Friday, May 22, 2009
America's Obsession wih Chastity
Jessica Valenti's (super awesome feminist and founder of Feministing.com) new book, called The Purity Myth, delves into the meaning of and the problems with America's obsession with virginity, and attempts to deconstruct the virgin/whore dichotomy.
In this interview for Salon.com, Valenti answers a lot of the questions one might have about her book or her beliefs - the problematic language surrounding virginity (whether virginity even exists in the first place!), Girls Gone Wild, and purity balls, just to name a few.
It's certainly an interesting topic, to say the least. I bought this book at Bluestockings on Sunday, and heard Valenti read parts of it, followed by a question and answer period. To me, it seemed like the gist is that mainstream media tries to blame women's promiscuity on "Girls Gone Wild," etc., but that the deeper issue lies with women being constantly told that their worth is between their legs. To be honest, this is not something I have given a lot of thought to, and I'm not sure I know how these ideas have impacted me.
When I tried to explain the idea of The Purity Myth to my stepdad, he didn't seem to know what I was referring to. I was having trouble articulating myself, eventually gave up and told him to read the book (after I'm done with it!). To me, the virgin/whore dichotomy is everywhere, and I can see what Valenti is referring to, but to someone like my stepdad, it might not be as clear - the only connection he made was "I mean, maybe Madonna."
I'm trying to say that I can't wait to read this book, and further understand "How American's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women" (to quote the cover). I'm heading to London next week to study abroad, and I plan on devouring this on the plane. Hopefully, I'll be able to better explain the Purity Myth to my stepdad when I get back.