Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor, collected purity rings as part of a marketing strategy to promote her new book on sexuality, Shameless.
As we wrote about before, the rings were going to be melted down and made into a sculpture of a vulva “emerging from a throne of flames.”
The sculpture was finally unveiled last week:
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The finished sculpture out of melted down purity rings for Nadia Bolz-weber and her Shameless book tour. The woven rings in the heart are gold rings that couldn’t be melted down with the silver. #feminist #sarcasticlutheran #shameless #nadiabolzweber #spiritualjewelry #makersconference2019 #makers
There are approximately 170 purity rings in that piece of art, with the woven gold rings in the center only because they couldn’t be melted down like the silver ones.
Purity rings, as many of you probably remember, reached peak popularity in the nineties as part of the Purity Culture movement. They symbolized the idea that the ring-bearer would remain abstinent until marriage — a teaching that many people feel has caused more harm than good to their sexuality.
The stories that came with the rings were written by people who attended “purity balls” with their fathers, felt “damaged” after having been assaulted, and believed God was upset with them for having had any sexual thoughts or fantasies. Some people even submitted their wedding rings after their marriages fell apart, due to incompatible sex drives and too much shame and stigma attached to sex itself.
Whatever your thoughts on the final sculpture, it’s far better than the original rings and everything they stood for.