“It’s genius, really. Shame women into being chaste and tell them that all they have to do to be ‘good’ is not to have sex. For women especially, virginity has become the easy answer — the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a ‘good’ (i.e., moral) girl and therefore worthy of praise… However, equating this inaction with morality not only is problematic because it continues to tie women’s ethics to our bodies, but also is downright insulting because it suggests that women can’t be moral actors. Instead, we’re defined by what we don’t do—our ethics are the ethics of passivity. Perhaps it’s true that in our sex-saturated culture, it does take a certain amount of self-discipline to resist having sex, but restraint does not equal morality. And let’s be honest: If this were simply about resisting peer pressure and being strong, then the women who have sex because they actively want to—as appalling as that idea might be to those who advocate abstinence—wouldn’t be scorned. Because the ‘strength’ involved in these women’s choices would be about doing what they want despite pressure to the contrary.”—Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth (via cocknbull)
I don’t usually write much about my family or my mother, but this piece just went up today and I wanted to share, because it’s a little more personal than what gets published on this blog. It’s a first-person essay I wrote for AOL’s women’s site, Lemondrop:
When I announced on my blog that I didn’t believe in marriage, I expected the typical reactions: Don’t you want a ring and proposal? (No.) Will you ever trust your partner’s commitment to you? (Yes.) What about children? (What about them?) I got those questions, along with some comments in support of my views. But what I didn’t quite anticipate was that a random commenter would insinuate my beliefs were “f**ked up” because of the way I was raised... [read on at Lemondrop.com]
I don’t think most people in the First World realize that romantic love is a luxury and a privilege. It’s not something that my parents got to indulge in. Their conception of love is totally different from my own. I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago, but being only one generation removed from a life of poverty and hunger absolutely affects my views on the way Western society constructs concepts like “romance”. But if I don’t believe in marriage or “the One” or any of that, it’s not because my parents divorced. In fact, I spent most of my childhood totally buying into all that chick flick crap, precisely because it seemed so perfect and wonderful. Someone who would love me forever and ever and also throw jewels my way? Sign me up!
At some point, I grew up and realized that none of that shit matters. My parents didn’t have a wedding; they didn’t even have wedding rings. But if they did, would that have prevented them from splitting up? People place emphasis on the wrong things. I’m completely, utterly, sickeningly in love, but I will never ask of Patrick an engagement ring or a marriage contract. I’m happy with just love, this elusive thing we got in exchange for capitalism.
Love is a luxury, don’t ever forget. It’s rare and it’s fragile and it’s something you can only pursue fully when you don’t have to worry about how to feed, clothe, and educate your children in a foreign country where you have no money or marketable skills. Now that both my sister and I have become adults (albeit, young ones), I can only hope that it’s a luxury my mother can finally afford.