The Legacy of Patriarchy in the Modern Church
The focus of this paper is the ways in which patriarchy has historically bred gender inequality that infiltrates every level of society, from the macro systems to individual interactions. It creates a dominance system that rigidly defines masculinity as something distinct from femininity. Today, women are bombarded with conflicting messages originating from the sexual revolution and the Christian right: women are objectified and hypersexualized, but simultaneously supposed to maintain purity and modesty. This reality becomes the context in which young girls grow to understand their social roles and expectations, as well as the place from which they begin to form opinions and make decisions about their bodies. Many modern perceptions of virginity and purity are derived from historical conceptualizations of women, rooted in a patriarchal context; thus, a socio-historical analysis will be implemented as a reference point through which modem trends will come into focus. This is undertaken in order to illustrate that while American society has made noteworthy strides in women’s equality, modem purity culture’s rhetoric on virginity reveals that both the church and greater society still have great lengths to go.
Abigail L. Nawrocki, Patriarchy, Spring Arbor University, Gender, Sexuality, Christianity, Church, Sociology