A woman feeling liberated and unashamed of her sexuality in a society that is explicitly fueled by sexual images and acts is appreciated, but how often is a woman celebrated for remaining pure in every sense of the word?
Pinky Promise is an organization that was formed to encourage and uplift women who have chosen to remain celibate or abstinent maintained by their relationship with God. Heather Lindsey, a Michigan native who graduated from Michigan State University, created Pinky Promise in January 2012, and it now has chapters all over the world from the United Kingdom, United States and even Africa.
Pinky Promise has officially arrived at Eastern Michigan University with high hopes from Misha Byrd, president and Lydia Seale, vice president. Their vision is creating a sisterhood bonded by their experiences and the chance to become closer to God with their choice of remaining sexually inactive until marriage.
“It’s always made clear that this is something that you want to save for your husband, so I’m abstinent, which is, I’m saving sex until marriage,” Seale said. “It’s important for people to understand that abstinence isn’t just something you do, it’s a lifestyle. Because hormones are real, our society is real. You have to take into account that we’re human, we’re people, we have feelings, we have emotions, we see these things and we want relationships.”
The independence that college brings also carries the pressures of engaging sexually, which also fueled the start of bringing the organization to the campus. Byrd and Seale want to educate women to have self-value and to know that their worth doesn’t lie in them physically but internally. During one instance, Seale approached a woman who was scantily clad, expressing to her that her body shouldn’t be displayed to men as an object but as something of high value.
“It was such a need to bring this here because I literally see it every day,” Byrd said.
Being a woman who is withholding herself from sex brings criticism as well as people’s perceptions that draws a strong divide, especially amongst men. Remaining chaste is a personal discipline that prepares one to say no to things that could ultimately impact you, but is often interpreted the wrong way.
The two recalled receiving criticism from women who believed virgins act superior and judgmental towards sexually active women and received cold responses from men.
“For me, it has definitely shown me the class of guys that I need to deal with,” Byrd said. “It definitely helps you to recognize because you’re going to have that guy that brings up sex within a couple hours of you guys talking. Like, ‘Oh, you know, what’s your sex life like?’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, it’s non-existent.’ Then you can ultimately tell where the situation is going and they’re like ‘Oh really? You don’t have sex? Oh, okay!’ And you won’t hear from them, ever.”
For Byrd, who has been abstinent for three years, the road has been bumpy but it has brought her to a place where she sees things with new eyes and changed her environment accordingly, including her circle of friends who weren’t good influences. When she was faced with sexual advances from a guy, her friend’s response floored her.
“‘Well Misha, I think you should go because you never know what will happen and no guy wants to be with a girl that he hasn’t test driven,‘” Byrd said. “‘It’s like a car.‘”
“Getting to know someone prior to being in a relationship should not involve doing something that’s designed for another capacity,” Seale said. “Abuse of something is using it out of its intended purpose. Sex was intended for marriage and you don’t wanna abuse your relationship.”
Ultimately through their experiences, they want to inspire and unite women together to celebrate Christ and their womanhood. Byrd, who is in her fifth year at EMU and will soon be graduating, wants to make a lasting impact here on campus and if her story has changed a young woman’s life, her mission has been fulfilled.
If you’re interested in learning more about the organization, The Pinky Promise meet-and-greet will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6-8p.m. in room 104 of the Student Center. You can also look at their Facebook fan page “Pinky Promise – Eastern Michigan Chapter” and follow @PinkyPromiseEMU on Twitter for updates.