Maybe you have seen this blog post floating around Facebook… The one titled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos.” It’s on a blog called “The Transformed Wife.” And like me, you might have even taken taken a few blindingly infuriating minutes to read it. Chances are good you’ve at least seen it — It has approaching 100k Facebook shares (which is a lot), but the hopeful part of me — the part that enjoys my sanity — insists that the VAST majority of those shares come from people who share it in the way someone might share a picture of two people being married by a minister in a KKK hood… or a story about finding an actual live stegosaurus living behind a Pizza Hut. You know, shared with a kind of Horrified, Hilarious, Outraged Fascination… Shared in a “Would you get a load of this crazy shit?” sort of way.
Certainly, though, there are a good number of people who shared it because they actually agree with what the author was saying. The post was accompanied by a stock photo of an attractive, young, lily-white woman (whom we can only assume is debt-free, tattoo-free, and as virginal as the day is long), but the woman who wrote it is actually a grandma named Lori Alexander, who describes herself as a “Christian Minister and author.” And she has over 77,000(!!??!!) people who have liked her Facebook page. I, on the other hand, only have about 6000 people who have liked mine (which, by the way, you should like if you haven’t already. It’s RIGHT HERE). This fact alone feels like a direct attack on “the hopeful part of me that enjoys my sanity.” And again, maybe SOME of those 77k people might be there for the occasional horrified laugh… But no doubt there are plenty of people in the world who think the way this woman thinks, and whole-heartedly agree with her message.
I am not one of those people.
So here are three things I’ve been thinking about since I dipped my toes into the craziness that is “Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos.”
1) DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME
Here’s the thing: Anyone who is mired in a stage of human consciousness which allows them to read that article with anything but horror and hilarity and outrage is not going to have their mind changed by any sort of rational argument. The sort of person who agrees with an article like that (or the sort of person who WRITES it) is literally and necessarily YEARS away from the shift in their thinking and understanding that would allow them to comprehend how utterly asinine an article like that is. Trying to “debate” someone like that into rational thought is a waste of time. There are YEARS of work for them to do with deconstructing and deprogramming their harmful ways of thinking about who God is, what the Bible is, what it means to be human, and even the definition of a word like “Goodness.”
If you’re going to spend your time having a conversation about purity culture and misogyny and complementarianism, save it for someone who has shown you some signs of the ability for higher level thinking. When dealing with a person who has spent their whole life being brainwashed in a cult, screaming at them doesn’t help them. It’s a LONG process of getting them to a place of mental health where they can examine the foundations of their own flawed thinking. And when groups are interested in keeping people brainwashed, education is the enemy. Which leads me to Number 2…
2) THE REAL THING SHE WAS SAYING
When she talks about men wanting women who are “debt-free,” she’s really saying that men want UNEDUCATED women. You know, women who are unsullied by college and higher education and liberal ideas of “gender equality.” In the article she writes, “The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.” And since most women can’t go to college without some sort of college loans, men want “debt-free” women (though something tells me she would not be in favor of free college for all). Basically she is saying that women shouldn’t educate themselves because men prefer submissive wives who they don’t have to go through the trouble of reprograming. Again, if the harmfulness of this sort of worldview is not self-evident to someone, you’re probably not going to be able to “Rational Conversation” your way into convincing them.
And that’s not even mentioning the harmfulness of the “Virgins” part of it. The title reads like a search on a porn site. I mean, you can literally only have sex with a virgin ONCE… Then she’s no longer a virgin. And this fundamentalist focus on virginity (or even lack of tattoos) is nothing more than fetishizing an unblemished offering to the man. And what THAT does is it teaches girls that sex is a blemish… Instead of something natural and beautiful and good. Then, women are forced to make the often very difficult switch from “Sex = Bad” to “Sex = Good.” This whole “Purity Culture” process is just more reinforcement of the lie that it is what we DO which makes us worthy, rather than the truth that our worth comes from WHO WE ARE — The inherently infinitely beloved children of a benevolent creator, broken and beautiful, and pulled toward goodness… Not out of fear of punishment, but out of the recognition the Image of God in ourselves and in all things.
3) THIS WOMAN IS THE VICTIM OF ABUSE.
One last thing to think about: The woman who wrote that post is the victim of ABUSE. Imagine the years and years of programming… Imagine the layers and layers of shame and self-hatred she was marinated in… Imagine how deeply ingrained a sense of misogyny and second-class-ness a woman must have been forced into in order for her to be capable of writing something like that article. If you look at her (and the people who believe the tripe she is passing along) as people in BONDAGE, it makes it a lot easier to not hate them. Because that is very easy to do. But a conversation is way more likely to be successful where the goal is not in “proving someone wrong,” but instead in SETTING SOMEONE FREE. And wow… There are so many people in the world right now who need to be set free.
Thank you so much for reading. If you believe in my mission to set people free, and if you value this blog as a place that gives you encouragement, and if you’d like to support it, I have some good news for you: YOU CAN! You can become a patron on my PATREON PAGE. You can LEAVE A TIP on PayPal (and you can specify a post you’d like me to promote on Facebook). Or you can just support me by sharing my stuff on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER or as a response when you see that awful blog post pop up. Either way, stay brave, stay hopeful, and stay sane. Love you all…