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The Solidarity of Womanhood | Jessica Nibbelink | TEDxNWC

Mar 30, 2024
Like many other children, why was it a very frequently used word in my vocabulary? The number of times I asked follow-up question after follow-up question was ridiculous. I had an insatiable curiosity that I'm sure often annoyed my parents, but there were just so many things that interested me about the real world, the taboos, the clichés, the things you mutter under your breath and the phrases that fade away without needing to be said. They all interested me. I was fascinated, curious and confused by these phenomena I stumbled upon. In daily life, a particularly interesting topic for me was women's stories, their experiences, specifically those that were not talked about or broadcast, really interested me, although between the bad dating stories and even worse puberty stories, I discovered that there was much more beneath the surface.
the solidarity of womanhood jessica nibbelink tedxnwc
I learned through others and firsthand that women experience a lot of hardships and heartaches and that it is treated as a part of the culture that should be overlooked and covered up. The tabs on sexuality and women's sexual experiences really baffled me, so no one was surprised when I started. In college I began conducting research on rape culture and purity culture. In this research I discovered that these unspoken taboos and clichés hinder the amount of


that women can find with each other and it is only when we are given the space to engage and fully recognize them that we regain that


to address this issue, we must first differentiate the culture of the violation of purity culture.
the solidarity of womanhood jessica nibbelink tedxnwc

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the solidarity of womanhood jessica nibbelink tedxnwc...

