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Jessica Valenti does it again with newest book

May 20, 2009

I first fell in love with Jessica Valenti, and subsequently, Feministing, after I read Valenti’s first book, Full Frontal Feminism. Not only because she knows the beauty of mixing feminism with a well-placed F-bomb or two (or ten). She’s funny, smart, and accessible—exactly the kind of writer and personality our too-often apathetic generation needs.

Her newest book, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women, came out in March, so I’m a little slow in bringing it up—and reading it—but it’s never too late to promote some good feminist lit!

Check out Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory’s great interview with Valenti for a little taste of what you’ll find in The Purity Myth. A brief excerpt from that interview:

Tracy Clark-Flory: So, what do you advocate, how do we escape the purity myth?

Valenti: That was the hard part of the book. It’s such a deeply ingrained double standard. What I try to promote in the book is more real-life, everyday stuff that you can do to lessen the effects. For example, making sure that abstinence-only education isn’t being taught at your kid’s school and teaching them about media literacy. Also, to really open up the door for a conversation about a more nuanced, complex sexuality.

It seems like there’s the potential for the wife/whore dichotomy to backfire on the purity movement.

Yes, yes. You’re giving women two options: You can either be the virgin or the slut. Once you have sex and you’re not the virgin anymore, you have to commit to the other. The binary can definitely have what is an unintended effect of leading young women to have a lot more sex than they normally would.

The Purity Myth is definitely going to be in my next round of Amazon purchases, along with Tori Amos’ new album, “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,” which came out yesterday! (Sorry, had to shamelessly plug for one of my favorite female singer/songwriters there.)

Valenti deserves a spot next to Judy Blume’s on every teenager’s must-read list. Funny, Kathryn Jean Lopez had something snarky to say about her, too.

  1. Jay permalink
    May 21, 2009 8:03 am

    I had read that K-Lo post when she wrote it. After rereading it, I still don’t understand what her jab is. Maybe it’s some sort of anti-feminist code? Does babelfish have a translation setting for wingnut to english?

    • Alison permalink
      May 21, 2009 10:24 am

      I’m not fluent in wingnut K-Lo speak either, but I’m pretty sure this is a weak attempt at humor. Cause feminists don’t get married. And when we do, we’re even crazier than normal brides! HAHA! She’s so terrible.

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