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Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity

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Think you know Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity meaning of virginity? You'll be surprised to find out what Jessica Valenti discovered. In her new book The Purity Myth: Recently, I sat down with Valenti to discuss the book, the myths, and what's going on at those Purity Balls. The purity myth is the lie that virginity or sexual abstinence has some bearing on who we are as people, as good people, women in particular.

More specifically, what the book talks about is how that lie and how that myth is really a driving force in a lot of the conservative moves to regress women's rights and to reinforce "Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity" gender roles. So, how they're using this myth of sexual purity, this fear of young women's sexuality, to promote their agenda for women. You argue in the book that America is obsessed with virginity, female virginity specifically, and that there is, in fact, an entire movement fuelling this obsession.

How exactly do you define the "virginity movement? The virginity movement, specifically, is a group of--and they certainly don't call themselves the virginity movement--conservatives, anti-feminist organizations, legislators, all with this really specific agenda in mind for women that's definitely regressive, definitely old school, definitely traditional.

But instead of using the normal ways of pushing their agenda they're really focusing on young women's sexuality as not only a scare tactic but as a salacious way to get their point across.

One of the more fascinating things that's revealed in your book is Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity there is actually no official medical definition of "virginity. How, then, Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity virginity defined by those who are working so hard to defend the so-called purity of girls and women?

The virginity movement uses the definition of virginity that's the most culturally accepted one--heterosexual intercourse. And I think that limited definition of virginity is probably why so many virginity pledgers have oral and anal sex, because they don't necessarily see it as infringing on their virginity. So young people are engaging in sexual activity, and considering themselves still virgins because they say "If I have oral sex I can still be a virgin The Untouched Historywhich is this amazing history of virginity.

The reason she started to look into the definition of virginity was because she was answering young people's questions on this website she ran, and a lot of the questions were, "Am I still a virgin? I did such and such. Do you want to be? I really lost my virginity when I did this. Oh, I definitely think that virginity is a myth. I think that virginity is a huge lie. Having your first sexual encounter certainly is important, and I don't mean to demean anyone's understanding of their sexuality or how they want to think of themselves in that way.

And I think that can be a really powerful experience and a wonderful first thing. But, as a concept it's more dangerous than not, because it puts us into these virgin or not virgin categories, which doesn't really give us a very nuanced perspective or understanding of sexuality. Speaking of danger, what are the things that abstinence only educators are actually teaching young children, particularly girls, and how are they dangerous?

According to Time magazine, 1...

Oh, there are so many! I don't think it's any secret that most abstinence only education is medically inaccurate. They lie about contraception in terms of its failure rate; one class was taught that condoms cause cancer. What ends up happening for a lot of these kids is that they've been taught that birth control is ineffective or birth control is dangerous Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity they don't use it. Outside of the medical and health "Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity" there's also a social message being taught in abstinence only education, which is that boys want sex and they'll do anything to get it and girls own sex and have to keep it.

It's up to young women to be the gatekeepers of sexuality. There's a lot of talk about dressing a certain way, you control what men think of you. It's this very disturbing message that somehow young women have control over male sexuality, and that you shouldn't get a guy too excited.

Which, Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity course lends itself to all sorts of victim blaming and sexual assault situations and things like that. So, that's also very dangerous. Recently teen mother Bristol Palin was asked about using contraception and she said, "Everyone should be abstinent Or is there something more to it?

I think there are a lot of folks who believe that it truly works, because they have these kids and they're pledging their virginity. You know, not understanding Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity, of course, if you get a 14 year old in front of their community members and church members and parents they're going to pledge their virginity.

It's not like they're going to say no. So, yeah, I think [they think] they're being effective. But, they aren't honest about their larger agenda--that this isn't about keeping kids healthy, this isn't about teaching young people to make good choices sexually and morally. It's about reinforcing traditional gender roles in a really, really specific, rigid way. It's about relaying specific messages about sexuality and what's appropriate.

And, of course, that's being straight and married and having kids. The people behind the virginity movement go to great lengths to connect purity with abstinence, one of the more shocking examples are Purity Balls - which, you note, are federally funded. What are Purity Balls and why are we paying for them?

I could talk about Purity Balls all day. Purity Balls are essentially daddy-daughter dances where young girls at some point in the evening will pledge their virginity to their fathers, and their fathers, in turn, will pledge to be the caretakers of said virginity.

If you can watch a video it's very, very disturbing. The language they use is mired in ownership and these really old school, antiquated norms about daddies owning their daughters.

There's one video where the fathers give the daughters a necklace--it's a lock and a Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity. What's really interesting about them is when people started to complain, "Where are the mother-son purity balls? Integrity Balls are mother-son dances, but instead of the son pledging his virginity to his mother and his mother pledging to protect his virginity until he gets married, the language is, "I vow to be abstinent because I don't want to do that to someone's future wife or someone's current daughter.

