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

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Seal Press, 2009 - Health & Fitness - 265 pages
14 Reviews
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - marthaearly - LibraryThing

Jessica Valenti is a clear and educated Feminist who does her research and is one of my favorite Feminist writers for the contemporary woman looking to understand how social and cultural standards and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Citizenjoyce - LibraryThing

This is a terrific book. Valenti starts right off in the introduction saying: Girls "going wild" aren't damaging a generation of women, the myth of sexual purity is. The lie of virginity - the idea ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Jessica Valenti--called the “poster girl for third-wave feminism” by Salon--is the author of three books: Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, and The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women, which is being made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation. She is also the editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009, and the founder of Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review calls “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.”

Jessica’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian (UK), The American Prospect, Ms. magazine, Salon, and Bitch magazine. She has won a Choice USA Generation award, was featured as one of ELLE magazine’s “IntELLEgentsia”, and was named one of the Left’s Top 25 Journalists by The Daily Beast. She has appeared on The Colbert Report and the Today show, among others, and was recently profiled in The New York Times Magazine under the headline “Fourth Wave Feminism.”

Jessica is also a widely sought after speaker who gives dozens of speeches annually at universities and organizations in the U.S. and abroad. She received her master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University, where she is a part-time lecturer.

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