“I’m convinced of this: Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story. Church culture has overfocused on virginity and made it into an idol of sexual purity. When it comes to female experience, the church seems compelled to shrink and distort and manipulate.”
~ Ruth Everhart
Earlier today I read Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me. A horrifying and beautiful account of one woman’s search for God after undergoing a traumatic experience.
Below are some excerpts, and the thoughts I had while reading them:
…it’s impossible to be a good girl — meaning unblemished and pure — and also inhabit a body.
You’re right. It is impossible. Why? We all fall short to some extent, either because of what others do to us, or because of what we do to ourselves.
It is possible to be a “good girl” in the sense that you make the most of the good and the bad that has happened to you, using it to deepen your understanding of yourself and your relationship with God.
It is not possible to be a “good girl” in the sense that, in all times and all places, you are the snow white model of innocence that the Church seems to want women to be.
For an example of “the snow white model of innocence that the Church seems to want women to be”: Modesty.
Why is it considered immodest for a woman to wear a bikini — clothing that covers the same areas that underwear covers — and yet it is not considered immodest for a man to wear a swimsuit that covers the same areas — their genitals and butt — that underwear covers? i.e., Both men and women wear swimsuits that cover just what underwear covers, yet one swimsuit (the woman’s) is frowned on, and the other (a man’s) isn’t.
Another example of modesty’s double standard: A man takes his shirt off while swimming? Nobody bats an eyelash. A woman takes her bra off while swimming? She is considered a hussy for doing what the man did — taking off their top off — for the same reason that he did: To experience the joy of having one’s top uncovered and open to the elements.
Is your body feeling quiet and clean and pure at the moment? Or is it hungry or noisy or smelly? Does it have needs? That’s what I suspected. Bodies are like that. Even bodies that don’t bleed or ovulate or lactate. … …I want you to be modest and good, yes, but also confident in your own skin.
Whether your body is menstruating, ovulating, or lactating, and whether you are showing all of it or are keeping parts of it covered, your body is beautiful.
There is nothing impure about the natural functions and needs of your body. And there is nothing impure about revealing your body.
And when it comes to being “modest and good” and “confident in your own skin”: A person who is naked can be more modest and more good than a person who is clothed.
See, there’s ‘birth canal’ in the same sentence with Jesus. To some that will be a problem. Why? Because to some people, vaginas are inherently dirty.
Body parts like the vagina are considered “impure” because of the thoughts of lust that the sight of such a body part could cause a person to have.
There could also be a medical basis for calling body parts like the vagina “impure.” The genitals are a hotbed for disease. Touch someone’s shoulder? Nothing to worry about. Touch someone between the legs? Wash your hands.