Washington Post Editorial by Ruth Everhart: Virgin Mary Offends Rape Victims By Her Purity – and Re: Internalized Misogyny or Sexism

Washington Post Editorial by Ruth Everhart: Virgin Mary Offends Rape Victims By Her Purity

This anti-Purity Culture crusade has taken on new insane heights.

Sexual assault victims who write anti-Purity editorials keep confusing the issues of consensual sex with rape and wanting to toss out all of sexual purity teachings, which is in error. I have written of this phenomenon before, such as:

(Link): Confusing Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse with Consensual Sex and Then Condemning Sexual Purity Teachings – and other, related topics

Related content by another author:

(Link):  We’re Casual About Sex and Serious About Consent. But Is It Working? by J. Zimmerman

Whether you like it or not, the Bible does say that Mary was a virgin, and that being a virgin is expected of both sexes unless or until a person marries.

I am over 40 yeas of age and am still a virgin – and I’m a woman. I was engaged to a man for a few years in my early 30s and had an opportunity to fornicate, but I resolved to wait until marriage. I broke things off with my ex and remain single to this day.

I do not appreciate anti-Virginity editorialists besmirching my choice to sexually abstain by belittling virginity itself, or by attributing my choice (made of my own free will) to “patriarchy.”

First, here are the pertinent links with excerpts, and I will resume my commentary below:

(Link): Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me by Ruth Everhart, Dec 2016, Washington Post

Some guy wrote a brief rebuttal of sorts to that editorial:

(Link): Washington Post Editorial: Virgin Mary Offends Rape Victims By Her Purity

8 Dec 2016

In an article (Link): titled, “Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me,” Ruth Everhart explains that especially in the Advent lead-up to Christmas, Mary becomes a problem for many Christians because of her pristine purity.

Mary “set an impossibly high bar,” Everhart writes. “Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.”

As a rape victim, this has been especially difficult for the author, she says, which led to her becoming a pastor, in order “to come to terms with Mary’s story.”

Everhart writes that she doesn’t blame her sense of ruin “entirely” on the Virgin Mary. In fact, it isn’t really Mary’s fault, she states; it’s the Church’s for manipulating Mary into a model of purity.

“Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story,” she writes. “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.”

…Never mind that you can attend a thousand Christian church services without ever hearing a sermon on purity. Never mind that virginity is rarely held up as a model in our sex-soaked western culture, even within our churches. Never mind that Christians have elaborated an entire “Theology of the Body” to help people appreciate the human body and sexuality as a beautiful gift of God.

…Yet, teaching young people the value of purity or to appreciate abstinence before marriage is no solution, Everhart contends. Purity is no model for today’s generation.

(( click here to read the rest ))

I have addressed several of the points in Everhart’s Washington Post editorial in previous posts on my own blog.

First of all, Christians do not make virginity into an idol (which is what Everhart seems to claim in her WaPo editorial, but it’s a frequent accusation by anti- Purity culture champions):

(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity or Sexual Purity or Modesty

Christians, back in the 1980s and there-abouts, did, at that time, teach kids and teens to wait until marriage to have sex.

However, the trend in the last few years, from what I’ve seen online, is the complete opposite: sexual sin and fornication are treated by Christians, both conservative and liberal, as though they are no big deal:

(Link):  Churches No Longer Teaching that Pre-Marital Sex is a Sin

(Link): Christian TV Show Host Pat Robertson Disrespects Virginity – Says Pre-Marital Sex Is “Not A Bad Thing”

(Link): Why So Much Fornication (sex outside of marriage) – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link):  Preacher Mark Driscoll Disparages Virgins and Virginity (Again) – The Feelings of Fornicators Always Take Precedence With the Anti-Purity Culture, Anti-Slut- Shaming, and Pro- Cheap Grace Crowd

(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re: Celibacy

(Link): Christian Preacher Admits He Won’t Preach About Sexuality For Fear It May Offend Sexual Sinners

