The United States is obsessed with virginityfrom 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 extremesranging from abstinence curriculum to Girls Gone Wild infomercialsplace 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 valueand hypocrisyaround the notion that girls remain virgin 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.
Jessica Valenti is the founder and Executive Editor of Feministing.com, and the author of Full Frontal Feminism and The Purity Myth. Her writing has appeared in many publications including The Guardian, and in 2007 she was named one of Elle magazine's 2007 IntELLEgentsia. She lives in Astoria, New York.