This feminist research project explores how the contemporary purity movement, which emerged from within evangelical Christianity, enforces traditional gender role performance and hegemonic masculinity and femininity through published literature written for young men and women. Previous feminist research on this topic, such as The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti (2010), has focused its critique upon purity efforts aimed solely at young women and is often dismissive of religious identities. This project takes a critical, yet historical perspective on purity literature, through an exploration of ancient Christian sources, such as Paul the apostle, the contemporary critiques presented by secular feminists on purity, and an analysis of contemporary purity sources using Judith Butler’s (1988) theory of gender performativity. The literature was selected from an online list of “the best purity literature for Christians” and specific books were chosen for their intended audiences and representative nature of the larger body of purity literature. A purity conference was attended that also informed this study of purity literature. Using literary analysis, this project explores the ways in which purity literature perpetuates traditional gender role performance in young men and women and asks questions about identity formation and the affirmation of feminist choices of purity.


Craven, Christa


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Evangelical purity movement, sexual purity, purity literature

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Anastasia M. Jaeb