An eye-opening first look at the problematic effects the Evangelical Christian Church’s purity culture has had on young women. In the 1990s, a “purity industry” emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual “stumbling blocks” for boys and men, and any expression of a girl’s sexuality could reflect the corruption of her character. This message traumatized many girls—resulting in anxiety, fear, and experiences that mimicked the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—and trapped them in a cycle of shame.
This is the sex education Linda Kay Klein grew up with. Linda Kay Klein has spent her career working at the cross section of faith, gender, and social change. A Midwesterner at heart, she now lives in New York City with her family.