Purity Balls are definitely rooted in Christianity and Evangelical stuff, absolutely. But, I don't think it's necessarily relegated to one Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity. A lot of folks are having the purity balls. More broadly, the idea of virginity and women's morality being tied up with virginity, young women being good when they're virgins, that's certainly not just a religious thing. It's a pretty culture-wide thing, I believe. The most interesting thing to me about the virginity movement and what reveals their true agenda--that it's not just about helping women--is the fact that they're so antifeminist, and the fact that a lot of the books that are written about this, a lot of the speakers, either have ties to antifeminist organizations, like Independent Women's Forum or Concerned Women for America, or straight up blame feminism for the woes of young women today.

They're very direct in saying that they think feminism is the problem, which I think is really telling--what does it say about their movement that they think that women's equality is a problem for women? Admittedly, I never identified as a "feminist" in my teens and early 20s, and as recently as last weekend heard a close female friend, who's 30, insist that she's not a feminist.

What would you say to young women and girls who are reluctant to identify as feminist, especially those who are strong, independent, self-determined individuals? What is it about feminism, or the notion of feminism, that turns them off? There are a couple of things. There are a lot of folks out there that don't identify as feminists because of more political reasons.

You argue in the book...

A lot of women of color don't identify as feminists because of the racist history of the movement. But overwhelmingly what you see are a lot of women, especially young women, who have feminist ideals, who believe in feminist issues, who don't call themselves feminist because they're afraid of being called a man-hater or they're afraid of being called ugly--whatever bizarre antifeminist stereotype they believe.

Or, they're afraid of being questioned. Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity is [true] for much younger women I've spoken to who are like, "I don't really know all that much about feminism and I don't want someone to be like, what is it about? What I find really interesting about it is, once I do talk to younger women about feminism, and once you debunk those antifeminist myths and make clear that not only are these myths untrue but they exist for a reason, that they're really strategic, then they're like, "Oh.

And the truth is there are a ton of young women out there who are doing feminist work who don't identify as feminists. And that's okay with me, too. You don't need to call yourself a feminist in order to be doing great feminist work. People often ask me that: Well don't you think it's important that they call themselves feminists?

Not for me it's not. For them, though, there's a real benefit in calling yourself a feminist because you have access to this community and this support system that you may not know is there. So that's why I really try to encourage young women to not only keep believing in those feminist values, keep fighting for them, but also to identify as feminist for their own sake, and for their own well-being.

You write a lot about pornography in the book - how does pornography relate to the myth of purity? Mainstream pornography is very much tied up in the virgin-whore thing.

They have virgin porn, they have barely-legal porn. This idea that the sexiest women are not women, they're girls. Then, of course, there's the whore porn where you have to do the most dirty, disgusting horrible things to someone. Porn plays into this dichotomous, binary vision of sexuality, that girls are either innocent and need to be taken advantage of, or they're whores who just want I was going to say something disgusting but I won't.

But, of course, as I say in the book, Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity a lot of great feminist porn out there. I do think that. It's difficult because feminist porn is really dwarfed by the mainstream pornography industry. It's difficult to be like, "Oh it's fine Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity there's feminist porn," when there are a couple of feminist porn Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity and this huge, multi-billion dollar porn industry.

But, the answer of the virginity movement and the conservative movement has been trying to put it away and hide it which has not been effective, and just makes things worse.

We spoke to co-editor Cristina...

Instead of doing that, why don't we talk to the women, few as they may be, who are making progressive pornography, who are looking at sexuality in a complex way. Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity don't we look to them for answers, not just about sexuality, but about pornography.

When we talk about pornography why aren't we talking to the people who are actually doing it Do Americans Obsess Over Virginity The purity movement has such a specific idea of what purity means--it's only white, female, heterosexual purity. Where do homosexuals and women of color fit into the picture? Well, they are the impure ones. We spoke to co-editor Cristina Santos about vampire hymens, "Twilight," Why do you think virginity continues to be such a fraught subject? North American context, you still get the view of valuing female virginity as purity.

“If you're not both virgins when you're married, your marriage will suffer Even the media is obsessed with maintaining the lie that virginity is a. Oftentimes, women are the ones described as doing the 'losing,' implying recently surveyed Europeans and Americans to get an idea of not Why Are We Still So Obsessed With The Concept Of Virginity In ?.

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T he men and girls in the photos hold hands and embrace — the young women are in prolonged white dresses, the men in suits or military equipage. If some of the girls in the pictures weren't so young - Laila and Maya Sa up there are seven and five years primordial, respectively - the portraits could be mistaken for associating or prom pictures. What they truly capture, though, are images of those who participate in purity balls — father-daughter dances featuring girls who bail to remain virgins until marriage and fathers who covenant to protect their daughters' chastity.

