In her interview in the context of her book “The Purity Myth,” feminist Jessica Velanti says she finds it “awful” that through their insistence on sexual abstinence before marriage, virginity movements in America are promoting a “regressive message that the most important thing to women is getting hitched.” In other words, she pities girls who are expected to wait until marriage to “enjoy” sex. So while feminists like Velanti do not consider marriage as “the most important thing” to girls (I am not contending they should!), they apparently regard fulfillment of sexual desires, irrespective of the nature of means, as paramount to expression of women’s freedom!
Realistically enough, the touchy breed of feminists is quick to perceive any societal expectation from the woman as an encroachment on women’s rights. Consequently, while reacting to the calls of purity or chastity, they inadvertently misguide young ladies into believing that they should break free from the “bondage” of marriage because they have the option of having sex outside its confines. Such view would tend to further corrode the institution of marriage, which has already become a plaything for non-serious and non-committed couples. It is apt to mention here the prevailing norm of live-in-relationships that mirror the impact of crass consumerist culture: just as a return policy enables consumers to return the product they are not satisfied with, the live-in-relationship mechanism enables couples to “taste” each other to gauge mutual compatibility and to part company in the absence of satisfaction!
Feminists point out that virginity movements subjugate women by setting higher standards for them by expecting them to be pure and chaste. They, however, miss the point that virginity has wider connotations: it is a state of mind and stands for self-discipline; it is something which you would like to preserve for your spouse and you are not going to lose it to just anyone; it is something which encourages young people to recognize the higher priorities of life and to cultivate patience to wait until marriage.
One agrees that virginity should not become a tool of repressing women in any respect. Further, virginity should be an ideal for men and women alike. However, if males defy this ideal, should women follow suit on grounds of claiming “equality” with men? Is it truly the assertion for equality? And if females point to their own lack of self-control, then they should give a thought to practicing sexual abstinence without linking chastity to subjugation.
Of course, abstaining from sex until marriage should be a matter of personal choice. In fact, imposed chastity lacks the spirit of moral conviction. At the same time, we cannot let young girls or boys follow their whims under the cloak of personal liberty. In this regard, organizations like the AC Green Youth Foundation have taken up a noteworthy task of building the character of youth and encouraging them to practice sexual abstinence before marriage.
Youngsters brought up in families, which have had preserved the value of chastity, tend to take it for granted that indulging in sex before marriage is morally inappropriate. On the contrary, virginity is a debatable issue in a more liberal social setting. In fact, socially irresponsible media and entertainment industries as well as inappropriate peer influence impress on teenagers or youth that chastity is something that smacks of conservatism and that safe sex is preferable to abstinence. As such, the cause of chastity needs to be purged of ideological clash—it should be promoted on grounds of personal morality and individual and societal benefits.