(Link): I thought Christians “worshipped” virginity? Guess not: TLW (True Love Waits) Spokesman Says TLW Will NOT “Elevate Virginity” – Life Way to Relaunch “True Love Waits” Campaign

(Link): Christian Theologian Says ‘Love’ Is the New Cultural Apologetic Affirming Immoral Activities – Theology of Hurt Feelings – Why Christians Are Reluctant To Call Out Sexual Sin

 -and people who are actual virgins are shamed (by conservative and liberal Christians) for being virgins:

(Link): The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming

(Link): Where Are America’s Virgins? Discouraging the Virtuous by Julia Duin

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link):  No Longer Unashamed – editorial critiquing the problems with the Anti Slut Shaming or No Shaming Ever rhetoric

The entire concept of virginity has been thrown into the trash can, with many left wing type Christians on a quest to convince other Christians to completely do away with sexual purity teachings (which often come under the heading of “Purity Culture”), and even some right wing Christians have bought into this.

Here is just one example of someone who is somewhat left wingish wanting to trash the entire concept of ‘virgin until marriage’:

(Link): “Jesus Didn’t Die to Save My Hymen” Declares An Anti-Sexual Purity Advocate – My Response

We have some self-professing Christians who claim that sexual purity is not necessary at all, and that folks should be having sex outside of marriage, such as:

(Link): Emergent Christian Guy Says Christians Need to “Celebrate Pre Marital Sex” (Fornication)


Everhart believes that it is the patriarchy undertones in Christianity that has emphasized Mary’s virginity. From this sort of thinking, she, or others like her, seem to think the entire concept of virginity is an invention of the patriarchy, which totally invalidates my choice to remain a virgin.

I can’t believe that women who are feminists cannot see how insulting this view is, this mindset that says, if you are a female virgin, your virginity is not due to your own adult choice, but due to patriarchal programming.

(Link):  The Christian, Liberal, and Feminist Tendency to Intellectualize Away the Meaningfulness of Female Virginity

This is a lot like left wing women who attributed any and all female votes for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential elections to “internalized misogyny.”

At some point, you, as a liberal feminist, need to realize and accept the fact that just because other women do not share your views on every social or political topic or practice, that this means it’s always due to “the patriarchy” or “internalized misogyny” or to “women hating other women.”

By attributing any and all choices of conservative women, or women with traditional values, up to “internalized misogyny,” you are also, just like patriarchalists, infantilizing grown women.

You (liberal feminists) are saying women are incapable of making their own damn life choices UNLESS those choices totally line up with left wing positions, or else you are conveying that adult women need liberals to tell them what to think and do.

Who is to say that all left wing practices and views about the female sex are “pro-woman”?

I find some liberal positions ANTI-woman, such as abortion: under abortion, a woman can and will terminate (murder) a female fetus. How is killing a girl baby “feminist” or “empowering?” It is not.

Third wave feminists teach women that it’s acceptable for them to sexually objectify themselves and to be and dress slutty and use their sexuality to gain attention and favor,  when, in reality, all that behavior does in some cases is to ultimately cause disillusionment for women (see the secular dating advice book “He’s Just Not That Into You” for numerous examples, see also: “Anal Sex Ruined This Relationship“), it gains them broken hearts, dysfunctional relationships, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Not to mention, a woman objectifying herself plays into the hands of hetero men: it makes the women cater to the male gaze, so it’s not ultimately empowering but plays to hetero-normative sexism standards and assumptions.

Sometimes, left wing, secular feminists are all over the place on a topic, so they end up contradicting themselves – here is one example:

(Link): Secular Feminists: It Is Okay To Be A Slut But Not Dress Slutty For Halloween or for Companies to Sell Slutty Costumes -huh? Also: Wrong for men to objectify women but okay for women to objectify men -say what?

