Purity culture

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Purity culture is a term often used in relation to the American evangelical movement that attempts to promote a biblical view of purity (1 Thess. 4:3-8)[1] promoting virginity before marriage and so-called purity pledges, purity rings, and events such as purity balls. Since the 90s heyday of evangelism, the term has seen increasing usage among Minor Attracted People, the sex-positive movement, paraphilia activists, sex educators and sex workers, and in these instances, it is often applied to broader cultural trends such as #MeToo and inflexible/doxaic Child Sexual Abuse discourse.

For example, actress Catherine Deneuve co-signed an open letter in the French daily Le Monde, criticizing #MeToo as puritanical:

This frenzy for sending the "pigs" to the slaughterhouse, far from helping women empower themselves, actually serves the interests of the enemies of sexual freedom, the religious extremists, the reactionaries and those who believe — in their righteousness and the Victorian moral outlook that goes with it — that women are a species "apart," children with adult faces who demand to be protected.[2]

The move towards using puritanism and purity culture as criticisms of broader social phenomena is somewhat interesting, as it may serve a confluence of differing interests, for example, Queer people and traditional MRAs. It is also indicative of American conservatism's slow capture since the 1980s, wherein its fundamental tenets are being exposed and deconstructed following the undermining of its superficial positions. For example, conservative politicians no longer campaign exclusively against homosexuality, but do fight for the right of parents to subject young children and teenagers to religious conditioning and purity culture.

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