Monday, November 27, 2017

Roy Moore Dating Teenage Girls "For Their Purity" is 100% Logical in Purity Land

Cats dressed as a bride and groom. Image source.
[content note: child sexual abuse]

So. We have to talk about Roy Moore. He's a Senate candidate who has been in the news recently because it turns out he sexually assaulted multiple teenage girls back when he was in his thirties. (However, even before this learning about this, we all already should have known Roy Moore is a terrible person. The Slacktivist sums it up well. )

Anyway, a pastor named Flip Benham came to Moore's defense, saying, "He did that because there is something about a purity of a young woman, there is something that is good, that’s true, that’s straight and he looked for that."

In some versions of purity culture, it is explicitly taught that it's good for teenage girls to get married to men who are older. In the strand of purity culture I learned, I never heard anything about that at all- though there was occasional discussion of "maybe we should encourage kids to get married really really young, like in their teens, to prevent sexual immorality." (I personally believe that teenagers having consensual sex is NOT sexual immorality, but parents pushing their kids to get married too young IS.) But I never saw that go past a philosophical discussion. The adults in my life who taught purity culture at least had enough sense to know that the vast majority of teenagers aren't ready to get married.

But even though I never heard anyone teaching "adult men should date teenage girls", I did hear discussion on the problem of finding a "pure" enough partner if one is in one's late twenties or older. I've read blog posts about "I'm 30 years old, I'm a virgin but the statistics say that I'm unlikely to find a spouse my age who is also a virgin- how can I deal with this problem?" Because yes, it certainly was treated as a problem. You follow all the rules and "stay pure" but "our culture is so sinful and worldly" so what if there just aren't any potential partners who are also pure?

In some cases, their solution to this "problem" was "God's plan is for me to marry this person who is not a virgin, so I can learn forgiveness." It was seen as a hardship that God would use to make you a better person- the hardship of having a spouse who has had other sexual partners besides you.

In other cases, the solution was "I am trusting God to bring me that pure partner, and I am NOT going to lower my standards." One time, I remember our pastor was telling us about this woman (let's call her Linda) in our church who had gotten married when she was 40 or so. He said, "Linda told me that she was looking for a husband who had never been married before, and I told her that wasn't realistic and she should be willing to date a man who's divorced or widowed. But she didn't listen to me- she said God told her she was going to marry a man who had never been married. And finally she met Bob and they got married- the first marriage for both of them." The pastor didn't mention sex in this case- but the point is, this story only makes sense if you start with the assumption that a person who has never been married before is by definition a better potential spouse than a person who has been married.

I never heard anyone solve the "problem" by creepily looking for high school girls to date. But, given the logic of purity culture, which says that the #1 most important indicator for a successful marriage is how little experience you had beforehand, that would actually be a perfect solution, wouldn't it?

Purity culture is 100% founded on the idea that the less experience one has with sex and relationships, the better a spouse they can be. They explicitly teach that if you had sex with a previous partner, then you'll never be able to truly love your spouse. Your ex will still "have a part of your heart." Forever. (Please note that this is complete nonsense.)

They even say "your virginity is the most precious gift you can give your husband." Seriously. I mean, look how laughable that crap is. I hold responsible every adult who did not interrupt and laugh them out of the room when they said things like that. I'm married, and I'm here to tell you that the most precious gift you can give your spouse is being a good and loving partner. It doesn't matter what you did in the past.

If it is true that virginity is the #1 thing that matters in a marriage, then, logically, it would be a good idea for a 30-year-old man to date teenage girls rather than date a woman his own age who has had sex. Again, to be clear, nobody I knew ever did that. Nobody I knew ever taught that. But they did teach that virginity is the most important thing, and they did discuss what to do about the "problem" of older single people being unable to find "pure" partners.

This is what happens when you teach that inexperience- ahem, "purity"- is the best thing you can have in a romantic relationship. You end up with an ideology that says the proportion of people who are suitable partners decreases with age. You end up with people defending predatory men in the name of "purity."

No comments:

Post a Comment