At one point in her editorial on WaPo, Everhart makes this comment:

For starters, I believe it’s impossible to be a good girl — meaning unblemished and pure — and also inhabit a body. It’s certainly true if you’ve been sexually assaulted, and may also be true if you are fortunate to not have been.

–(end quote)–

This gets back to the untrue trope that remaining a virgin past the age of 20 or 25 is “heroic” or impossible. No, it’s not. I’m over 40 and still a virgin, and I have a normal libido.

(Link):   Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals” (ie, it’s supposedly an impossible feat for any human being to achieve)

 Everhart writes (source, WaPo ed):

We want to pretend sexuality is something we can lock in a box and keep on a shelf. But a lockbox won’t work. Neither will a chastity belt or a purity ring. Certainly not the abstinence pledges they make young folks sign.

—(end quote)—

No, a chastity belt or a purity pledge won’t keep you a virgin until you marry, but your CHOICE and your SELF CONTROL will (again, I am speaking in terms of consensual sex).

I’ve been a virgin this long, into my 40s, due to self-control.

Anyone and everyone is capable of being sexually abstinent, but more often than not, they choose not to be.

God did not sprinkle magical Celibacy Dust on me which makes me impervious to sexual desire, nor did God kill my libido.

I still experience sexual desire – but I choose not to act on it. It’s nothing more complicated than that, and it is something anyone can achieve. (And I never wore a chastity belt, nor did I ever sign a purity pledge or wear a purity ring.)

(Link):   Self Control – everyone has it, is capable of it, but most choose not to use it

 Everhart writes (source, WaPo ed):

If you’re a woman, it’s [your body is] a complicated gift. But why does Mary’s story have to oppress women when it could liberate us?

—(end quote)—

Who says “Mary’s story” is oppressing women? I’m a woman, and I’ve never felt oppressed by her story.

Everhart writes (source, WaPo ed):

It [purity] does not have to mean unused, or sparkling white. Maybe the church could ask body-owners to weigh in about their experiences. …. Sometimes our bodies are at the mercy of others because the truth is that bodies are uniquely vulnerable, especially our sexual selves.

—(end excerpt)—

Yes, your vagina is supposed to remain “unused” for a penis entering it, until you are married: this is what the Bible teaches. The Bible is discussing consensual sex on this score, not rape.

Everhart writes (source, WaPo ed):

The world still needs to hear from Mary. What Mary gives us is the gospel — not a gospel of sanitized sexuality, but the gospel of incarnation.

–(end quote)–

Look, I’m a virgin over 40, and while I recognize that the Gospels mention that Jesus had no earthly father, and that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived via the Holy Spirit, I never once ascribed any of this to “sanitized sexuality,” or took this to mean that the Bible was “idolizing virginity,” or that the Bible was telling women who were raped that they are, or were, “ruined.”

The whole point of Jesus being born of a virgin had to do in part with the fact of demonstrating his sinless nature. It was more a commentary on Jesus’ sin-less-ness than on the virginity of women in general or even of Mary’s in particular.

I think that some sexual assault victims are allowing their personal experiences to color how they read the biblical text way too much, or to color how they hear sermons on sexual purity (if churches still actually teach on sexual purity these days, because I doubt many do).

Remaining a virgin until marriage, or at least being celibate after having once been sexually active, can be emotionally or physically safer or healthier for people:

(Link):  CDC Report: Virgin Teens Much Healthier Than Their Sexually Active Peers (2016 Report)

(Link):  Teenagers Given Condoms at School Likelier to Become Pregnant and Get STDs / STIs: 2016 Study

(Link):  Abstinence Groups: New Sex-Ed Study Misses Point of Urging Teens to Wait

(Link): Slut Shaming and Virgin Shaming and Secular and Christian Culture – Dirty Water / Used Chewing Gum and the CDC’s Warnings – I guess the CDC is a bunch of slut shamers ?

