In “Pure in Heart: A Post-Purity Reflection on Faith and Friendship,” Libya Kate examines the damaging effects of purity culture on women and female friendships. Ultimately, she redefines what “purity” means for herself, as a liberating concept for women of faith.
“When I consider the impact of church purity culture on my friendships with other women, there is one painful memory like a ragged scab I cannot leave alone. In my third year of university I lived in a university flat, with Eva, Tess, Alice, and William. We were a close-knit group. Despite having a relatively spacious flat, we would all pile into one bedroom and study, draw, laugh, or read the Bible together.
One summer evening, William suggested a dinner party. We wore floral dresses, strung fairy lights, and played Taylor Swift via someone’s I-Pod. Several of our other friends from university or church came over, and William invited a couple he was friendly with at the time, Elena and Owen. She, like the rest of us, was a Christian and a churchgoer. He identified only as a philosopher, and laboriously lugged around books on Nietzsche as if to physicalize the existential burden of nihilism… I don’t recall what made Elena snap, but I do remember her calling me a “slut.” So angry she was that the word came out covered in spit, the force of the single syllable wetting my face.”
Libya first encountered God as a teenager at a Baptist church at 15 years old. She now identifies as a non-denominational Christian. Libya enjoys robust discussion about faith, as well as reading novels, and rooibus tea.