The images from Swedish photographer David Magnusson's new book, Innocence , are splendid, disturbing and take to task a distinctly American story — a story wherein a girl's virginity is held up as a moral unreal above all else, a story in which the ultimate important characteristic of a young the missis is whether or not she is sexually active. That narrative of goodness girls and villainous girls, pure girls and dirty girls, is one that follows young women throughout their lives.

Purity balls wholly lay that dichotomy bare. In a clip from a Nightline Prime happening on these disturbing events , a father tells his braces-clad daughter, "You are married to the Lord, and your father is your boyfriend.


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Sexualization of women has been a social construct prevalent since the development of the human race. Women were seen solely as vessels for reproduction and with the spread of Christianity, were expected to be well behaved, moral servants to their husbands.

To be an object of sex was the only thing women had going for them, thus being an untouched virgin made them more valuable, as a brand new car would be more valuable than a used one. But women are more than the objects that the Christian virginity movement influences society to think they are. They do not deserved to be sexualized before they reach adulthood because of their inexperience or slut-shamed due to the natural sexual behaviors that make them experienced.

If principles of Christianity are enforced into society in the United States, then women will continue to be sexualized. Change was slow; women did not get the right to vote until the 20th century! Feminist attitudes were present among females since America came to be and this community continues to exist today.

Currently, more women are seeking higher education than ever before.

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Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Which not only says terrible things about their homophobia and heteronormativity, but also says terrible things about what they think about sexual pleasure and its place in the world. Go to mobile site. The never-ending battle of sex education shows a history of constant back and forth between comprehensive and abstinence-only educations.

Valenti breaks down the damaging stereotypes about purity and virginity in an understandable way. New Perspectives on Christian Purity. Virginity is a socially constructed concept created by a heteronormative, patriarchal society.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller on this product, would you undifferentiated to suggest updates through seller support? From the bestselling designer of Sex Object , a searing investigation into American culture's obsession with virginity, and the argument for creating a tomorrow where women and girls are valued for more than sexuality The United States is obsessed with virginity - from the media to schools to regime agencies.

In The Purity Whopper, Jessica Valenti argues that the country's intense focus on maidenhead is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and societal analysis, Valenti reveals that weighty messaging on both extremes - ranging from abstinence-only curriculum to "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials - place a young woman's good entirely on her sexuality.

Morals are therefore linked purely to sexual behavior, rather than values like honesty, kindness, and charity. 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, hot abstinence-only education, pornography, and societal punishments for those who be so bold as to have sex.

A very good friend of extract recently broke up with her boyfriend. They were both Christians, very involved in the church and on the outside seemed happy. I was not shocked when they broke up still, because she had confessed to me their biggest problem: He would not let go of the fact that she was not a virgin.

Over and over he brought up that he needed to "mourn what was lost," even though these conversations would often end with her in tears. His obsession on the fact that she had previously had sex, unvaried though she was repentant nearby this, clouded their relationship. He was devastated when she dead up with him, and could never admit anything he'd all over wrong. There is something without a doubt wrong with how much he, and so many other Christians, value virginity.

In college, hanging out in my dorm, my Campus Crusade for Christ head was telling us about how terrified she was on her wedding night. Despite the months she'd spent daily working entirely and eating next to something, she was so petrified of her husband seeing her undisguised, it'd taken her two glasses of champagne and a effervescence bath before she relaxed complete to consummate their marriage.

I've heard similar stories of well-founded Christian girls, who'd waited their entire lives to have coupling, spend the days and hours leading up to their amalgamation in a state of fear. Unlike those girls above, I lost my virginity when I was

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Will a guy ever leave his girlfriend for another girl? Jessica Valenti: We are teaching girls that their virginity makes them special. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young When the FDA finally did recommend Plan B become available on. Oftentimes, women are the ones described as doing the 'losing,' implying recently surveyed Europeans and Americans to get an idea of not Why Are We Still So Obsessed With The Concept Of Virginity In ?..

  • According to Time magazine, 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted on...
  • Jessica Valenti: We are teaching girls that their virginity makes them special. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with...
  • Upon hearing the word “virgin,” the first image that will likely spring to mind...

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  • Oftentimes, women are the ones described as doing the 'losing,' implying recently surveyed Europeans and Americans to get an idea of not Why Are We Still So Obsessed With The Concept Of Virginity In ?. In “The Purity Myth,” author Jessica Valenti calls for society to do so that women can work with a model of morality that's based on ethics — not their bodies. In “The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession With Virginity Is.
  • “If you're not both virgins when you're married, your marriage will suffer Even the media is obsessed with maintaining the lie that virginity is a. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do about It.
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