The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

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by Jessica Valenti
     
 

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The United States is obsessed with virginity — from the media to schools to government agencies. In The Purity Myth Jessica Valenti argues that the country’s intense focus on chastity is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and social analysis, Valenti reveals that powerful messaging on both extremes — ranging from abstinence

Overview

The United States is obsessed with virginity — from the media to schools to government agencies. In The Purity Myth Jessica Valenti argues that the country’s intense focus on chastity is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and social analysis, Valenti reveals that powerful messaging on both extremes — ranging from abstinence curriculum to “Girls Gone Wild” infomercials — place a young woman’s worth entirely on her sexuality. Morals are therefore linked purely to sexual behavior, rather than values like honesty, kindness, and altruism. Valenti sheds light on the value — and hypocrisy — around the notion that girls remain virgin until they’re married by putting into context the historical question of purity, modern abstinence-only education, pornography, and public punishments for those who dare to have sex. The Purity Myth presents a revolutionary argument that girls and women are overly valued for their sexuality, as well as solutions for a future without a damaging emphasis on virginity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580052535
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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The Purity Myth 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
EmmaG09 More than 1 year ago
"The Purity Myth" was not the first book I ready by Jessica Valenti, but it has quickly become my favorite. It includes thorough and well-documented research to support her claims that abstinence-only-until-marriage model of prescribed sexuality for women is actually hurting the women it claims to protect. While her message is controversial, Valenti is careful not to malign the individual choices of particular women, but rather she is pointing out a cultural message which she claims is designed to control and restrict the rights of women (particularly young women). Valenti's style is witty and easy to read while being academic and intellectual -- regardless of whether or not the reader agrees with her position, Valenti's intelligence and honesty are clearly conveyed. I enjoyed reading this book immensely and highly recommend it.
Luan_K More than 1 year ago
Now, don't get me wrong, I agree with Jessica Valenti in most respects and support 100% on opposing this unrealistic nonsense called the "Abstinence Only" movement. But she reacts to the abstinence movement style of rhetoric... the same style she uses: she is being preachy. Jessica appears to be the stereotype of a feminist. She makes no qualms about bashing those who choose to keep their virginity and at times mocks the notions of keeping it, something that in our highly sexualized country, should be commended. I understand her goal is to attack the unapologetic absurdity of making woman a commodity whose only value is her virginity, and criticizing the stupid things organizations say to young individuals. As well as the movements rampant sexism hidden under a veil of purity. Yet it's apparent that she forgets that her fight isn't with virgins but with those lying to virgins, often mixing the too. She has a good style of writing but it often goes from a meaningful critique to a rant with great fluidity. The obviousness that she is passionate shouldn't be noted, but that passion goes unchecked by the verbal undercutting that discredits her at times. I love her message but it becomes convoluted. Abstinence is good but lying to people about abstinence is bad, and forcing it is unrealistic and dangerous The loss of virginity may not have been a big deal for her, but many people consider that a big thing, a step to adulthood, and she seems to play it off as a stupid idea. The first time I heard a praising or a shake of goodwill to people wanting to be a virgin by choice for the right reasons didn't come in till several pages and was a quote by a blogger, not Jessica. I support much of what she says and find her work enjoyable, but I was never one for undercutting rants, regardless of how much i agree with the message. I removed a star for the tone, but look forward to reading more about Jessica and her fight for a good cause. Don't get me wrong, I truly support her struggle, but it is the execution of this struggle that I find some disagreement with.
WigglesNSquiggles More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful and scary at the same time. Every woman between the ages of 8 and 80 should read this book and think really hard about women's roles in America.
nightowl More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. It was a really smart look at how the sexualization of women from both mainstream society and the Puritanical virginity Nazi's create a situation where girls and women simply can't win. And, unlike most other books I have read criticizing the Religious Right, JV offers a well thought-out solution to the situation where all parties would benefit.
Lisa52 More than 1 year ago
Wow! this book really outlines what I had been thinking for a long time - that there is too much of an obsession with purity - a very interesting book to read even if you may not agree with all of it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By far one of my favorite books of all time!!! I believe that both women AND men should read this! Quite insightful to the scary world that young women have to live in and how our society (even though we don't really realize we are doing it) not just allows, but encourages it to exist this way. Definitely recommend that anyone read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So much of the current rhetoric coming from conservatives about a women's body just doesn't make sense.  This book was very helpful  in explaining the antiquated mind set that is the source of all the misinformation regarding women's healthcare today.
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Perfect amd straight forward. Valenti is amazing!
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