Wednesday, June 3, 2009

THE FRIENDLY FEMINIST: The virgin standard

I learned what a virgin was at an early age. Have been raised in a strict religious household, I was conditioned to the rules and regulations of the Bible. Without question, I knew if there was one sin I needed to stay away from, it was fornication. My father made my sister and I well aware of an easy ticket to Heaven: remaining a virgin until marriage. It was always stressed that my worth rested in my virginity, or lack thereof.

As I got older, I realized other people didn't live up to this standard. Not because they weren't the strict Seventh Day Adventist my dad was, but because there seemed to be some double standard. Sexuality was expected and almost encouraged for males, but was taboo for females. Media portrayed ample evidence of this. How many teen movies display male sexuality as a moral ideal, or a marker for what constitutes a real man? How many of these movies portray a young girl who has engaged in sex as anything less than a slut, or a victim to high school swoon? Not to mention the countless songs by male artists boasting of their promiscuity-by the guys who don't want relationships, but relations. The message was clear: girls should not engage in sex-and if they do, it is a decrease in their worth. For males, it boosts it.

Like the many passive, obedient young women robots we find in conservative America today, I didn't question this. There are obvious reasons anyone should abstain. But they go for EVERYONE, so why are they only expected of women?

I'm all for the young women who resist this raunchy, hypersexualized culture. It takes great strength, right?

I'm NOT for internalizing this double standard. Virginity seems to carry a female persona. In almost every dictionary, a virgin is defined as:
1. Someone who has not engaged in sexual intercourse
2. An unmarried girl, woman, especially a saint (see for yourself)

A woman's worth or moral standard should not rest "between her legs," literally. What happened to ethics? Aren't women worth more than the sex they've had or never had?Now think of your high school. Think of the emphasis young men put on female sexuality.

It is too often females are seen as sexual objects. Truth is -- we're not. We're living, breathing, thinking human beings. Females, your mom or dad may say sex will degrade you. When done without discretion, it does. Sex, more or less, is not a measure of the value of a woman. So females and males -- don't use it that way.


  1. Well said! It's terrible that these stereotypes still exist into the 21st century!

  2. wow. This is precisely what I thought the media was thinking. I think about this, and I don't understand why it is that way. Maybe there's something technical to the reasons people think the way they do.