Gender & Identity, Life

Why do people judge my purity ring, but celebrate when men wear theirs?

Men are BRAVE for not having sex?

Purity rings.

I really wish a less jarring name would be used (I’m a virgin, I’m not pure; and “promise rings” and “chastity” rings don’t make them less jarring), but until then, that’s the name they’re given.

In case you’re not familiar, they’re the rings Christians wear to signify abstinence before marriage. Bear in mind, you will not find purity rings in the Bible, that’s because they didn’t become a thing until the 1990s. Not having sex before marriage is biblical, rings are not.

[bctt tweet=”Not having sex before marriage is biblical,  rings are not.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I would like to point out that I was not forced to wear a purity ring. When my dad gave me mine for my sixteenth birthday, I was given the choice of whether or not to wear it. I have already decided to be abstinent before marriage, but I also knew that this ring would display that personal choice. I believe reclaiming virginity, or as Laci Green calls it, “before your sexual debut,” is just as valid for women as reclaiming sexuality. I believe there is a lot more to my decision than religious reasons; I want to be awkward and be catered to by one person for the rest of my life, rather than experience with more than one person, or experience it right away.

People would ask, “Oh, are you engaged?”

I would respond, “No, it’s a purity ring.”

These are the various responses:

“Oh…interesting.”

“Oh, you know that won’t last very long.”

“Um…why?”

I have very few good responses about how people respect my choices. Now, when men, whether I know them personally or not, when they mention they have a purity ring, sure, there are a few who say “Oh, you know that won’t last very long,” to them, but this is what I mostly hear:

“Good for you!”

“Must be hard for you. You must really love God.”

“How brave!”

…How brave? Seriously? Men are BRAVE for not having sex? They’re not dying from being hormonal, goodness. It’s as if just as men are praised for having sexual prowess, men are also praised for their abstinence more so than women. That’s not fair!

[bctt tweet=”Men are BRAVE for not having sex? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

And if men decide to take their rings off, whether to break abstinence (I’m looking at you, Jonas Brothers), or to continue with abstinence without the constant symbol on their finger, they aren’t as speculated as women who decide to do the same.

“Well, men can’t help it,” Yes they CAN!

And it doesn’t help that when I asked my dad about whether or not my brother was getting a purity ring, that at first he said “He doesn’t need one.” I asked, “Excuse me?”

My dad shifted in his seat and changed his statement to, “I’m sure he doesn’t want one.”

I didn’t know I would be receiving one! My sisters were prepared because I got mine first, but still!

Yes, I happened to be happy with the unexpected gift, especially when my dad said “Remember I love you and Jesus loves you,” and if, one day, my ring happens to replaced by an engagement ring, that would be pretty special.

But we’re still in this age in our society where women are still stigmatized by the virgin/whore trope, especially for those who openly identify as religious. I’m not “brave” for my purity ring, and neither are men.

So, please, stop.