From the bestselling author of Sex Object, a searing investigation into American culture's obsession with virginity, and the argument for creating a future where women and girls are valued for more than sexuality
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-only 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 virgins 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.
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Not the Book I thought I was Reading
This book draws attention to the problems of abstinence only education and other REALLY CREEPY purity activities (the purity ball - I want my tax dollars back). This part lives up to the title and claimed point of the book: “How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women.” A better subtitle for this book would have been “How America’s Inherent Sexism is Hurting Young Women.” I’m a feminist. I have nothing against feminism or a book on feminism. I’ve read many books on the subject and will probably read many more. My issue is that this is not the book I thought (or intended) to read. I’ve read pretty much every argument about sexism, rape culture, and America from other sources. This book is about feminism, not the damage done to women by America’s obsession with female virginity. This is about social issues as opposed to “these are the problems women face in their relationships with men and in sexual relationships after surviving the abstinence only world view. This just isn’t the book I thought I was reading based on the title. This is just not the book I need to read.