Purity culture is an awful thing and I hate that’s it’s becoming so prevalent again.
I can’t really speak for wlw since I’m not one, but society has been opposed to women having sexual autonomy for centuries. It’s no surprise this extends to wlw ships.
Since I’m mlm, and I’m mostly involved with mlm ships, this is where I tend to see the effects of purity culture. The main push is putting an end to the “fetishization” of mlm.
But the enjoyment of mlm ships isn’t inherently “fetishization”, even if those ships include a size difference, age gap, power imbalance, or even abusive elements.
I’m going to be getting into some anti-fujo stuff here because I think it’s relevant.
Firstly, I am pro fujoshi/fudanshi/fujin. There’s nothing wrong with being any of those words, but purity culture is part of what’s turning them into an insult.
And the funny thing is, most of the people I see doing that, actually fall into one of those categories themselves. They enjoy mlm content too. And some of these people are obsessed with mlm ships, to the point it becomes the entire focus of whatever media they’re watching.
But somehow, they praise themselves as being “superior” and “more supportive of mlm”, simply because they’re only obsessed with the cutesy romance side of the shipping.
Those who are equally, or even much less, obsessive are deemed “fetishizers”, just because they create or consume the sexual mlm content (as opposed to, or in addition to, the romantic content).
Both of these are exactly the same. If you deem one wrong, then the other is wrong too. You’re not “better” because you only like the ~pure~ content.
Mlm exist outside of fiction. We’re real people who can have real relationships and real sexual desires. It’s not wrong for us to ever explore the sexual side of those relationships in fan art or fiction.
Viewing mlm as only valid if they are celibate and have no sexual drive is not progressive. Those views oppress mlm who are sexual. It turns our sex lives into something “wrong” and “immoral”.
And that’s already the general consensus in a lot of countries – we’re some perversion of nature.
Some of the more “progressive” religious denominations will sometimes say “It’s ok to have homosexual feelings. It’s only a sin if you act on them.” They think of gay sex as some “disgusting habit” that needs to be dropped before we can be accepted.
And scares me that this rhetoric is similar to what supposedly “pro LGBT” people are saying in fandom spaces.
Society needs to accept us entirely for our sexualities. Splitting us up into “pure” and “not pure” is disgusting. It creates a divide between our community, and those deemed “not pure” are even more oppressed than before.
For me, having nsfw content in fandoms is important. It’s a fun and safe place for me to explore sexual scenarios that I don’t always get to in real life, using characters I know and love and can relate to.
And it’s a place that’s supposed to be more accepting of LGBT individuals than the backwards countries we live in. Taking that away helps no one.
Maybe at this point you’re thinking “ok, I can see why it’s important to mlm, but women shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy mlm content – that’s fetishization”.
Well, no. No, it’s not.
As with anything, there’s always a potential to go too far. But women aren’t harming anyone by simply enjoying the content.
They’re drawn to it for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s simply that they like men, and two men are better than one. For others, it’s an exploration of a romantic relationship that’s free of imposed gender roles. Or an exploration of how heteronormative gender roles are imposed on mlm couples.
It can be a place for exploring men’s personalities without the toxic masculinity. Or a place where women can indulge in sexual fantasies, free from thoughts about how those sexual acts “oppress” women.
We don’t need people policing who can and can’t enjoy mlm content, or forcing some archaic standard of sexual purity onto that content.
This also shows how amatonormative purity culture is.
I remember meeting an aro lesbian who had a ton of internalized arophobia she kept complaining about. She kept saying that she was constantly seeing stuff comparing “pure” wlw attraction to “disgusting” het male attraction, and pretty much always, she identified more with their description of het males than wlw, because they emphasized wlw romantic attraction and het male sexual attraction.
Maybe that’s why so many antis are exclusionists. With the split attraction model being so central to aspec communities, it really doesn’t mesh well with an ideology that paints romance as good and sex as bad.