Trigger warning for sexual mutilation and rape.
Linksurfing around, I came across this remarkable and moving little memoir about growing up in a household where the parents followed the teachings of a particularly popular fundamentalist guru with a real fixation on “purity”. I found it immensely sad, and at the same time revelatory.
As an atheist, I don’t know a whole lot about the internal experience of Christianity, particularly not the weird mutant strain this poor guy’s family had, but I know a bit. We in the atheist and feminist communities talk a good deal about how certain forms of fundamentalism demonize and damage female sexuality, and that’s certainly true. Girls who grow up literally thinking that showing an inch too much skin will result in instant rape, girls ceremonially “married” to their fathers until he hands them off like a football… the creepy runs deep.
What doesn’t get talked about as much is how these forms of repression also demonize and damage male sexuality. Sometimes that’s just in a simple Ozy’s Law kind of way, where the repulsive ideas about men are the logical corollary to the repulsive ideas about women, and other times, like in the linked author’s experience, it’s a lot more specific and awful. I think we need to start looking at how boys and men are getting warped and hurt by these ideas, and start calling that out in public.