Tag Archives: purity ring

2014’s Cultural Battleground – Kat’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

jianghomeshibannerThe Jian Ghomeshi scandal was a big deal for most Canadians. Ghomeshi felt like someone we all knew, someone who had been a regular presence in our homes (and cars) as long as he had hosting Q on the CBC.

In October, the CBC put pressure on Jian Ghomeshi to go on a leave of absence. Shortly afterwards, he wrote a post on Facebook accusing the CBC of firing him over his preference for rough (but consensual sex). Many fans believed Ghomeshi when he claimed the women who had accused him were liars who just wanted attention.

Given his popularity, I understood why people jumped to defend him when the first few allegations of sexual violence came out, but there was something about his Facebook post that just felt wrong. It seemed unlikely that anyone, much less more than one person, would make a sexual assault accusation just for attention. As I started to do my own research on the topic, I quickly realized that false rape reports are so rare that they are almost non-existent, and that the tendency to believe Ghomeshi over his (at the time) anonymous victims spoke to a much bigger systemic issue.

injusticesystembannerIt’s really hard to care about how terrible our justice system is unless someone close to you has gone through it. In this post, I discuss some of the things I noticed when I visited someone close to me during his stay in jail. Despite firmly believing that this person deserved to go to jail, that experience opened my eyes to the way prison (and the bureaucracies surrounding it) take damaged people and make them ever worse. As someone who works in special education, it made me even more angry to realize just how many of the adults in prison are individuals with special needs.

problemwithpuritybannerThe conversation around the purity movement tends to be very divisive; feminist websites like Jezebel have called it creepy, while many Christian communities staunchly defend the practice. Since I consider myself both a Christian and a feminist, I wrote this post to point out the really great intentions that are (usually) behind the purity movement, while still drawing attention to the damage it can cause.

duckdynastybannerAfter the Duck Dynasty star spoke out against homosexuality and was kicked off his show, my Facebook wall started to fill up with “I support Phil” memes. This made me really, really angry.

Having grown up Evangelical, I understand how many Christians feel they cannot accept homosexuality as something that honours God. Personally, I no longer accept that dogma, but I can understand it. I didn’t even write this post to argue with that branch of theology. I wrote this post because I was furious that Christians are happy to defend a millionaire because he broke his contract and got kicked off his TV show, but are unwilling to acknowledge that homosexuals are being killed and actually persecuted all around the world.

voluntouristbannerI’ve written many posts that address the Christian community. I do this because I still consider myself a member of that community, and I want to call out the issues that I believe are distracting from the message of love we claim to be sharing. Despite my many critiques of the church, some of the most amazing people I’ve known are Christians. I wrote this post about my experience living in a missionary community in Niger, where I was surrounded by people who I truly respect.

This post also addresses “voluntourism”, since my own selfish motivation to move overseas was something I felt personally convicted about during my stay in Africa. Recently, however, the discussion of the voluntourism trend has made westerners afraid to express interest in foreign aide at all. I believe both extremes can be damaging to international relationships.

Looking back, it’s sometimes scary to think about how much I have shared with you guys. It’s always a vulnerable step to publicize our personal opinions, it’s even more so with details about our personal lives. Intimidating as it can be, I’ve loved how many amazing discussions the blog has opened up in my life. Your comments (in person and online) have helped me reevaluate my own biases, and challenged me to think more deeply about the social, religious, and political issues we love to debate here at Culture War Reporters.

So here’s to a fantastic year. I can’t wait to see what the next one brings.

– Kat

The Problem with Purity (When Christian Values Distract from the Message)

I wore a purity ring throughout my teens. It was pretty easy to honour the contract I associated with that ring because I only dated once during that time and pretty well never saw my boyfriend outside of a group setting.

When I started having more complex relationships in my 20’s I suddenly began to realize that “purity” was a more complex idea than I first thought. At what point was I “giving myself away”? Did I need to Kiss Dating Goodbye if I wanted to hold to this contract ( a topic Evan has touched on in previous posts)? Or did I just push the line as far as I could, as long as I could “technically” tell people I was still a virgin (a practice Elisa critiqued in a past post)?

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to a couple different conclusions about the purity culture trend than what I first believed. I don’t want to make it seem like all sexual restraint needs to be thrown out the window. I do, however, want to take a look at some unpleasant consequences of the purity movement, and consider why they came about.

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Kids Those Days

Twilight Spoilers, if that’s something you care about.

This topic was dated when I wrote about it for my other blog a year ago, August 16th. That being said, you’re going to have to think about popular trends that occurred quite a while ago, no easy task when popularity ebbs and flows as it does nowadays.

A little before my original writing on this subject, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and the Twilight novels were all the rage. I’m going to say right now that it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, with the hopes that what I’m about to say will back it up.

Every trend has its own share of supporters and critics. In this case, everyone everywhere (on the internet) was aghast at this cultural phenomenon that had befallen us. We (a collective we) were disgusted with this slurry that had become every teenage girl’s obsession, and we took every chance we could to denounce and deride Meyer’s novels, the Jonas’ music, and so on.

It struck me one day, however, what exactly we were doing. A lot of the issues that people were nitpicking (and deriding) were tenets that I not only agreed with, but that I lived by as well.

In Twilight Edward refuses to have premarital sex with Bella, and is adamant that if they are to go any further1  they must get married first. The Jonas Brothers wear purity rings to symbolize their commitment to, well, being pure.Lo and behold, these two items were brought under the most scrutiny and were mocked excessively.

So I questioned why, when girls finally had a half-decent role model, they were being ridiculed. Post-nowish Miley Cyrus didn’t wave the banner of blatant sexuality that former It girls Britney and Christina did,3 and that alone would have made me more comfortable letting my daughter obsess over her than many others.

From this point on in my original post I began to write about the Disney/Family Channel, but I’m not headed in that direction this time. What I want to focus on is the spirit of snarky judgementalism that seems to be permeating our culture. The constant search for what to demean and deride next, without any thought as to what good it may contain.

Yes, there are subjects which I will not defend [The Westboro Baptist Church, for example], but for the most part I’d like to call for moments of discernment whenever a target presents itself. Feel free to slam the Jonas Brothers for their musical ability, but leave their spiritual beliefs out of it.4 We should be able to consider that which we belittle and why it is we think so little of it.

To summarize what I’m trying to say, there was a point where people observed the fanatical, obsessive manner in which (pre)adolescents were throwing themselves at certain figures. In backlash against this behaviour they ridiculed their role models, yet targeted attributes which may not have been harmful for young people to mimic.

Be judgemental of those who garner the interest (and obsession) of many, but be smart (and civil) about it.

1. Than their creepy, unnatural kissing where she finds it difficult to find the air to breathe.

2.  Meaning, in this case, to save themselves sexually for their future wives. 

3. Not any more, though. You can’t release a single called “Can’t Be Tamed” and get away with it.

4. And their health issues. People made fun of Nick Jonas for being diabetic. I mean, why?