I’m Dani Kelley,

and I do lots of things.

Tag Archive for Telling Stories

As dumpster fires go.

I’ve been sitting here for a good 10 minutes, just staring at the screen. Occasionally typing a sentence or two, then deleting. The words I want to say aren’t words I feel I can say yet, and so I choose to be silent. Much like I have most of this year, if you’ve noticed. On January 18, I left my…

The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture and Shame.

I had a very eye-opening conversation with my mom recently.

We were talking about my marriage to my ex, and she asked me if her hunch was correct that I’d have married him anyway if my parents hadn’t given us permission. (You see, in our iteration of purity culture, even as a 22-year-old adult, I needed my parents’ permission to marry.)

I thought a moment and answered honestly: yes, I would have still married him. Then I clarified, “I honestly thought I had to.”

“You didn’t get that from us!” Mom responded in astonished confusion. “You don’t have to marry someone just because you slept with them.

Let me state up front: that’s an entirely true statement. I agree with it 100%.

And yet it was my turn to be shocked.

Because that statement flew in the face the entire narrative of my first 20+ years of life..

The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture Edition

Purity culture: a definition.

As defined by the excellent No Shame Movement,

Within the conservative Christian context, purity culture is simply the view of any discussion of things of a sexual nature outside of the context of heterosexual marriage as taboo.

Those with in purity culture must adhere to a strict heteronormative lifestyle that forbids most physical contact with significant others, as well as engaging in self pleasure, or holding lustful thoughts about another person that is not a spouse. This view is generally enforced and policed by the family and church community. Purity culture includes an insistence on female modesty and responsibility to shield boys and men from sexual temptation.

To be blunt, purity culture is distinctly religious and sexist at heart. As Dianna Anderson states, “Purity culture is, in brief, the linking of religious piety with virginal status, particularly in young people, and the association of sin and shame with sex.”

As such, it operates with an awful lot of assumptions about the world and how people do and/or should belief and/or behave:

My body is magnificent.

We’re coming upon the New Year — and that means a dramatic increase in the onslaught of marketing about weight loss, dieting, exercise, and getting a better body. But what makes a “good” body? I suggest that everyone has a Good Body by virtue of having a body. Whether you’re thin or fat, able-bodied or disabled, struggling with an eating disorder or body dysphoria, white or any minority that’s never celebrated as much as whiteness is — you have a good body.

And I want to help you celebrate it with this shirt.

Of masculinity & abusive breeding grounds.

Of Masculinity & Abusive Breeding Grounds

This post originally appeared on Plymouth Brethren Dropout on May 26, 2014. An updated version appears below. It’s been just over a year since the tragedy at Isla Vista that prompted the original penning of this post. So many things have happened since then that illustrate the points made herein, including but not limited to: the largely “secular” ongoing hissy-fit that is GamerGate…

A tale of male entitlement.

This complete stranger, in the span of 90 seconds, demonstrated that he felt entitled to a) my attention, b) my possessions, c) my goodwill, and d) my body. 

My clear reticence for social interaction didn’t matter. My body language regarding my pencil didn’t matter (considering he literally pried it from my hand). My disinterest in stroking his ego was the highest affront, to which he responded by touching me without my consent (and prolonging his touch when I physically pulled away).

People. Don’t do this. It’s super not okay. Respect personal bubbles. Don’t force people to interact with you when they’re giving every indication that they’d really rather not. And don’t take their stuff while they’re using it — that’s kindergarten level stuff. AND DON’T TOUCH ANYONE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD.

The journey in and out.

There had always been a disconnect between what I was taught and what I observed and experienced, between blind faith in invisible things and repeatably testable evidence. But as a child, as a teen, even into early adulthood, I wasn’t given the words to recognize the disconnect, or even the tools to inspect or deconstruct my beliefs to see if there was any merit to them outside of wanting them to be true.