Respectability Politics Belong In The Trash.

Mofiyinfoluwa O.
4 min readApr 13, 2021
Art Credit goes to Rume (@ Yinkore on IG and Twitter)

It is with great disdain that I have to say this in the year of our Lord 2021; but I will say it regardless. You cannot shame women for expressing their sexuality. Women do not need to be sexually ‘pure’ — there is no such thing because purity presupposes the existence of shame and we do not do that over here) — for you to respect them and treat them with dignity.

Too many young girls and women are subjected to purity culture through their socialisation and indoctrination. We are told that we must keep ourselves ‘pure’ for men, that their value diminishes the more they engage in any sexual activities. Women are compared to chewed bubble gum, used cars and a host of other demeaning metaphors just because they have dared to express themselves sexually. All this is a steaming pile of horseshit (pardon me) and I will never ever let it slide.

I will always, always vehemently challenge purity culture wherever I see it because I am acutely aware of the damage it does to women, all through their lives. I see how it robs women of their youth, of their joy and of their pleasure. We do not deserve any of that.

I am particularly opposed to respectability politics which I refer to as the close cousin of purity culture. Respectability politics, loosely explained is an unfortunate notion whereby women are only deemed of worth and respect if they are modest, demure and pure. Conversely, any women who do not conform to this useless standard of purity are denigrated, disrespected and are seen as unworthy of leadership roles, achievements.

Respectability politics run amuck in the corporate, professional, academic and political world. What I mean to say is that women cannot seem to escape this horrible thing, no matter where they go. What I detest most about purity culture and respectability politics is the manner in which it boxes women into rigid categories that they cannot push themselves out of. Respectability politics insists that women cannot be multifaceted, when we very well know that this is not the reality. Respectability politics mean that if you tweet about sex and the deliciousness of nipple orgasms, then you are unable to comment about politics or other such ‘serious’ matters (a null point, since the female orgasm is a very serious matter, mind you).

Mofiyinfoluwa O.

We will always have words 🤍