The Purity Myth

The Purity Myth

How America's Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

Book - 2009
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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 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.
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Seal Press, c2009
ISBN: 9781580052535
Branch Call Number: 306.73 VALENTI
Characteristics: 263 p. ; 24 cm


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Jul 18, 2018

The book feels like a one-sided rant, blaming men for constructing the notion of "virginity". I do not recommend this book.

May 18, 2016

“The Purity Culture and Sexual Dysfunction”
by Libby Anne, posted November 2, 2011, to Love, Joy, Feminism, hosted by patheos
“Attitudes to Sex”
What is so Bad about Christianity?
“Sexual Repression: The Malady That Considers Itself the Remedy – Adultery causes earthquakes? Sexual repression can cause much worse.
by Christopher Ryan Ph.D., posted April 20, 2010, to Psychology Today
“The Christian Sexual Animal?”
by John Shore, posted January 31, 2010, to Patheos

Feb 09, 2014

Page 76 - Chapter 3 Invisible Girls

Jun 13, 2013

Important topic and important book, but as a person previously trapped by the purity doctrine I feel like this is really a missing opportunity to reach girls who are trying to fight their way out of it. The tone assumes an already feminist perspective and while riddled with great research and information I didn't find it interesting. Yes it has the experiences of girls who are hurt the purity myth but I feel like it lacks those who were truly trapped by it.

To be fair, I only read about half the book, it just didn't resonate with me.

I commend the author for writing it though and strongly encourage those who haven't thought about this (and it's tries to rape culture, which seems to be what the book is really about) to read it.

Ironically, I started a blog about rape culture only to discover that what I was really upset with was our persistent and unfair perspectives on female 'purity'. Purity culture strongly feeds rape culture. There is so much to be said and added to this; hopefully I will get a chance to pick up this book again and finish it, when my mind is more apt to receive it's message.

Jun 20, 2012

WOW - this book is a must-read for pretty much anybody who cares about women. Valenti insightfully analyzes and synthesizes facts and ideas from a range of sources that show just how the "purity myth" (that a woman's worth is summed up by her sexual choices) keeps women trapped in traditional gender roles. The only problem I had with this book was that the topic made me so angry I could hardly think. Luckily, a list of resources and suggestions of where to go next are also included in the book.

Mar 03, 2012

im surprised i didnt like this book as i picked it up with the hope that it would be insightful. i felt it should've looked at the pros and cons of abstinence programs at school, though i felt it was a complete attack on it. i think she trivialises the whole 'losing your virginity' thing. it may not be important to her, but other people have a sense of importance about it. She talks about how virginity is linked to a mans control of woman, in some ways i understand that however the way she writes about how sex is natural and feelings are natural. yes is it, but the way she comes across is like at fifteen for example its ok to have sex. in a sense i feel she thinks its ok for hormones to rule a person. and 15 is no age in which to make a mature decision about anything. i personally think women should hold their bodies sacred. This has nothing to do with mans control, but respecting ones body. i was disappointed with the book.


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