Warning: If you are Catholic, this post has the potential to be very offensive.
First of all let me say that I don't have a problem with people believing Mary was a virgin. I concede that it is possible that one person in the history of humanity conceived a child without the presence of male sperm. I don't know how, but I've experienced a lot of things and heard a lot of stories that can't be explained by science. Scientists are baffled at the moment by the giant quasar they just discovered. So just because something cannot be explained by science (yet) doesn't mean it didn't or can't happen. My world would not be ruined if Mary was indeed a virgin at the conception of Jesus.
That said. I've been reading a lot about purity culture and stories about child brides and I grew up being taught that my body was like a wedding present to give to my husband. If I let someone else open the gift first then it's like giving your husband a used present with wrinkled and ripped wrapping paper. So I started thinking about the virgin birth one day and my mind went in a new direction.
The culture is Jesus' time was obsessed with the importance of virginity for women. In fact most cultures were and many still are. Before paternity tests were invented virginity was the only way a guy could make sure that his first born child was really HIS first born child and therefore he wasn't investing his time and resources into someone else's genetics. (What an awful point of view!). So virginity was highly valued. Father's also got into this because they knew they couldn't marry off their daughters unless they were virgins so they sheltered and protected and came up with clothing rules and chaperone rules and married off their daughters younger and younger to make sure they were virgins.
So I started thinking....If the new Christian Movement believed that Jesus was God, there was no way they would be okay with Mary being a rape victim or even worse a young girl who fell in love and happened to have a sexual desire. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic about the "worse" part. Purity culture seems to think it's the worse thing in the world for young people to have sexual desires. I do not agree). I can see people thinking, "Jesus? I heard Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph got married. Scandal!" In a culture where fact and story mixed together it doesn't seem that far fetched to think that the stories about Jesus' conception came after people were talking about Jesus being God and those stories helped answer people's questions about Jesus' divinity.
Here's the thing for me. If I decide to stay a Christian and call Jesus my Lord. I'm okay with him being born of a rape victim or a young girl with sexual desire. It's okay. He can still be "God's Chosen One." He can still be the one man in all of history so filled with the Holy Spirit that he became known as God's son. He can still be everything he was even if he was conceived of Mary's egg and Joseph's sperm (or someone else?). Because if you believe in spiritual sort of stuff then you believe that God isn't bound by physicality. God wouldn't need to use His own genetics to make a kid that was ultra spiritual. Does God even have genetics? And isn't that kind of weird to be talking about God having sperm and putting it into Mary? That seems a little like Roman gods or Greek gods to me, but I digress...
Here's what I'm trying to say, I feel like if Mary was raped or had consensual sex that by believing in the Virgin birth I am participating in shaming Mary. We are saying, "You are not worthy of being the Mother of our Lord because you had a penis in you before you were married." We are saying, "Rape makes a women lesser than." We are saying, "Sex is shameful." I don't agree with those messages. I don't want to participate in them. I believe Mary deserves honor for her heart, for her kindness, for her love. I think she was probably a pretty phenomenal girl and mother and is today a comfort to many. And that has nothing to do with the state of her hymen.