Pinky Promise

My college is rather progressive. We are a small liberal arts institution with a  focus on the individual. We specialize in collaborative knowledge through social exchange .  We have a feminist club and a Choice USA branch. We are diverse and, as a whole, more on the liberal end of the spectrum. I love my college and I couldn’t dream of being anywhere else.

But no matter how progressive we seem we have a Pinky Promise branch on campus. This means there is an organization where young girls pledge to be good christian women and in the name of  God  promise their fathers they will remain virgins until marriage.

But that was me paraphrasing. What does Pinky Promise say they are? According to their website:

Pinky Promise is…

A promise to honor God with your body and your life. To refuse to give your body to anyone that hasn’t paid the price for you called marriage. It’s a promise to stay pure before God in EVERY single way. It’s a promise that says, I won’t test the boundaries in my relationship to see how far I can push it sexually–but instead–I want God to have my heart.
 
It’s a promise to God that you will honor your marriage convenant. It’s saying that I promise not to step outside of my marriage, cheat on my spouse and that I’ll work through every issue.
Thanks for joining Pinky Promise. Find a group or start a group in your area, and lets encourage each other and build a bond between sisters in Christ.

On the surface it seems to be teaching good values: value yourself, don’t cheat, love God. Yet, I don’t know where to begin.  The program seems to be teaching abstinence only sex education focused around the purity myth. According to this, you can love and value yourself, but only on the basis of your virginity.  This extends not only to how you view your own self worth, but how your family views you (as you are making a promise to your father-or other male relative) and worst of all how God sees you. Tying this organization into religion is what stuns me. I do not believe religion is an evil and even if I did this would not be the place to insert my own religious views. I bring religion into this dialogue because  in this instance religion is being used as a means of control to oppress women.

The religious aspect of virginity is all part of a power game by the male dominated religious leaders who read and interpret religious texts through an oppressive lens and then let their interpretations trickle down to those of their faith as the word of God.

At its core though, the Pinky Promise movement is just another way to deny women the right to own their sexuality. For a woman, sex is for making babies not for pleasure. For men it is just the opposite. Which brings me to the point that Pinky Promise is not against sex: if they were they would have both men and women pledge to be chaste. Instead this is just for women. Women having sex is apparently a scary thing. It is, according to such abstinence only pledges, the woman’s role to keep both her own desires under control (because she obviously has a lower sex drive than a man-not in fact true) and control the man’s desires as well. From this flawed logic, it is her fault if she has sex, or is raped because it is her worth on the line and her responsibility to keep herself  pure until marriage. Why this purity matters and why virginity is being used as a test of morality is never explained.

In addition, the entire organization only accounts for straight Christian girls. What about bisexuals? lesbians? If the logic is that women must be pure until marriage, what about those who can’t legally get married and where sex is considered to be something different than male-female intercourse? What about asexuals? By these ideas are we just eternally moral or is there a point where we become to old to stay the chaste virgin? What about Jews? Muslims? Buddhists? Hindus? Are we not all women and therefore all under this umbrella of purity?

There are too many unanswered questions. In addition Pinky Promise has a limited scope and is not fostering communication with God as they claim. They are instead communicating with the patriarchy to keep women uninformed about their sexuality and using the principles of Christianity to enforce this control.

I have written to Pinky Promise but they have not gotten back to me. I will write again. I’ll talk to the organization’s leaders on campus and open up a dialogue. I only ask that you speak out as well. Be informed and be proud of your sexuality. Women are not less sexual than men, no matter what lies we are told to keep us quiet and chaste.

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3 thoughts on “Pinky Promise

  1. Pingback: What’s a campus feminist to do about Pinky Promise? « Knitting Clio

  2. Pinky promise movement is based on Christian values. It’s not forcing women to purity but rather encourages women to purity.
    Also as a matter of fact it has a brother movement called “The Oath” that also encourages men to stay pure.
    Biblical purity is not just about the gender , in the bible we are all called to a life of purity, not just women. Just because the world has tried to make purity for women only and control them doesn’t mean that’s what Christianity actually teaches. It seems to me you’re putting all religions under one umbrella.

    Pinky promise is a Christian movement and it doesn’t have to accommodate everyone’s beliefs and practices. After all joining it is not compulsory so there is no reason to turn it into a secular movement. Christian movement = christian beliefs, Hindu movement = Hindu beliefs

    • Thank you for letting me know about “The Oath” as I was not aware that organization existed. It was not my intention to put all religions under one umbrella and I apologize if it appeared I am attacking Christianity. My purpose in writing this was to explain how pushing purity as being virtuous is just another way of slut-shaming, honing in on the virgin-whore dichotomy, and creating an environment where sexuality is feared and seen evil. My issue with Pinky Promise is that it encourages these values that stand in the way of sexual freedom and expression.

      Thank you for your comment and I appreciate hearing your point of view.

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