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March 9, 2011 / missmarymax

Virgin!Roar: The Blog Carnival for Feminist Virgins.

(x-posted at Virgin!Roar)

This may shock you, but it’s reportedly pretty rough being a virgin. Raunch culture is spreading by day; girls are going wild by night. Comprehensive sex education keeps trying to hand the reigns over to its pal Ab-Only, but remains a bit eeked out by a few tiny issues. You know, the little things. Like unintended pregnancies. And STIs. And the whole Daddy-knows-best, sex-makes-you-dirty tone of Ab’s perspective.

In the midst of that mess, we virgins have to keep underscoring our purity to inforce everyone else’s corruption. We have to keep our schoolgirl plaid pressed and our oversized lollipops on hand. We have to rewrite our heathen feminist scripts into those of paternalistic religion. We have to abandon our slutty tendencies (like sleeping with queer theory texts and minoring in gender studies) in order to focus on the knowledge we don’t have. We have to remind the sluts out there that they’re inevitably going to shrivel up from the parasites exchanged during dirty, dirty sex, and remind everyone that sex is only supposed to exist in a context of childbearing, heterosexual, marriage. All while defending against the constant accusation that we don’t actually exist.

It’s a tad exhausting.

It’s especially exhausting, I think, for those of us who are feminists. Those of us who support sexual expression, who rally for queer and women’s rights, who understand that virginity is a social construct, yet live it — daily — as a reality. It’s particularly exhausting for those of us who bear no resemblence to the image of virgin identity, appropriated by others’ for uses not our own.

While we–as virgins–constantly encounter the culture’s perception(s) of virginity, we’re rarely asked to weigh in on them. In her phenomenal history of virginity, Hanne Blank notes that our culture allows little (or no) space for virgins to discuss our experiences. Instead, it allows nearly everyone else–from doctors to politicians to priests to teachers–to speak on our behalf. In other words, while our (lack of) behavior is alternately applauded and pathologized, while our “purity” is used to emphasize others’ “corruption” (or undermined by our own), while virginity stories are played for comedy (in films) or tragedy (in politics), they are very rarely told as virgins would tell them.

And they are almost never told by virgin feminists. It might be that sex-positivity inherently requires sexual activity, (although I doubt it). It might be that abstinence-only culture defines “feminism” as synonymous with (and responsible for) raunch culture and general sluttiness, while positioning virginity as the only truly empowered alternative. (That sounds more likely.) It might be the backlash against the proliferation of anti-sex feminism during the second wave or something else entirely, something not yet identified. But regardless of the reason, there remains a silence. A silence of feminist virgins, which is being filled by the voices of anti-woman pundits and “[a-certain-construction-of-]sex-sells” marketers.

Short version? Staying silent as virgin/feminists doesn’t keep our stories from being told. It simply keeps them from being told by us.

So. I’m throwing a carnival. A blog carnival, specifically, for feminist virgins of all stripes. It’s a chance to amplify our voiced experiences, to quit being spoken for and start being listened to.

If you want to join the fun — by offering up your own perspective on life as a virgin feminist or by (reading) along with those who do — hop on over to the FAQ and learn what you can do. Speak. Speak before you’re spoken for.

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7 Comments

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  1. Ily / Mar 9 2011 1:32 am

    This is super-cool! Is it your project? I think I’d like to participate. 🙂

    • missmarymax / Mar 13 2011 3:48 pm

      Mine. And others’ too, I’m hoping! 🙂 I was crossing my fingers that you would. Woot!

  2. slightlymetaphysical / Mar 9 2011 1:00 pm

    Yay. This sounds awsome. I’m considering whether I have enough to say about being a male asexual feminist virgin, but I’m sorely tempted to sign up.

    By the way, you may want to talk to the people at http://theamericanvirgin.blogspot.com/ , who would definately be interested in your project, and would probably know where to find a good number of feminist virgins.

    • missmarymax / Mar 13 2011 3:48 pm

      Yay! I’m going to go out on a limb that there’s a lot to say about the intersections of those those identities–masculinity and virginity alone are full of topic fodder, no? I hope you’ll follow through on the temptation. :)… As for the American Virgin, thanks so much for the suggestion. I saw that blog ages ago and was fascinated, but had completely forgotten it. It’s a great idea; I’ll definitely get in touch with them.

  3. Adrienne / Mar 16 2011 3:15 pm

    I am of the opinion that modesty or virginity shows confidence in and control of one’s own sexuality.

    • missmarymax / Mar 23 2011 6:47 pm

      In which case, more power to you. For me, though, perspectives like that always prompt the question: Why is this part of identity, specifically, something that needs to be controlled?

  4. michelle / Nov 24 2012 5:42 am

    this is my body and I decide what to do with it.the purity idea kills the women and girls,it’s so brutal and overestimated.I don’t like it even the idea of marriage is like a disaster to me.

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