Men Guarding My Purity

Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006

Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006

By Lupe Martinez

Why do some men want to control women’s “purity”?

I was reading about Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, who was almost stripped of her crown due to:

substance abuse, failing to make Miss USA promotional appearances, chafing at other obligations and nonstop nightclubbing at Big Apple hot spots.

Being dismissed for substance abuse and failing to make obligations, I get. But nonstop nightclubbing? What’s the problem?

Donald Trump, the pageant’s co-owner, eventually came to her rescue, granting her a second chance.

Later, he gave her permission to pose in Playboy.

I read about Tara in The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti. She points out that when Trump determined that Tara could keep her crown despite a fast life, and when he determined that she could appear in Playboy, her immodest ways were not the problem. The problem was that Tara was in charge of herself, instead of Trump being in charge of Tara. Some men just want to be in charge of women’s purity.

Even today men may flaunt their sexuality and make “conquests.” Yet women must still be restrained, and are called ho’s and sluts when they aren’t.

And while there is no argument about whether men should be able to use a little blue pill to enjoy sex, various conservative, male-led legislatures find The Pill morally repugnant.

It comes as no surprise to me that young women can grow to be ashamed, and at times even afraid of sexuality.

I have been a victim of negative connotations of virginity

I, admittedly, have been a victim of the power of negative connotations of virginity, or the lack thereof. Maybe because I come from a more conservative, Latina background I was hit harder than other girls who were raised in America. But after the first time I had sex I drowned myself in guilt and shame. I doubted everything that had just happened. I thought,

This wasn’t supposed to happen that way; I shouldn’t have done it with him; I won’t be able to marry in a white dress anymore; I wonder what he thinks of me now; the whole school is going to find out…

As these phrases filled my head, there was another thought that would not leave me peace: “My parents are going to think I’m worthless.” The worry was so intense that for several months I literally put my head down when having any sort of conversation with them.

I eventually realized that it wasn’t them setting the “standard of virginity,” but the society they grew up in.

Although my mother and I are of different generations, we share the same experience of oppression when it comes to our sexuality. Only she had it worse. Her teenage years were so squeamish that the word sex was frowned upon even between doctor and patient. I, fortunately, have more tools to overcome the repression.

Why do some men want to regulate a woman’s every move, disciplining her if she gets “out of line”?

I don’t know the answer to that. But it feels oppressive. And I don’t think that celebrating sexual males while shaming females helps anyone.

This is a rerun. The post was written by one of my students, who asked to use a pen name. 

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 7, 2016, in sex and sexuality, sexism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I just don’t understand how Americans are so prude

  2. So damned ugly to see the process in question. Trump granting personal permission must have seemed to some enlightened, but it just continues the pattern of control.

    …ick!

  3. It seems to come from the dominating attitude that we have inherited. But, yes, there is no proper reasoning as to why.

  4. Well this isn’t about purity, but I saw it on a fb feed and thought it was good. It’s in relation to demeaning things though and I thought it was funny as in Ellen’s sarcasm and humor with it, not from the actual product. She dragged a company for their demeaning product for women, but it was funny, because well as you know Ellen Degeneres is funny as she is a comedian. Her wittyness was great though and I thought I’d share as you’ll find this funny I think with Ellen’s witty humor and comments in this part on her show.

    She did blast them lol, but Bic deserves it, that is demeaning, I mean wtf? ha

  5. Not just men, women too raise their daughters with the societal values, which emphasise on Patriarchy being the supreme!

  6. Oh, you will find this ‘protecting women’s purity’ notion stronger among the Asians. Patriarchy is a deep-rooted thing here.

  7. I think that one of the reasons of why men wants women to be virginity or pure is their father hood. I have seen many fathers who don’t wants their daughters to have boyfriends. My father is one of them too. Especially elder men have a desire which their daughters is their daughters forever.
    And also teachers of my six-year secondary school, girls’ school, always said “Be pure. Be honest.” The principal and vice-principal were male. When I was in the school, I didn’t like them very much because I felt they tried to control us and make not women who can success in society but women who do everything men want.

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