maria, you know I am a righteous man…I’m so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd…” all the while he was lusting after Esmeralda and blaming it on her.
    At least Disney recognized that guys like this were the villain!

    Reply
  14. Willow

    I got as far as “sausage juice” and had to stop.

    Now maybe it’s because I work in a blue-collar field where people use spicy language, but seriously, were there no editors before this went to print??

    If a man keeps imagining women irresistibly covered with sausages, maybe he is attracted to someone other than women.

    Reply
  15. Jane Eyre

    “ Does Christ tell you to make out with your boyfriend or drink alcohol? Duh.”

    Did Christ tell anyone to learn calculus, get a drivers license, or learn CPR? Obviously not!

    Susie, the standard isn’t “did Christ tell me to do X” and all else is forbidden. In fact, that’s almost a Marxist view (everything is either mandatory or forbidden). The standards are – there are things Christ tells me I need to do, things I cannot do, and the rest is (gasp) up to my own discretion.

    Reply
  16. Emmy

    I found “Exhibit B” by Rory just plain awful. If that guy, or someone similar to him, would be the youth leader in my church, I would absolutely forbid my daughters to attend the activities. And my sons too! And I would make a complain to the pastor, and if it would not help, I’d pull my family out of that church and find a better one.

    James Dobson, the founder and the former president of FotF had some common sense when he advised parents to choose a Church based on how the quality of the youth and children’s ministry. I do not agree with everything James Dobson has written, and I don’t know whether he would have esteemed Rory’s text as bad. In general, however, this particular piece of advice is good: if you have children, you should choose a church that is the best choice for them!

    My children are all grown up now, and they choose the church they want to attend themselves. If they were younger, I would really watch out for this kind of Rory-the-roaring-lions. I try to watch them out for my grandchildren, though.

    Reply
  17. Kat

    Rory also commits a HUGE theological error in his analogy. If a man in this story is a lion, then the woman would be a lioness, not prey. “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” and all that.

    Like him, she would be a predator with claws sharp enough and a pride of friends fierce enough to cause some serious damage if a lion ever messed with her.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ha! Good point!

      Reply
  18. Aaron

    Here’s the real problem. Kids in youth groups are being told not to have sex until marriage (which is biblical), but the same kids aren’t being told about sex. I’ve had to learn about this stuff on my own. I didn’t learn what an erection was until I was 18 (that was 14 years ago). My parents have never sat down with me and talked with me about sex (I’m still single).

    There are real problems with the purity culture stuff because it’s legalistic! Legalism is a much of a sin as sex outside of marriage, and God hates both.

    Reply

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