19 October 2014

Virginity's just another word for something left to lose

Last week I crossed over into my 33rd sexless year. While this is mainly a source of wry amusement for me (insofar as I was ever particularly bitter about it I got past that long ago) when virginity has been a part of your life for that long it starts to form a little bit of your identity. So sometimes you get a little twitchy about certain things.

Of course, I am a little sensitive about mainstream caricatures of male virginity; I like genre fiction and games, and I may not be the most...successful person fiscally speaking. So although this is a little on the nose, we can ultimately have a good laugh about ourselves as anyone would.

However, while I'd expect “HAHA UR VIRGIN DWEEB” to come from the likes of third-rate comics, the increasingly-unfortunate young, hip, “social justice” internet has decided that “virgin” as a male slur is some kind of mighty blow against the patriarchy. And that is a bit of a problem.

Ostensibly, the use of “virgin” as a male insult by “progressives” is meant to signify that said person suffers from the disapproval of women. If you were a good, right-thinking progressive man women would be fucking you left and right. The lack of sex then is meant as a judgment on behalf of the world's women, that you have some fatal character flaw. To that end it's nearly always brandished as the supreme proof that the speaker finds some thought of yours sexist or misogynistic in some way; it must be true! The world's women have spoken!

It's an ill-fitting accusation for a number of reasons. Some are readily apparent. I've been fortunate enough to have a number of female friends over the years who, for various very good reasons, have never had sex with me. Self-deprecating humor about my romantic life aside, I don't think my virginity is indicative of some general female revulsion, or a lack of women voices in my life.

More peculiar, and more insidious, is the implicit endorsement of the mainstream cultural understanding of male virginity, that sexless men aren't living up to their gender expectations and in fact might not even be quite men at all. Women are meant to be virginal, and are condemned as “slutty” if they defy those expectations. Most progressives know that story. But it's necessarily complementary that if virginity is female behavior, then what virgin men are failing at is behaving like women. This isn't some kind of “reverse sexism” fantasy, they are entirely co-dependent.

This is especially regrettable to me because it isn't a new thing in my life. Ten years ago I became disillusioned with evangelicalism because of the restrictive box of masculinity where you were expected to fit. There's more to write about this element, but it's beyond the scope of this post, and also still quite muddled in my mind.