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

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 12/29/2009
  • Publisher: Seal Press

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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-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.

Author Biography

Jessica Valenti is the founder and editor of Feministing.com and author of Full Frontal Feminism and He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. Jessica's writing has appeared in the Nation, The American Prospect, the Guardian (U.K.), Ms. magazine, and Bitch magazine, and on Salon.com and Babble.com.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
The cult of virginityp. 17
Tainted lovep. 41
Forever youngp. 61
The porn connectionp. 81
Classroom chastityp. 101
Legislating sexualityp. 121
Public punishmentsp. 145
Beyond manlinessp. 167
Sex, morals, and trusting womenp. 185
Post-virgin worldp. 203
Purity myth facts at a glancep. 217
Questions for discussionp. 221
Notesp. 223
Resourcesp. 239
Indexp. 251
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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