Many have read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, if not read it, then at least heard of it. Although Hester was stigmatized as a whore for the majority of her life, that is not the only struggle that people, particularly women, may face. There are those who get stigmatized as a prude.

Although men feel pressured just as much as women, in our society, women are the minority and not men. Often, men are easily forgiven for whichever path of sexuality they want to take in their lives, even praised for it, while women either have to be the object of sainthood or lust.

It is disappointing that women are faced by the double edged sword of sexuality constantly. Ally Sheed in The Breakfast Club has stated that if a woman says that she has had sex, she is a slut, and if she hasn’t she is a weirdo.

One’s personal life should not matter to others, yet it contains such importance for those others.

The media screams to the heavens that sex is the basis of everything. Whether it is pornography, what is meant to be “tasteful” in marketing, or even virtually every film and television show ever made that has to include a romantic relationship in the mix of the story.

Religion and tradition has the tendency to place sex into the question of what is moral in our every day lives and in our every day society. Religion and tradition want to promote purity despite how, most of the time, even if one is a virgin, one is still not pure.

At a party, for example, there are usually two types of people who must be judged so easily by unintentionally evil eyes.

You have the “Good Girl,” who is a young woman who can have fun sober and socializing with others. Men might find her as a challenge, for giving their blessings of flirtations and offers of “drinks,” become empty when their words are useless and water is a good enough drink for this girl. Due to peer pressure, she may cross her arms in defiance towards the setting she is in, or she may take a sip or more of Malibu to please the men and women around her. She may have the urge to leave, in order to remove the negative connotation of “good” she wears as a gaudy necklace tonight.

Then, you have the “Fast Girl,” a young woman confident in her body and enjoys the taste of alcohol while socializing with others and having fun. Men might find her as a challenge because of how other men may have catered to her and how women may be jealous or view her as narcissistic with the attention she receives. Due to peer pressure, she may stop drinking, or become more drunk than usual as she drowns her sorrows into other people through dance and isolation, or she may simply leave. “Slut” is not a great accessory to be strangled by tonight.

The fact that women must choose only one of these two archetypes that have such baneful and uncomfortable purposes, is wrong.

The word “good,” is obviously a positive term. However, when using it to insult women for choosing not to have sex or not to indulge so much in sex does not make it positive. And to describe a woman with high self esteem as “fast,” especially when she doesn’t cross the line between satiation and overindulgence, is hurtful and repulsive.

Everyone is entitled to use their bodies as they please. As long as they aren’t hurting themselves or doing it out of hatred or insecurity, that truth still stands.


One thought on “Womanhood

  1. I find the idea of purity culture troubling. It forces women to not only be responsible for their own sexuality, but for others as well. To a certain degre, we can control ourselves, but we can’t control everyone around us. And we also lose our self control when we aren’t really given any options in how to behave.


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