So the Babylon Bee thinks purity culture backlash is worth mocking.
For those who don’t know, the Babylon Bee is supposed to be a Christian satire site, like the Onion, where they have satire news stories. I must admit I used to think they were quite funny. As one of my Patreons wrote in our private Facebook group (you can join here):
It was a lot funnier when they were writing pieces about, say, a worship leader ordering special carbon fiber skinny jeans to kick things up another octave, a youth leader miraculously subsisting entirely on leftover pizza and Mountain Dew for 13 years, or a pastor having to flee to Canada after failing to mention Mother’s Day (and making more money than usual working at Tim Hortons).
It certainly was!
But lately, instead of making fun of Christian culture as a whole, they’re punching down, making fun of those who are hurting.
And that’s what they did with a recent article about purity culture:
The “joke” was that the only people mad about purity culture are people who just want to sleep around. And this “hussy” who is complaining about it was “interviewed” while she was on her way to pick up another prescription for penicillin, and says:
According to sources close to Vindman, the shameless floozy has found freedom in meeting different men on a dating app every night and splitting the bill at a local tapas place before sleeping with them and never seeing them again like the wanton trollop she is. “Thanks to escaping Christianity, Amy has finally been able to experience the joy and freedom of her 12th abortion,” said a close friend of the dissolute Jezebel. “Just look how happy she is now!”
This is so wrong I don’t even know where to start. I could talk about the problems with shaming women with sexual partners when they don’t similarly shame men (notice how this article is focused on a woman, just like purity culture was). I could talk about how over the top it is.
But I’d like to focus on two things:
1. The article never distinguishes between “purity” and “purity culture”
And that was the problem with the Facebook comments, too, where umpteen men were deriding young women for just wanting to sleep around, while many thoughtful female commenters were trying to add some nuance and explain that there is a difference between purity and purity culture.
I’ve written before about purity culture.
But I’ll highlight what one commenter, Karen, said, in response to a man who asked her to name just one thing that was harmful about purity culture:
There are too many to list them all but I will name a few.
- It is prosperity gospel for sex. It told young people that if they follow certain steps and rules, they would get married to a great person and have great sex. Marriage is not promised to everyone and the lack of education about sex actually greatly contributed to bad sexual experiences on the wedding night
- It made an idol out of virginity, especially female virginity.
- It made value judgments about people based on what they had done or what had been done to them. Girls were told that they were like used gum, a dirty cup, a crumpled rose etc if they had any sexual experiences. The biggest problem with that was there was no differentiation or disclaimer for assault or rape so victims were being told they were damaged goods and no one would want them.
- Shame. So much shame. Even around things that shouldn’t be shameful.
- This idea that girls are at fault if boys sin sexually.
- Telling boys that they were created to sin and are nothing more than sexual animals
- Shaming girls for having female bodies
- Treating girls as objects
- Blaming girls for the mistreatment and abuse that happened to them “well what was she wearing”
This list could go on and on. A simple google search will show you countless articles and resources about this. Please educate yourself.
The fact that so much has been written on the harms of purity culture, and people still don’t get it, is so frustrating to me. And I still see people defending “purity culture”, as if all it was was telling people that sex was sacred. Nope.
And, yes, shaming rape victims and making girls feel like their worth is in their hymen and making them feel like if boys assault them it’s there fault–that’s super hilarious.
2. Those who hate purity culture were often their biggest believers.
When Joanna looked at the data, she noticed something interesting. The people who are most likely to reject wholeheartedly purity culture now were often the biggest believers in high school. They are the ones that purity culture harmed.
And who still clings to the messages? Those who weren’t harmed.
This is what is called “survivorship bias.” If it didn’t hurt you, you likely still believe it and stayed in the same church circles. If it hurt you, you left. That means that the church circles where people still believe it become more and more cut off from people who were harmed by it–because those who were harmed have all fled.
The people who are writing about the harm done by purity culture are largely not writing it because they are “hussies.” They are writing it because:
- they have vaginismus;
- they married abusers;
- sex was terrible;
- they were sexually abused in church and no one believed them;
- they have huge body shame
- They were victims of date rape and didn’t realize it for years and blamed themselves for “losing” their purity
And so on and so on. We explained all of this in She Deserves Better, with data.
Purity culture stole something important from women. And to portray women who don’t like purity culture as “hussies” who are out for penicillin and abortions is not funny.
It is insulting. It is cruel. It is evil.
We need to get the word out about the difference between purity and purity culture, and that purity culture did harm.
And so I’m glad that the Kindle version of She Deserves Better is on massive sale for all of January! It’s on for just $2.39 on Amazon right now, and it’s on sale at Barnes and Noble and more too!
Even if you already have it in print, now’s a great time to get it on your kindle so you can search for keywords and find things easily and text and email passages easily.
And while you’re at it, unfollow the Babylon Bee. They don’t deserve you.
Why do you think people still make fun of purity culture critiques? Let’s talk in the comments!