February 10, 2015
Writing for her Feminismxianity blog on Patheos, Caryn Riswold reviews a book devoted to people damaged by the well-meaning evangelical Christian purity culture. Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity is dedicated to those caught up in and hurt by a Christian subculture that pressures young people to attach their self-worth to virginity rather than valuing themselves as God does.
Thankfully, the dangers of focusing too much on sexual purity are increasingly being discussed. Even so, Ms. Riswold notes that this book is set apart by suggesting that evangelical purity cultures are complicit with rape culture: “In rape culture, women are punished for failure to behave properly. Purity culture punishes women for failure to perform [what is perceived as] femininity properly. The two form a mutually beneficial relationship, in which rape functions as a consequence for women who step outside the box of [this] femininity.”
Riswold believes that Anderson is trying to connect with the casualties of purity culture: “[It’s] for all the girls who have been damaged by the very community that purports to protect their honor. Because, in the end, ‘God’s children are never damaged goods.’”
And this is a message that we all can be blessed with.