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

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Overview

The United States is obsessed with virginity - from the media to schools to government agencies. The Purity Myth is a critique about why this is so, and why it's problematic for girls and women. Analyzing cultural stereotypes and media messages, Jessica Valenti reveals the overt and hidden ways our society links a young woman's worth to her sexuality rather than to values like honesty, kindness, and altruism.
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The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

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Overview

The United States is obsessed with virginity - from the media to schools to government agencies. The Purity Myth is a critique about why this is so, and why it's problematic for girls and women. Analyzing cultural stereotypes and media messages, Jessica Valenti reveals the overt and hidden ways our society links a young woman's worth to her sexuality rather than to values like honesty, kindness, and altruism.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580052535
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1 The cult of virginity 17

2 Tainted love 41

3 Forever young 61

4 The porn connection 81

5 Classroom chastity 101

6 Legislating sexuality 121

7 Public punishments 145

8 Beyond manliness 167

9 Sex, morals, and trusting women 185

10 Post-virgin World 203

Purity myth facts at a glance 217

Questions for discussion 221

Notes 223

Resources 239

Index 251

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Very entertaining but the sense of hypocrisy is evident.

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This book was engaging and intellectual.

    "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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    A Book Every Woman Should Read!

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    All Females Should Read This Book

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Purity Myth

    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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    By far one of my favorite books of all time!!! I believe that bo

    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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    So much of the current rhetoric coming from conservatives about

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Love it

    Perfect amd straight forward. Valenti is amazing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Okay

    A good overview of the push for patriarchy with compelling ancedotes throughout. I wish there were more bookd like it and that she spent more time pointing out the problems with books like female chauvinist pigs. Overall, I found her writing style and the substance of the book lacking depth. She did at times convey passion especially through the ancredotes of women. I reccomend as a overview as well as for the stories of wonen affected by the purity myth.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    Everyone needs to read this book!

    This book is awesome.
    It is very true and eyeopening.
    Once you start reading you don't want to stop!
    One of the best books you have read in your life!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 16, 2011

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    Posted August 26, 2013

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    Posted February 16, 2009

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    Posted August 26, 2009

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    Posted May 1, 2009

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    Posted July 25, 2011

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    Posted July 19, 2009

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

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