Purity Art

Sculpture of a vulva Credit: Nadia Bolz-Weber (link below)

A sculpture of a vulva, crafted out of purity rings, was presented to Gloria Steinem by Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber.

170 were donated for the project and were fashioned together by artist Nancy Anderson of SweetBird Studios. The sculpture depicts a vulva emerging from a ring of flame, alongside the word “Freedom.”

Purity rings are a longstanding symbol of the purity movement. These rings symbolize a promise to abstain from sexual activity before heterosexual marriage. Most purity rings are given to young women by their father figure during a community ceremony.

“I heard terrible stories about the impact sexual shame had on the members of my church – the harm in their lives and in their bodies from the toxic messages they were told were based on the Bible,” Bolz-Weber told Publishers Weekly. “We are reaching for a new Christian sexual ethic that’s not based on a standardized list of ‘thou shalt nots,’ but on concern for each other’s flourishing, letting go of shame.”

Image credit: “Sculpture of a vulva by Nadia Bolz-Weber,” Nadia Bolz-Weber, instagram.com/sarcasticlutheran.

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Issue 53

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 53, Summer 2019, Mothering.

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Issue 53, Summer 2019

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