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From the bestselling author of Sex Object, a searing investigation into American culture's obsession with virginity, and the argument for creating a future where women and girls are valued for more than sexuality
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.