Academics sure are bad at talking about abstinence, huh

lol nothing like a little academic reading on “purity culture” to reopen some old baggage

[cn: conservative Christian talk, anti-ace stuff, discussion of rape (fictional and political)]

Dawn’s abstinence stump speeches illustrate how virginity is quite often constructed as both a sign of women’s moral worth as well as their exchange value in a patriarchal marriage economy

You got the second part right, but “virginity” being a “sign of women’s moral worth” is necessarily an incomplete picture. I swear, it’s like people forget that the full phrase is “abstinence before marriage.” Abstinence before. Before! Beeeefooooorrreeee. If the abstinence continues after marriage, they’ll be calling you an unloving monster.

This whole “it’s a sign of women’s moral worth” business is so extremely conditional on a spousal teleology, this is as bad an oversight as saying something like “heteronormativity idealizes men who have lots of sex” while failing to specify “sex with women.”

Dawn’s initial reaction to her rape also reveals the toxic interaction between feminine purity and rape culture. […] Dawn tells the audience at an abstinence rally that she cannot lead them anymore: “Yesterday I could have done that because yesterday I was pure.” […] Dawn’s guilt stems from the overinflated value fundamentalist Christian organizations assign to the preservation of pristine female bodies…

I can tell by reading between the lines that you understand this ideology involves blaming her(self) for her own rape, but why don’t you just come out and say it? The “purity culture” you and the movie are critiquing doesn’t just condemn and degrade Dawn for having sex/no longer being “pristine” (??), it condemns her for sex having happened to her, regardless of her own (non)consent — it does not adequately deal with, and can even absolve and enable, sexual abuse and assault, based on the premise that women are supposed to earn their decent treatment through the appropriate performance of modesty (ergo if a women becomes a victim of violence, then no matter the circumstances the fault lies with her for not doing enough to prevent it). That’s the most exploitative part to this scene — why are you dancing around it? It’s literally key to your main argument.

[after a bunch of plot and rhetorical analysis of people describing sex/sexual debut as a “precious gift”]

Despite the latent antisex ideologies that accompany legislative efforts to restrict women’s reproductive freedom–

How can you look straight in the eye at something you know is anti-woman/misogynist (and uses “gift” as a euphemism for vaginal sex) and still call it “antisex.” Why are you like this.


Quote source: Casey Ryan Kelly, 2016. “Camp Horror and the Gendered Politics of Screen Violence: Subverting the Monstrous-Feminine in Teeth (2007).” Women’s Studies In Communication 39, no. 1: 86-106.

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