The Purity Myth

I’ll be honest, I have never read this book but I want to. The book is called The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti and it’s all about the idea that ‘purity’, meaning abstaining from sex until marriage, defines a woman’s value in life. We are an obsessed culture with making sure women are ‘pure’ for their future husbands.  We poor millions of dollars into abstinence-only education only to have those millions go wasted because it simply does not work.  Women are constantly judged negatively for their sexual experience while men are praised for it.

Even though it seems obvious that women and men should be judged for their character and not on the number of sexual partners,I feel we are lacking  more widespread conversation.  Hermain Cain, Newt Gingrich, RudyGuiliani, John McCain, and John Edward are all men who have cheated on their wives (or were rumored to), yet they continue to thrust ‘family values’ on the American people.  Why aren’t there more people pointing out this hypocrisy?   This can go into a long rant, but the point is we need to hold politicians and well known people to a higher standard.  It is no one’s business who Miley Cyrus sleeps with and if she’s a virgin.  Either way it doesn’t make her an angel or a slut.  We need to stop feeding into this purity myth.

Jessica Valenti’s book The Purity Myth has been made into a movie.  It examines things such as ‘purity pledges’, abstinence-only education, double standards, and the media’s role in this.  I cannot wait to read this book and see the documentary!

The Purity Myth Trailer from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

Here’s a review of the book:

“Valenti seeks to turn back thousands of years of history, a bourgening cult of abstinence-only education and purity balls, and a deeply entrenched myth that so long as a girl is ‘pure’ she is moral. If anyone can do all that, it’s Jessica. Starting from the premise that there is in fact no medical or scientific definition of virginity, The Purity Myth offers a crisp and compelling refutation of the obsessive claim that ‘saving it’ means saving the world.” -Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, –Jessica Valenti website

Original story about the The Purity Myth found on 


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