Print Blog Article

Virgin-Shaming

Tue, Mar. 04, 2014 Posted: 08:07 AM


Today’s culture certainly has a schizophrenic view of sex. In today’s culture, there exists both shaming virgins for being virgins and shaming non-virgins for having casual sex. I’m not talking about gender double-standards, although they still exist. I’m talking about the double-minded attitudes toward and within the same gender.

Modern society is so contradictory. There is virgin-shaming. I can understand why this corrupt society shames virgins. Sexual promiscuity is falsely portrayed as independence, freedom, and empowerment. However, women are also shamed as being sluts. Why does society contradict itself at every opportunity?

In the past, women were expected to remain virgins until marriage. If they did not marry, then they were still expected to remain virgins and to die as a virgin because sex was only for marriage. In the 1960s and 1970s, many women decried virginity as patriarchal and oppressive or repressive. To have sex before marriage became considered a good thing, a form of empowerment. Today, the main group of people encouraging sex within marriage only are the Christians.

Like slut-shaming, virgin-shaming involves making fun of someone for their personal choices regarding sex. But while slut-shaming has become increasingly frowned upon, virgin-shaming remains fairly acceptable, and can be a form of veiled religious bigotry.

    While most virgins are Christians or of other religions, virgins can also be atheists. However, the atheist virgins are often accused of being religious and repressed.

Although I have never experienced virgin-shaming personally, society’s shame of virginity is everywhere in society. At a certain group, I talked with a scared 15-year-old who was still a virgin and felt terrified on whether or not to lose it with a high school friend. I gave the 15-year-old my best advice to remain a virgin until marriage and why virginity until marriage is so important.

That virgins are frowned upon and scorned by contemporary society is everywhere in the media. People come out of the closet to announce their virginity. Abbey Carney wrote an article titled: “I'm A 22-Year Old Christian Virgin And I'm Saving Myself for Marriage” because such a title in itself is now shocking to audiences. Carney captioned a bike-riding picture with “Virgins ride bikes and do all the same things that non virgins do, except have sex.”

In 2012, Arleen Spenceley wrote an article for the Tampa Bay titled “Why I'm still a virgin at age 26” in which she begins her article with

I like to talk about sex.
This is natural for a woman who grew up in a culture that surrounds us with it, who is the product of parents who taught me no topic is taboo.
But few who discuss sex with me are prepared for what I divulge: I'm a virgin.
Responses to my decision to save sex for marriage range from awkward silence to sympathy and have included the following question: "Do you really want to ruin your wedding night that way?"

Arleen Spenceley is 28-years-old and still a virgin.

The virginity of athletes such as Tim Tebow and Lolo Jones makes news headlines. When TV actress Tia Mowry was interviewed about waiting for sex until marriage, ABC News titled the article about her “Tamera Mowry-Housley: I Lost My Virginity At 29” and that writer said that Tia “wasn’t afraid to confess” about her virginity and her decisions.

The website Jezebel decried Taylor Swift for being “patriarchy-friendly, virginal, good, pure, feminine, pretty blonde girl that has been an American ideal for decades” while another of Jezebel’s complaints was that Swift is a “carefree white girl singing heteronormative songs”

Virginity is freaky bizarre!

It is as though virgins are some type of sexual deviant.

Is virginity truly a form of sexual deviancy?

Movies and tv episode storylines have centered around the main characters’ quest to lose their virginity. In the story industry, virgins are often portrayed as immature and childish who need to take that step into adulthood.
Last month, Arleen Spenceley described an episode of Kirstie that she had watched:

I intended to call it a night but seconds after I settled on the show, what her character Madison said of her son assaulted me:
"Twenty-six years old and still a virgin . . . The elephant man lost it before that."
Naturally -- as a 28-year-old virgin -- I kept watching. Below are a few excerpts and beneath each, quick commentary:
1. "I've been having this problem with Arlo..."
In her dressing room (she's a Broadway actress), Madison vents to a co-star. The problem? Her son Arlo's virginity. I have a problem with that. For viewers, the line reinforces the misconception that not having sex necessarily says there is something wrong with you. Somebody's virginity isn't the problem. Somebody else's fear of it is.
2. "I know you're generous with your love."
Also in her dressing room, Madison recruits her understudy -- a blonde named Brittany -- to seduce her son so he can lose his virginity. The line -- clearly code for "I know you have a lot of sex with a lot of people" -- is an egregious misuse of the word love in a culture that doesn't need more misuses of it. Nothing connects promiscuity to love other than perhaps a misguided quest for it.

Arleen Spenceley describes the episode as it continues and thus further describes our culture‘s sexual schizophrenia. The main character’s son Arlo loses his virginity to a woman who is “generous with her love,” meaning she has plenty of casual sex with many different people, so Arlo‘s mother convinces her to have sex with him. In this context, sex=love. However, Arlo decides at the end of the episode to have more casual sex with different people, which his mother said was being “generous with love.” Arlo enters with a woman with whom he has had a one-night stand in his bedroom. Arlo’s mother says, “I see clearly that he has a type. . .dirty little whores." Perhaps Arlo's type of woman is the same type as the woman who he lost his virginity to.

Slut-shaming still exists, but what exactly is a slut in today‘s culture? How can sexual promiscuity be “generous with love” one moment and “whoredom” the next moment when it is the exact same behavior?

In another article last year, I had described incidents in which teenage girls succumbed to peer pressure and gave into sexual displays or lost their virginity. The other girls bullied them with terms such as “slut” and “whore.” However, today’s culture considers casual sex as empowerment and self-expression. Then, the thought occurred to me that slut-shaming in today’s culture has emerged as a form of virgin-shaming. Those girls who were slut-shamed had been coerced and pressured into sex. Because they were coerced and pressured, this means that they had wanted to keep their virginity. Those girls wanted to remain chaste. And the slut-shaming is a cruel taunting of what they had lost.

If these girls had not strived for chastity, would they still be slut-shamed? If they had participated in the same raunch culture as the girls who bullied them, would they still be slut-shamed? In this case, even slut-shaming could also be a veiled form of religious bigotry.

People are terrified of virginity - and celibacy in my case - because abstaining from sex shows self-control, and determination. Virgins refuse to allow their basic animal instincts to control them. Instead, those instincts remain under the virgin’s authority and will-power. Virginity - and celibacy in my case - is the complete self-empowerment and complete authority over one’s own body.

The common narrative that society spins is that humans are merely animals, but virginity, chastity, and celibacy declare otherwise. And this is one reason why people are terrified of it. The other reason is that virginity, chastity, and celibacy declare that casual sex is not empowerment. The real empowerment is in controlling one’s own instincts and impulses, and the real empowerment is what terrifies people.

Kae Am