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Reclaiming My Body and My Life: Healing From Purity Culture

If we took the definition of “virgin” to mean “not married, not belonging to a man—a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’”.  How would you or I utilize this meaning of virgin to construct our perception of ourselves?

In order to understand the contextual environment and effects surrounding the phrase “purity culture”, one should delve into the etymology of the words virgin, purity, and culture.  Culture is often generically defined as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization”.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines purity as “the freedom from adulteration or contamination”.  Pure, virgin, and chaste have, at times, been used interchangeably.  Virgin has frequently been used to describe young females that are sexually pure or untouched by a man.  But what if that wasn’t the only definition of virgin or...

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