The Virtue of Chastity, The End

I come to the end of this exploration. Somehow I expect I will continue to niggle at it now and then as our societal mores ebb and flow over time. We have seen these passages across generations though perhaps never so forthright, so in our face as today. Perhaps I am just showing my age when I say I am offended by the acceptance of degrading language and the flagrant sexualization of our young women.

Since 1968 and my brutal awakening to what the loss of virginity meant I have spent the greater portion of my life defining my personal ethos. How my peers viewed and treated me, how my female role models treated with me and most important how males responded and reacted to me was critical to how I defined my value. Not values, not morals, not ethics but VALUE. Despite the times; Free Love and early definitions of Feminism did not extend to the underlying social characterization of “Good Girl” versus “Bad Girl”; you were one or the other nothing in-between, there was no gray area of moderation.

FanPop Image

FanPop Image

 Archetype Good Girl – Sandy  Archetype Bad Girl – Rizzo

I begin to understand my own version of what the truth of Chastity within the context of Virtue might be.

Women were caught up in our early success. We forgot perhaps that winning our entrance to full social membership did not change our fundamental humanity or our femaleness. What is different today is the images women have become more sexualized and the lines less firmly divided. We happily watch the antics of the beautiful and wealthy, even forgive their walks on the wild side. Those of us on more common ground are claiming the definitions are hollow while still attaching values to the central themes. Young girls laugh as men shout in song and even on the street the words of their dishonor, trying even to claim it for themselves in the mistaken belief it will take the sting out. Perhaps create honor where there is none.

Young women emulate the dress and behavior of their role models albeit on a smaller scale, as their resources allow. These fantasy lives of their heroines played out in magazines and reality television fuel imaginations and hallway conversations. Young girls imitate the dances seen on videos, meant to demean and entice, without understanding either. We applaud the antics of Toddlers in Tiaras as three year olds dance to music and imitate the dance moves of ‘Video Vixens’; have we lost our minds?

Image Rock102online

Image MSNBC

 Madonna in her version 1990  Two-year old Mia with her mother 2011

Women of great wealth and beauty, women who might be our sisters, our mentors and our champions yet have few accomplishments beyond their ability to charm agree by their silence our only value is the imagery of sexuality, including simulating masturbation and sex acts as forms of entertainment. This then is the reality of our diminished value . We have accepted the image and our young girls imitate it gleefully, all too often with parental consent. Go to any High School sporting event and watch as cheerleaders dance to music with moves themed to entice and emulate the sex act, to what end?

What do our young girls find to model? It isn’t the woman of distinction in arts or science, in math or literature. It isn’t the women who stood up for their rights, who distinguish themselves with their contributions to our history or our present day, these are not who are lifted up in media, not the women our daughters emulate in the classrooms of America, not the women spoken of in song.

Image Wikipedia

Image Wikipedia

Image Wikipedia

 Stephanie Wilson – Astronaut  Gabrielle Giffords – Congresswoman  Maya Angelou – Poet & Civil Rights Activist

My conclusion is we should value Chastity not because it is demanded of us by standards that would see us less than our potential. Chastity itself is greater than the mere attachment of a hymen certainly and its loss does not devalue us as women. There is duplicity in the idea that women are not free to choose partners outside of the social contract of marriage without being labeled “less than”.

There is a reason we should value our own Chastity, to me it is the simplest reason of all, because we value ourselves. When we invite another into the inner sanctum of our lives we are bestowing something upon them sacred. Not sacred in religious terms but rather in fundamental female terms, this is our core this is who we are as our most secret and exposed selves. As women we are vessels of life, of compassion and empathy; we are that place of peace and succor. Our invitation is not to be taken lightly or diminished in the light of day.

The idea that Chastity as a Virtue can be socially defined and thus our bodies and souls become the battleground for our future psychosis is ultimately what has been central to my exploration.  Have I been successful at solving the problem? No, certainly not but perhaps in my exploration I have in some small part begun to find some recurring themes for my own life.

Comments

  1. Thank you Mimosa, I hope you will read more of the Chasity series.

  2. Hmmmm, how to use?

  3. Thanks Jon – I appreciate both that you read it and the compliment.

  4. One of which I look forward to your views. my dear friend.

    Red

  5. Lara’s first point is indicative of the pervasiveness of one of my points in Part II: The character of a woman is judged by her sexual actions. While I vehemently deny the absence of sexually irresponsible and sexually reprehensible behavior, I vehemently deny the presence of redeeming sexuality. The mere practice of chastity, concurrent to or following virginity, is not a virtue as there is nothing inherently immoral in the act of sex.

    To assume sex has morality would be to deem sex something beyond a physical (as in biological, chemical) and emotional (psychological and chemical) function. One must assign it a societal significance as yet unproved. Beyond the judgmental (which I question) members, who see those sexually active outside their personally acceptable parameters as reprehensible and/or irresponsible, I do not see society demarcating sex as prohibited.

    That said, I do see society attaching morality to irresponsible and reprehensible sexual behavior, but that behavior is codified: sexual abuse, sex with children, rape, involuntary sex, sexual slavery, non-consensual sex, non-consensual sodomy, sexual battery. However, when the judgment shifts from the criminal to the victim, those claiming the moral high ground in their judgment are the immoral, to the point of being slanderous.

    Notably, the common perception when “irresponsible sexual behavior” is uttered flashes images of women with multiple children of different lineages without the sires present and prostitutes. Herein, I find immorality, but not with the choice of the sexually active.

    Shy dictatorial regimes, societies are marked by their laws to define the social acceptability common to the largest number within the society. As yet, today’s society has not deemed chastity a societal virtue uniformly accepted enough to be codified, either in the prohibition of premarital sex or the limitation of sexual partners on any level, procreation or otherwise. Ironically, not even prostitution can be uniformly codified, as inhabited camps seeing the benefit and harm are not in the majority across the society as a whole.

    Val, I think you and I fundamentally agree, albeit in different presentation (and level of ire). Another example of reaching the same destination by alternate routes without proclaiming one more “virtuous” than the other.

    Always engaged,
    Red.

    • I suspect we do agree my friend, as I suspect we arrive at our agreement differently. The point of the exploration though was twofold;

      1. Just to look at the entire issue of the Virtue through the lens of social ideology.
      2. To look at through the social ideology and how it affected my personal views.

      I believe, though I likely could have spent months and thousands more words on the subject I did both. Whether I accept the outcomes, the reality is socially there remains an underlying value base that still judges us as women by our actions. Whether we accept the basis of the judgement or not, it exists. Whether we accept the standard or not, it exists.

      If we are humane enough to ourselves, we ultimately are able to shake off the shackles and conduct our lives free of the judgment. We can only then be Chaste on terms that make sense to us, as women and that is the virtue I sought to define not something externally acceptable to the masses.

      As to the rest, there is to me such an issue with what we say and do to our young women, that though is a subject for a different day.

  6. Antigone's Clamor says:

    I think you bring up a good point here. I’m not sure there really is much in between a “good” girl and a “bad” girl. It’s sad, because many “good” girls are considered prudes.

    “There is a reason we should value our own Chastity, to me it is the simplest reason of all, because we value ourselves.” <<this here is key. How can we expect ourselves to be taken seriously if we aren't conducting ourselves with dignity?

    • I think it goes deeper, I suspect there is an in-between which is we are simply women. Not good or bad, just natural women with natural instincts. You have made a great point about dignity, I would only ask the question though is it possible to be normal and still retain that dignity? I believe it is.

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