Anthony CorradoThe Purity MythApril 9, 2015In today’s society the majority of parents especially fathers preach to their daughters about being”pure”and staying a virgin until after marriage. They make their daughters make promises to them about not having sex at such a young age that they are hardly old enough to realize what they are promising. The book ,”The Purity Myth”, does a good job explaining societal views on what it means to be a virgin and how the obsession with virginity has gotten out of hand. The book opens up with a personal story about her”first time”and the views that other including her mother had on her. The book states ,”if you keep having sex, no one would want to marry you”, this is a quote from her mother after she found a condom wrapper, it show how sex was such a negative term in young women. The father making their daughter attend”purity balls”for those who don’t know what this is , its”the federally funded father/daughter dances where girls as young as age six pledge their virginity until an appropriate husband comes along, to whom the fathers can transfer ownership of their daughters”(Valenti, 32). This book also has a very interesting chapter called”our bodies , their laws”, this chapter is interesting because it shows how even the law is trying to put restrictions on women having sex by”endangering their right to have an abortion.”It also introduces how”gang rape”is being justified in some cases. For example a teen fromCaliforniawas brutally raped and it was all caught on camera , yet they said”the girl wanted to be in a porn video and was just acting for the video”, situations like this should be eye openers to society and theirsexualizationand judgement of young women.The first chapter of the book is called”the cult of virginity”, in this chapter the author starts off by discussing her first time having sex and how her boyfriend at the time wrote their initials with the date in a heart to show that the first time was supposed to be a special one. This personal story explains how society puts extreme amounts of emphasis on sex and virginity. This gesture of drawing a heart with their initials and date in a way convinces these high-school sweethearts that they are in-love which in most cases isn’t true. The title”cult of virginity”is a very suiting title because those strongly for all women being virgins until they are married form a cult like group and preach that sex is dirty and wrong. Valenti brings up the point that is sex is a gift and is worth saving then what should happen if you don’t save sex? Would that make you you”lacking”or even”sullied”. This also does a good job explaining how the”cult”extended farther from just fathers to their daughters but also is being taught and preached through schools. One example of this is the teachers using candy to portray their message.”These candy exercises often consist of teachers’showing how the candy can’t fit back into the wrapper after being chewed/sucked/eaten”(Valenti, 33). Exercises such as this candy one really emphasize the filthiness of the act, which causes women to believe that they will be”dirty”and”deformed”even though its not mentioned in the book it is implied by the statement,”can’t fit back into wrapper”(Valenti, 33). Moving on to the the next two chapters”tainted love”and”forever young”, in this chapter Valenti discusses a quote that compares having sex to a lollipop that was sucked on and the wrapped back up for the next person. Valenti discusses a very good question”how it’s possible that a penis could have such power, that by merely being in the vicinity of a woman’s genitals it could transfer some kind of filth”(Valenti, 41). This is a very valid question, who made the penis decide if you were dirty? And does the mean that the penis was born”unclean”so in fact it’s dangerous to woman ? The book explains this from the point of view as woman being the dirty ones and potentially meaning the were”born dirty”but its not clear on if men are dangerous to women or if women are dangerous to themselves. Throughout this chapter it is explained how the idea of “sex for pleasure, fun , and even building relationships,”has been completely ignored and many push for the idea that sex is purely for procreation. I believe this idea that sex shouldn’t be fun is corrupting young women and scaring them into thinking that all sexual acts are wrong and dirty. Also I believe that since sex is viewed as”dirty”that when young women perform in these sexual acts sometimes they feel guilty of what they done and later consider it to be rape. This could be a problem because rape is clearly a serious matter and in no way would we want to away from the severity of the act, this is why we can’t preach sex as being”dirty”and”worth saving”because it could lead to acts of rape. In the chapter titled”forever young”it shows how marketing sexualizes girl from a young age. Valenti states,”target started selling Bratz bralettes- padded bras with cartoon characters on them marketed to girls.”(Valenti, 61) Bratz dolls are toys that are basically dressed up like prostitutes that young girls play with. Parents let their girls play with these dolls and wear the”bralettes”which sexualizes their daughter yet the are preaching for the”perfect virgin”, this seems to be a bit contradicting. The purity myth discusses ,”the cancer vaccine, now sold as Gardasil, prevents HPV, sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer,”the problem is that many are against this vacancy because they believe that if young women feel like the are protected against this due to the vaccine they are more likely to perform in sexual activity (Valenti ,71). A perfect way to put what the virginity movement was put as a footnote stating”Better that girls risk getting cancer than be sexually active”, this logic proves that America obsessing over”perfect virgins”is getting out of hand , the fact that they would rather not have young women receive vaccination that could possibly prevent them from getting cancer just to push the idea of virginity onto these women is absurd. Porn in America is a very common thing to come across, you can find it through magazines, television stations , and the internet, so its very available. With that being said sexual intercourse doesn’t imply that girls will grow up to be porn stars. A quote from the virginity movement states,”Stop having sex. Stop porn. Be pure”this is all just part of the brainwashing process being put into the heads of young women. The obsession with virginity doesn’t only affect young women it also affects older women who may want to have kids even though they aren’t married. For example,”Virginia lawmaker sponsored a bill to forbid unmarried women from using reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, to get pregnant,”(Valenti, 126) by doing this they are trying to restrict what women can have babies , how they can have them , and when they can have them. This seems to be unfair to put restrictions on the lives of other based on once again the”perfect virgin”. In conclusion I found this book to be not only very interesting but also very insightful and eye opening on how America sees young women and what they are attempting to do in order to meet the expectations of”pure”women. I recommend this book to all people but especially to young women because it shows the views of society and then proves that they aren’t true.Valenti, Jessica. The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women. Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2009. Print.
Anthony Corrado The Purity Myth April 9, 2015 In t Essay
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