The Cambridge Dictionary defines a straw man as: An argument, claim, or opponent that is invented in order to win or create an argument. In other words, you misrepresent a person’s argument and then knock it down. It is traditionally used in public debates because the intelligence quotient is scaled down to the least common denominator. The person using these tactics, ironically, is not convinced of his own position. It’s nearly always used by the weaker opponent because a straw man is easier to defeat than a real man. The reason they are effective in attacking purity is because most people do not have adequate biblical knowledge on which to defend it. Nonbelievers are aware of these weaknesses. For instance, when the “objectifies the woman” argument is used, the Christian is defenseless unless he understands that sex is not the only thing that makes a marriage. It also turns the tables because objectifying women is one of the main things Christians rally against. So when they’re accused of doing the same, it appears as if they are pouring salt into their own wounds. “Slut-shaming” is an interesting example because it exaggerates the Christian’s expected response to sexual immorality. People expect their reaction to be one of disapproval. “Slut” just exaggerates this disapproval large enough to knock down purity. Same thing with “shaming.” Turning the noun shame into an adverb with shaming just makes the argument large enough to knock down it down as well.
The straw men arguments almost always exaggerate either the importance of virginity, put words in somebody’s mouth, involve false accusations, or are just outright lies. Notice too that a lot of them actually turn the person who committed sexual sin into a victim, a poor crying broken victim of hateful Christians who is not happy until someone hands her a blue ribbon too. I mean, she can’t feel left out, can she? She can still feel special by being a second class V card carrier, can’t she? Sexual sin really has no permanent consequences, does it? Accepting the fact that there really are people who are sexually pure is too divisive, isn’t it? The church has compromised inch by inch, turning a head that way and turning a head that way. Now sexual virtue is seen as quaint notion from days gone by. When men still respected themselves. When women could walk the streets safely at night. And to think this carnage was brought on by a poor little weak straw man without a spine, by people who did not have the spine to defend the Christian lexicon, by parents who didn’t care to get educated and who put the welfare of their children above the social status of their lives.
Some words and phrases that have been used as straw man arguments to attack virginity. All are direct quotes from 2013/2014.
Wait so it’ll be great.
Fortress of denial.
Someone must die.
Objectifies the woman.
So dirty and filthy.
What’s the big deal?
Her only value is between her legs.
Made her feel worthless.
Moral center is their crotch.
Their bodies are only bargaining chips.
Devalued like a new car.
Virginity trumps intelligence.
Most valued goods.
Old piece of gum.
Rape isn’t a woman’s fault.
May still be good, even if her stock has decreased.
Not easy for Mormon couples.
Taken out of context, some are quite comical. But you’ve probably seen them all used in the context described above. We need to put the spine back into straw men. We need men with enough spine to defend purity from clever wordsmiths.