Brave “Bookworm Beauty”

There I was, cooking up a Monday post, when I came across this blogpost.  After I read it, I thought, “I can’t write anything more heart-breaking, illuminating, disturbing, sobering or profound than this.”

So please have a read. It’s one woman’s painful experience in the church, and it deals with how the evangelical church does (and doesn’t) talk about sexual purity. And to me it’s a picture of what happens when a culture of privilege creates a context where women are made to feel like they have to protect the purity of men without the opposite being true.

To whet your appetite, here’s one of the closing paragraphs:

It’s really no surprise that I have come to believe that my body is a shameful thing, meant to be hidden, covered up, backed into corners. It’s no shocker that my conditioned response to men, young and old, openly ogling my body, is to internalize that shame, blame myself, and remain silent. It’s not a surprise to me, either, that thousands of women brought up in the paradox of strict evangelical modesty/purity culture and the hyper-sexualization of American culture have developed such an unhealthy relationship with their bodies. Whenever I hear of someone else admitting that they’ve struggled with an eating disorder or self-harm, I don’t think How awful! I think how normal.

And how tragic. In the church and in the larger culture, we need new ways of talking about purity, ways that involve both girls and boys, women and men.

What about you? What feelings emerge for you as you read this?

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