(Link):  Gonorrhea Super Strain Becoming ‘Untreatable’ (in the UK; may ben heading to the USA) – 2015 story

(Link): The itchy truth about Tinder: 750,000 people on the dating app are infested with pubic lice, scientist warns

(Link): Those Times When You’re Glad to be a Celibate, Single Christian – 2 [Herpes Dating Site] 

(Link):  Syphilis Sparks Concern in Popular Vacation City

(Link):  Actor Allegedly Gives Girlfriend Herpes 1, Herpes 2, and Gonorrhea

(Link):  Actor Charlie Sheen Says on TV News Show He Has HIV – also says he had unprotected sex with women 

I am sorry for anyone who has been sexually assaulted, but I don’t find the unfortunate existence in our world of sexual assault to be a reason to go in full-scale attack mode on, or denial of, the Bible’s teachings about sexual ethics vis a vis CONSENSUAL SEX.

I don’t find the awful existence of rape in the world to be a justifiable reason to twist and distort (or deny) the Bible’s teachings that both men and women are to stay virgins until marriage (i.e., context of consensual sex).

As I said before, I don’t appreciate my choice to stay a virgin, so long as I am single and choose to remain one, to be ridiculed, dismissed, or attributed to “the patriarchy” or to “internalized misogyny” by feminists or sexual assault victims.

I am over 40 years old and still a virgin, by choice – I wonder if folks like Everhart find me “offensive” merely for existing?

Related Posts:

(Link):  Why are young feminists so clueless about sex? by M. Wente

(Link):  Some Researchers Argue that Shame Should Be Used to Treat Sexual Compulsions

(Link): Benjamin Perry, Bi-Sexual Minister, Suggests that Jesus Is Bi-Sexual and Jesus Having Homo Sexual Relations with His Disciples Would Be Okay

(Link):   I Probably Wouldn’t Be Discussing My Sexual Choices If Other People Would Shut Up About Theirs

(Link):  Criticism of Purity Teachings by Christians via a Woman’s Personal Testimony

(Link): Are You Ashamed of Biblical Sexual Purity? by J. Slattery

(Link): Slut-Shaming Is Bad—But The Overreaction Against It Also Hurts Women by J. Doverspike

(Link):   Stop Pretending Sex Never Hurts, By D.C. McAllister

(Link):  Our Bodies Were Not Made for Sex by T. Swann

(Link): Hypocrisy From The ‘No Slut Shaming’ Crowd by C. Nance

(Link): Biblical Balance in Teaching About Sexual Sin – don’t white wash and downplay sexual sin, but don’t continually beat people up over it

(Link): Pat Robertson, Christian Television Host: (basically): Pre Marital Sex is Okay (or to be totally expected) Because People are “Sexual Beings”

(Link): Editorialist at WaPo Argues That Single Christian Adults Can Have Sex So Long As They are Chaste About It – Also Speculates that Jesus Was “Probably” Celibate

(Link):  Churches Would Rather Hear From Ex Porn Stars Than Adult Celibates or Virgins – Church Invites Ex Porn Star to be Guest Speaker

(Link):  Christians Want to Hold Adulterers Accountable but Give Adult Single Fornicators a Pass

(Link):  Did Hell Freeze Over?: Liberal Rag Promotes Idea that Celibacy is Acceptable, and a Valid Life Choice / Re: 2016 Study Says Millennials Aren’t Having Much Sex

(Link): Is Celibacy a Sin? The NYT Has a View – by W. Mead

(Link): I Shouldn’t Need An Excuse To Be A Virgin – (Secular Editorial Defends Virginity – More Rare Than a Unicorn Sighting)

(Link): Another cruddy Christian “Have We Made an Idol Out of Sexual Purity?” editorial (this time, from Relevant magazine) – And An Analogy For Married Christians Who Don’t Get It

(Link): Marcotte (secular, leftwing feminist) on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity

