2 Comments

  1. What upset me about the original article is what I see as the corollary for young women who have lost their virginity, whether willingly, by force, in a moment of weakness under pressure from a boyfriend, or whatever other circumstances. That “it would have been better if I had died.” I’m positive that is not what Dr. Marshall meant but I know from experience working with young women that is how this idea can manifest itself. The shame and guilt do not necessarily disappear even after the sacrament of Reconciliation.

    I just think sexual sin happens in a completely different climate, culturally, from all other sin. I can’t think of another grave sin that the culture actively celebrates and that messes with your head in the same way. And the whole “fathers being personally invested in their daughters’ virginity” (which, again, I do not ascribe specifically to Dr. Marshall) is just as problematic – because, if she makes a mistake, or is in a coercive situation – then what? Now there is the further guilt over how she has disappointed her father?

    I strongly believe that the best way for fathers to help their daughters is to celebrate all of the ways they are beautiful that have nothing whatsoever to do with their sexuality.

    • Dorian’s concern is the one that struck me. In the non-Catholic Christian women’s blogosphere lately, there have been two posts that stirred up a great deal of controversy for taking the Christian establishment to task for exactly this idea–that purity, a holy and praiseworthy thing in itself, can become an idol. People screw up. They aren’t worth less afterward because of it. And, like Dorian, I’m sure that’s not what Dr. Marshall was going for. I think he’s got a good idea going, but all ideas have the potential to be taken to the extreme where they are no longer healthy. I was hoping to find reactions on his blog about what people had found objectionable, just because I was curious–but I didn’t see them there.

      I don’t know that we can divorce our daughters’ sexuality from these topics; I think sexuality is viewed with far too myopic a lens these days–it’s more than chastity and reproductive issues. Sexuality, through the Theology of the Body lens, is tying sexuality–i.e. masculinity and femininity–to the entire Christian life. In other words, how we view the world is deeply impacted by our masculinity or femininity. That’s beyond mere purity, chastity, etc. So I don’t think fathers and daughter CAN address things separate from sexuality. But we also can’t make all of life a long lecture on purity. It’s really easy (I know from experience!) to grow up with a really twisted vision of sexuality if it’s not handled carefully.

      Here are the big posts I’m talking about:

      http://www.elizabethesther.com/2013/01/virginity-new-improved.html

      and

      http://deeperstory.com/i-am-damaged-goods/

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