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Virginity in leaders

by honestrosewater
Tags: leaders, virginity
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honestrosewater
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Oct3-05, 06:26 AM
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I was initially thinking of women leaders, but I guess we can let the male virgins in on the action.

Did being perceived as a virgin make a woman more acceptable in a leadership role, especially when that role would normally have been filled by a man - at any time or place in history?

I'm not interested in whether anyone was, in fact, a virgin but whether they were thought to be such by the people who they were leading. I'd like to find examples from history, legend, or literature supporting or opposing the idea. It can be real or fictional. It can be any kind of leadership role - government/politics (Queen Elizabeth I), military (Joan of Arc), religion or spiritual matters (The Virgin Mary), sciences/humanities (Hypatia), heros or legends (Athena), etc. Believe it or not, I found a list of famous virgins, and there are others (google famous virgins or such).

I'm not sure how virginity has been viewed in men; It may depend more on the field. I get the sense that a woman being a virgin has made her seem stronger - more manly; less vulnerable, emotional temptress. Has anyone else noticed this? Any idea how it started? If it has ended?

(This isn't necessarily how I see women - I'm speaking of how they've been viewed by others.)
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Astronuc
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Oct3-05, 01:36 PM
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Well virginity, celibacy or abstinence is supposed to be part being Pope or any clerical member of the Roman Catholic church - and in some cases that may actually be the case. And supposedly Jesus was a virgin, but we will never know if he did maintain celiabacy.

A lot of people get hung up on the matter of sexuality. It really shouldn't matter.

As long as a person is decent, honest, forthright, intelligent, fair, just, righteous - then such a person should be considered qualified to be a leader.
arildno
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Oct3-05, 02:01 PM
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I wouldn't think virgins were highly ranked in societies worshipping the Mother Goddess..

arildno
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Oct3-05, 02:48 PM
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Virginity in leaders

Quote Quote by Astronuc
As long as a person is decent, honest, forthright, intelligent, fair, just, righteous - then such a person should be considered qualified to be a leader.
My, my, we don't like "The Prince" much, do we?
BobG
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Oct4-05, 11:13 AM
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Queen Christina of Sweden supposedly remained a virgin her entire life, but that's far from a sure thing. She had kind of a wild reputation - the rumors of a promiscuous heterosexual love life and possbile lesbian affairs were the small stuff. When you kill a member of your entourage in the French palace in the middle of a diplomatic visit intended to gain support for conquering Naples, you don't worry too much about whether people perceive you as being too feminine.

She did never marry, saying: "I say this explicitly, that it is impossible for me to marry. That is the way it is for me. The reasons for this I will not tell. I have frequently prayed to God, that I shall get that mind, but I have not been able to get it...My temper is a mortal enemy to this horrible yoke [marriage], which I would not accept, even if I thus would become the ruler of the world. Which crime has the female sex committed to be sentenced to the harsh necessity which consists of being locked up all life either as a prisoner or a slave? I call the nuns prisoners and the married women slaves.

But she never claimed to be a saint, either: "I shall never be virtuous enough to be a saint, nor infamous enough to pretend to be one. "
honestrosewater
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Oct4-05, 01:47 PM
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Thanks. I guess I'm identifying three basic roles that have been cast for women (I haven't given this much thought, so please give me a little leeway):

1) femme fatale; with respect to her sex life, this corresponds roughly to whore,
2) property, servant, baby-maker; corresponding to wife,
3) mother (only the 'pure' part), protector; corresponding to virgin or celibate.

There are more roles, but I'm thinking of times when these three were the only or most dominant or accepted ones. (1) doesn't seem to be acceptable in a leader, and (2) seems to cause conflict; Either her husband will be expected to assume the leadership role (in which case, she loses it), or she will be seen as too willful or insubordinate.

I think Isabella I managed to marry and not lose her power or position. Could Elizabeth I have done the same? I'm just looking for some examples or thoughts along those lines or about the roles I'm looking at.

Also, do you think being a virgin or celibate could help a woman in a leadership role to earn some respect or acceptance from men like this guy:
In 1558 the Protestant preacher John Knox wrote, 'It is more than a monster in nature that a woman should reign and bear empire over man.'
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/m...eth_i_01.shtml
(This wasn't a rare sentiment either.) Or perhaps it could help them to seem more manly and less distracting (in military roles, for instance)? Or more committed to their work (in academics, for instance)? Actually, on the commitment front, whether she said it or not, I remember Hypatia being said to have said, in response to why she never married, that she was 'wedded to the truth'. And I just found what I see as the same idea in a comment by Elizabeth: 'I am already bound unto a husband which is the Kingdom of England.' They may not have been entirely serious in saying that, but a woman having to choose between work and family is something even I've thought about - and I would guess that most women today have thought about. Anywho, I think I'm straying a bit from the question. Just something to consider.


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