Rape culture, as defined by Barnett and her colleagues, refers to the broader and deeply enriched cultural attitudes regarding biological sex, gender, and sexuality that inform people's attitudes about rape across the rape. Sexual violence is assumed to be a fact of life and ultimately inevitable. The United States is considered a rape culture society because it promotes and encourages rape. It instructs citizens that it is normal and natural to experience sexual violence in sexual conduct specifically by citizens. For men, this definition is strongly tied to the idea of ​​rape myths, which are a specific set of attitudes and beliefs that can contribute to ongoing sexual violence by shifting the blame for sexual assault from perpetrators to women.
the solidarity of womanhood jessica nibbelink tedxnwc
Victims, although generally false, are widespread and very common. Persistent beliefs on the other side of this coin are purity culture. This is the term used for evangelical movements that promote the biblical view of sexual purity by discouraging traditional forms of dating and promoting virginity before marriage and supporting only heterosexual married monogamous forms of sexual activity. This typically includes abstinence-only sexual participation until sex until marriage, education, and applying shame and blame to sexual acts within my focus groups. I conducted focus groups of four to six women and asked them to participate in the question where they had experienced participating in questions about their lived experiences in purity culture, these questions ranged from thoughts while getting dressed in the morning to their ideas about purity. and how to navigate and create sexual boundaries.
the solidarity of womanhood jessica nibbelink tedxnwc
The Purity Culture Belief Scale set the framework for most of these questions. Each question addressed one or more of the components of the original scale, these components were shame and guilt, gender roles, and idealization of romantic and sexual relationships. The focus groups primarily consisted of participants asking each other questions, responding to each other's ideas, and processing their thoughts together. I took a step back and allowed them to explore the taboo spaces between them within the initial findings there are many common themes that the women discussed the use of absence only education was present among almost all the women one woman mentioned her struggle with not having much sex education saying when I was younger, I didn't understand any of it or know anything.
I was very naïve in that area for a while and I don't know if that prepared me well for having relationships with other people because not only do we not do this, but we don't talk about it. I think there's a difference between, hey, this is something that means between marriage and not having an education. Other women mentioned the use of analogies in their sexual education that treated women and specifically their purity as an object that can be broken and become irreparable. One woman said she was so used to this absence until in the culture of marriage there is always that image of crumpling a piece of paper and seeing if you can return it to its original shape, but you can't and that's what happens when you lose your virginity and that's what I was taught and that's what I believed shame and guilt very evident among the Voices of these women In another interview, a woman spoke more deeply about the issue that I have heard a thousand metaphors that compare you to a crumpled rose or a crumpled dollar bill or a car that has been in an accident.
I have heard many like you, you are still who you are, but a less valuable type of thing and no man is going to want something like that when they can have something that is clean. Within these focus groups there was also a strong sense of acceptance of the rape myth specifically that was taught as part of the Purity culture, one woman, although still touching on analogies, says, well, you catch what you bait. Well, if you dress that way, you're going to catch guys looking at you and sexualizing you so you're provoking them, shifting the blame from the perpetrators to the victims, another woman talks about the burden of purity and says: I feel that way in my experience.
The importance of purity for women is also emphasized and, since we need to dress in a certain way, we as women have to do it, but they, as men, right? We have to carry more of the burden than the women in these focus groups discovered they had. However, when presenting this project to an institutional review board at my university, they were initially hesitant to agree to the use of focus groups—the idea was for women to share very personal information and have other women there. would not guarantee confidentiality (a valid claim, of course), but it would break the process completely, so in response arose the idea of ​​the common and solidarity, with the common comes a sense of solidarity that people living in the same hometown could recognize each other. a nod and a wave and say oh well, what are you doing so far from home when you hear that someone attended the same university?
You could respond with oh well, what year were you, what major, oh, so you had this science teacher, they were brutal or later. a particularly hard sports practice a teammate might complain to a man if your legs hurt as much as mine there are many ways to express solidarity, most accompanied by a common thread that unites people creating an attitude of mutual understanding and a feeling of community. With you you are not alone we are in this together although solidarity can go unnoticed the use of focus groups allowed this solidarity to be found in the stories of these women that would otherwise have remained hidden.
Focus groups were used for this project as a way for women to exchange ideas with each other, ask questions, and find common ground and solidarity in their stories. Montel found that bringing a group of women together to talk about issues that are important to them creates, if only temporarily, connections and solidarity. Among the women who contribute to the interviews of the Feminist Consciousness and Social Action Group provide one of the best methods for feminist cultural criticism because they facilitate active transformations of Consciousness, the point is not that the research adopts a feminist political ideology, but that reflects and empowers the daily lives of women. esies group discussions can identify local theories and folk knowledge, while group members can generate new knowledge as they try to understand their situations together clearly.
One goal of the research was to better understand and explain the causes and consequences of Purity culture, but the method itself also served. as a way for women on campus who feel comfortable participating in this study to open up the conversation about taboo topics and hear each other's thoughts on the matter, as well as any college students' experiences with Purity culture, which They are less healthy if they are fostered in shame and isolation in the The fundamental core of the research is to bring a group of women together and be able to explain and delve into their shared and sometimes varied experiences, and that is what was found in these focus groups: women shared feelings, as if conversations like these made a difference I think it is beneficial for all of us or when talking to each other would reinforce the ideas that were said saying that it is good that some of my thoughts feel validated as if I couldn't put into words much of what I was thinking, but you do a great job of expressing what I'm trying to put together in my mind or is that something that really crossed my mind but I didn't want to say it, but yeah, that's very true.
At the end of the focus groups, so did the women. He reflected on his new finding, solid, saying: I feel like it's helpful for me to talk about this with other people because we already said that we don't talk about it much and it's hard to find the right time and place to do it or it's good to know that we don't. You are alone in these thoughts and feelings that you also have and that can help validate that is difficult. In each of these focus groups, the women express feelings of solidarity with each other not only at the end but throughout the entire time they spend together.
Many also noted that creating and finding these spaces to speak freely is difficult but very necessary not only for them but also for future generations and young women around the world when presenting this research at a conference. A woman approached me, she was a few generations old. in front of me and had a lot of passion in her eyes while I was still sitting in my panel seat she came up and took my hand and expressed this is what I grew up with this is what my generation taught me and I don't want this for you Really I'd like to end this presentation with a rant that says something like, but this isn't done.
I still have more data to collect and more interviews and more groups to interview and more stories to hear. a comforting little mantra that gives me space to say that I don't have the answers for you yet, but one day I will get back to you with the perfect solution. One day, I will have learned enough perspectives, I will have read. and researched enough to master this language of gender violence and tell them everything there is to know. I will know how to support women. I will know how to defend women of color. I will know how they can best help women. women around you and fight against the patriarchy, but for now I continue to learn more and more.
I realize that my learning phase will never come to an end. I will never have known enough. I will always be one step behind the waves of gender violence. I can't know everything I can't help everyone I can't and never will be able to give you the perfect solution, especially not on my own, but I will tell you what we can do. listen, we can start the conversation, we can ask the questions that each woman has held for years and long to answer, we can provide the space for women's voices to be heard, even if it is among four other women in the dusty basement of a university. library we can provide the words that lead to the oh my god, me too and I didn't know anyone else felt this way or I was too afraid to say it.
I have learned that I can find myself among the nuclei of solidarity. leading the way and that this solidarity is feasible for us in the final words of one of the women in these focus groups if we want to change the stigma and the way we approach, you know, teaching young women about sex and about all the things we discussed. I think creating more spaces like this and being willing to be vulnerable and teach that vulnerability is okay and sharing your story is okay. I think that's very important and I think that's evident here tonight, thank you.

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