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

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Ligia Cruț


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.


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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.
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.


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