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

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women - Jessica Valenti Very interesting read. The author puts forward the argument that defining women and labeling their morality by their sexual activity and choices is problematic. Valenti argues that overvaluing virginity is on the same continuum and spectrum as labeling women “sluts”. In the end, Valenti is not promoting promiscuousness. She is not promoting prudishness. She is not discouraging men from finding women attractive. What she is arguing is for an identification of women that is separate from their appearance and separate from the judgment of how much sex they have. As Valenti stated so well, "Our daughters deserve a model of morality that's based on ethics, not on their bodies."Valenti is well known for her role on the website; even if I had not known that, it would be obvious from reading this book that the author is a blog writer. I think she overstates the power of blogging, but I understand why as that is who she is. The book read too much like a blog entry and every paragraph ends with a snarky comment. Which was fun at first to read, but I am not sure if that is effective over the long read of the book -- snark and cutting comments may rob the book of any broader base appeal beyond feminists and may prevent its staying power. The topic is already inflammatory, so that people who approach the topic and are not in agreement with Valenti (unlike myself), may very well put the book down from insults. She ends the book with asking for a positive and non-attacking response from the purity pushers, but I can see how the snark could turn them off. Despite my liking the message, it was my impression that Valenti attempted to cover too many topics in this book. I think it would have been more workable had she limited it to less topics. Great quotes from the book:“It isn’t sex unless you’ve had an orgasm.”“equating this inaction with morality not only is problematic because it continues to tie women’s ethics to our bodies, but also is downright insulting because it suggests that women can’t be moral actors. Instead, we’re defined by what we don’t do – our ethics are the ethics of passivity.”“there’s no separating virginity, violence, and control over women’s bodies. When it comes to women who are perceived as ‘impure,’ there’s a narrative of punishment that underscores it.” "[t]here's no getting around the fact that society's current version of sexuality makes it difficult for young women to have a healthy sexual outlook that centers on their desires .... raunch culture promotes inauthentic, performance-based female sexuality.""The thing is, naked women aren't the problem -- a woman believing her only venue is sexual is what's dangerous. It's not women's sexuality that we have to watch out for, it's the way [it is constructed].”“The desirable virgin is sexy but not sexual. She’s young, white, and skinny. She’s a cheerleader, a babysitter; she’s accessible and eager to please.”