The Purity Myth

Written by: Ness Fraser

This blog post was supposed to be written days ago. I finished Jessica Valenti’s The Purity Myth all gung-ho to write an article

The Purity Myth

on it, so I could tell the Sheridan world all about it’s greatness and whatnot. But I sat down at my computer and went blank. I’ll admit it – there is no possible way I can do this book justice. But, for your sake, and the sake of the book, I’ll try my best.

The Purity Myth tackles the idea of virginity in North American culture (focused mostly on the US). The book is written much like a novel-length essay, with each chapter covering a different topic under the umbrella of “the cult of virginity” (also the title of chapter one). Valenti backs up all of her points with scientific studies and quotes, which makes it hard – even if you disagree with her philosophies – to deny the truth in what she’s saying.

The book is centered in feminism – trusting and empowering women, breaking gender stereotypes, and striving for gender equality when it comes to sex. As someone who was a little freaked out with the concept of feminism (images of hairy armpits and bra-burning come to mind), I came at this book with hesitation, but Valenti conveys her ideas in a way that just seems logical – not like her ideologies are a stretch, just common sense.

While school is starting back up, and soon enough we will all be in the routine of nightly homework and the return of our favourite TV shows (House! September 20th!), this book deserves the bit of time it takes to read. With less than 300 pages (double spaced) and packed full of information, a solid Sunday of reading is really all one would need. I realize a book on “women’s issues” sadly might not seem the most appealing, but any one interested in society’s view of sex, virginity, and morals, should check out this book. While I can’t promise you’ll love it like I do, I can promise you’ll learn a thing or two.

I found an excerpt from the introduction here, give it a read!

Have a great first day at school, everyone!


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