(Link): Salon Author Amanda Marcotte Thinks Media Shouldn’t Judge Women’s Sexuality But She Has Mocked Women Over Their Sexual Choices Before (To Remain Virgins)

(Link):  WashPost Columnist: ‘Ghostbusters’ Haters Are ‘Virgin Losers’ – (via NewsBusters Site); Both the Right and Left Wing Get Some things Wrong About This

(Link): Christians Not Only Accept Pre Marital Sex Among Adults But Are Also Now Accepting “Shacking Up” as The New Norm

(Link):  An Example of Mocking Adult Virginity Via Twitter (Virginity Used As Insult)

(Link): Are Christians Tossing Out Prohibitions Against Pre Martial Sex (radio show)

(Link): Virginity Lost, Experience Gained (article with information from study about virginity)

(Link):  The Trivialization of Sex (a post by A. Hamilton)

(Link): Why Sexual Desire is Objectifying and Hence Morally Wrong by R. Halwani

(Link): No Longer Unashamed by T. Harrison – editorial critiquing the problems with the Anti Slut Shaming or No Shaming Ever rhetoric

(Link): Sexual Equality, Sexual Decadence: The Emerging Menace of Female Predators – from The Other McCain – Also quotes feminists as saying Virginity Invalidates Lesbianism and is Hence a Terrible Concept

(Link): Mainstream Media Thinks Virginity is a Shameful Status, Not a Sacred Choice by K. Yoder

(Link):  Sexual Morality in a Christless World – Re: Book by M. Rueger

(Link): Editorialist at WaPo Argues That Single Christian Adults Can Have Sex So Long As They are Chaste About It – Also Speculates that Jesus Was “Probably” Celibate

(Link): Sometimes Shame Guilt and Hurt Feelings Over Sexual Sins Is a Good Thing – but – Emergents, Liberals Who Are Into Virgin and Celibate Shaming

(Link): I Shouldn’t Need An Excuse To Be A Virgin – (Secular Editorial Defends Virginity – More Rare Than a Unicorn Sighting)

(Link):  Sex, God, and a Generation That Can’t Tell the Difference –  Millennials Are the “Judge the Prude” Generation on Sexual Morality (from the Millennial Evangelical blog)

(Link): Are Most Churches Too Judgemental About Sexual Sin? (of the hetero variety)

(Link): Sometimes the Bible is Clear – Regarding Rachel Held Evan’s Post

(Link): Sex, Love & Celibacy by Christian Author Dan Navin

(Link): On Miley Cyrus Being Sexual at 2013 VMAs – Hypocrisy of Secular Feminists

(Link): An Open Letter to Male Virgins by Anna Broadway

(Link): Fornication or Previous Marriages Can Negatively Impact Other Relationships Later – Another Example or Two (via Ask Amy, Hax)

(Link): Nobody Bats An Eye at Condemnation of Hetero Sexual Sin – Observations from Duck Dynasty Controversy

(Link): Christians Speaking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths About Sexual Sin – Choices and Actions and How You Teach This Stuff Has Consequences

(Link):  Virgin Shaming: Hollywood’s Attack on Purity (by B. Bowen)

(Link): Inconsistency on Feminist Site – Choices Have Consequences

(Link): Virgins and Celibates are Sexual – Not Asexual and Androgynous – You don’t have to have sex to possess sexuality

(Link): Woman Says She Refuses to Hook-up with Men ‘For Fun’ – Says Most Men She’s Met Are Willing to Wait 

(Link):   Young, Attractive, and Totally Not Into Having Sex by K McGowan

(Link):  Bitter, Frustrated 22 Year Old Male Virgin [Elliot Rodger] Kills Several Women Because He Can’t Get Dates

(Link):  A Teen Boy Tried To Kill Three Women “In Revenge” Because He Was A Virgin – felt that women “were the weaker” breed

(Link):  Chris Harper Mercer (Oregon Gunman) Angry Over Being Single and A Virgin

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