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Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity Hardcover – February 10, 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
I welcome the boldness and clarity of Anderson's proposal, and her critiques of extreme purity culture and evangelical sexism are convincing and devastating. However, if we shift our attention away from this critique of purity culture and toward Anderson's own proposed sexual ethic, we find a position that is virtually indistinguishable from that of pretty much any educated, non-religious, socially liberal American in the 2010s. How is this a distinctly Christian sexual ethic?
I offer the following as impressions rather than citation-backed arguments, and I invite others to read the book and determine for themselves whether these concerns resonate.
1) Selective and Ad Hoc Interpretation of "Proof Texts."
Anderson's approach to scripture is to identify and undercut key "no sex outside marriage" proof texts by appealing to mitigating contextual factors. She is fairly convincing in subverting OT texts, but her readings of the NT seem strained and, at best, suggestive.Read more ›
Damaged Goods is not an easy book to categorize. It is at times a very personal and brutally honest memoir of one woman's life, particularly in terms of her own sexuality, her life growing up in the Evangelical culture of the last three decades, and how Evangelicalism's embrace of purity culture impacted her and others as they tried to live faithful Christian lives at the same time that they matured and had to deal with their sexuality as they grew from girls to women. Anderson tells us about her own experiences, including her eventual realization that her own sexual orientation was that of bisexuality. But she also interviewed a lot of other women in researching this book. She tells us some of their stories, and sometimes lets them speak for themselves by quoting them. If these stories don't tug at your heart, you don't have one.
But Damaged Goods is also about history writ large, at least over the last couple of hundred years, as that history impinges on our experience of human sexuality. Anderson is right to point out something that not enough people understand: the real “sexual revolution” began much earlier than the 1960s, and occurred in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. As she correctly notes, the nuclear family that only really came into its present form in the 1950s was something completely new, not the “traditional family” at all.Read more ›
Anderson covers many problems I myself have had with purity culture for quite some time. The idolization of virginity, the denial of a female sex drive, the animalization of men, and the overall shame and misinformation that comes with discussing sex are critiqued here. I especially loved that she addressed the issue of consent and how victims of rape end up being shamed by rhetoric that is basically "either/or". Either you are a virgin and thus godly and better than everyone else or you are not a virgin and it doesn't matter what happened, you are less and dirty. This is an extremely damaging logical fallacy that we Christians need to stop espousing because it shames victims of sexual abuse, something God would never do.
She also dealt with comparisons that, while well-intended, end up communicating worthlessness and fear. For example: you are like a piece of gum. If you are involved with a boy (even just dating) and break up, you have been chewed. And nobody wants a piece of gum that has been chewed. While I don't think the people that came up with this had evil intentions, the reality is it breeds fear of the opposite sex and leads women to believe they are worthless if they made a "mistake" or were raped or molested. It also isn't biblical. Where does God say to not love others and if you do it diminishes your worth?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book claims Christian ethics, but bases information on personal experience and personal ethics--she even SAYS to base your ethics on your personal experience. Read morePublished 6 months ago by heatherlea17
I really rated this 3.5 stars but couldn't rounded up to a four.
WHERE I'M COMING FROM
This is a religious, progressive themed book. Read more
While I agree with many of the views Dianna has, she has very little Biblical evidence for her views, which I bought the book hoping to see. Read morePublished 11 months ago by hanchandehen
Somebody is really mad about something. "Could someone please tell me how to get the last three hours of my life back?" -Every white male everPublished 11 months ago by Aaron M Sheffield
Great book! I love that the author recommends researching the information for yourself and not just talking her word for it. Wonderful perspective!Published 12 months ago by amy mattke
This is a book about developing Christian sexual ethics that are based in loving our neighbors all the while focusing on the narratives of the marginalized: women, people of color,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by S. D. Lowery Beyer
Solid first outing. I look forward to seeing what she has to say going forward. That said, the lack of an audiobook version and the ability to lend seriously detracts from the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Brooks
First, some disclosure: I am not a Christian. I ordered this book because I am interested in the dynamics between feminism and the current evangelical church, and since I too, grew... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amanda French
Damaged Goods is thought provoking book. Having just finished it, I recommended that my wife read it and when she gets done for our 15 year old daughter to read it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by S&J