I’m Taking Back My Body (The Female Body in the ‘Purity’ Culture)

Main Article Content

Ligia Cruț

Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the American purity movement by examining how the female body became part of an ideology offered as the most viable solution to moral and cultural crises and how this generated counterreactions from the members of the evangelical community (insiders and outsiders alike) since the evangelical discourse on body with its gender-based expressions produces schematised gender constructions and toxic forms of masculinity and femininity that generate confusion, shame and guilt. The four American writers mentioned here (Dianna Anderson, Bromleigh McCleneghan, Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey) agree that biblical womanhood is a myth; a woman’s body is not what “purity” culture suggests it should be; human sexuality is more than premarital abstinence and a set of rules; sacredness is not the appanage of marital sex. The red thread of all four writings is given by the non-dualistic thinking (rejecting Neoplatonic dichotomous separation between body and spirit) that asserts women’s right to body ownership, a sexual ethics based on consent, mutuality, safety and respect, gender equality and partnership. Anderson, McCleneghan, Evans and Bessey are also among the fiercest contesters of the “purity” movement, an American evangelical movement that reduced purity to its genital dimension and salvation to purification of sexual desire.

Article Details

How to Cite
Cruț, L. “I’m Taking Back My Body (The Female Body in the ‘Purity’ Culture)”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 1, June 2021, pp. 117-28, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-1-0191.
Section
Articles
Author Biography

Ligia Cruț, Collège Immaculée Conception, France

LIGIA CRUȚ studied French, English and Romanian literature and language at the University of Bucharest and Ștefan cel Mare University of Suceava, is interested in gender studies from a feminist perspective and successfully defended her thesis titled ‘Body and Corporeality in Evangelical Linguistic Practice’ in 2020. She currently teaches English at Collège Immaculée Conception (France) and works on a book based on her PhD thesis.

References

Anderson, Dianna E. Damaged Goods (New Perspectives on Christian Purity). New York: Jericho Books, 2015. E-book.

Bessey, Sarah. Jesus Feminist. New York: Howard Books, 2013. E-book.

Evans, Rachel Held. A Year of Biblical Womanhood (How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012. E-book.GALLAGHER, Sally K. “The Marginalization of Evangelical Feminism.” Sociology of Religion 65.3 (2004): 215-237.

Harris, Joshua. I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 1997. Print. LELWICA, Michelle Mary. Shameful Bodies (Religion and the Culture of Physical Improvement). New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. Print.LOOKADOO, Justin. Dateable. Are You? Are They? Grand Rapids (Michigan): Baker Publishing Group, 2003.

Mccleneghan, Bromleigh. Good Christian Sex (Why Chastity Isn’t the Only Option – And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex). San Francisco: Harper One, 2016. E-book.

Moslener, Sarah. Virgin Nation (Sexual Purity and American Adolescence). New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Smith, Christian. The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. Grand Rapids, Mi: Brazos Press, 2011.