26 April 2009

Sexuality and ‘The Purity Myth’ by Jessica Valenti

An short excerpt from the book The Purity Myth appeared yesterday on Parentcentral.com on the Toronto Star pages online. The subheading was ‘The author of a new book argues against purity cults’, and that is what Jessica Valenti does, in this promotion of her book. How does such tripe get included in the parents’ section of the Toronto Star? Do parents realize that this author is promoting promiscuity in this piece, and possibly within the entire book if this is any indication of what it’s about?

Approaching this subject in a black-and-white manner, only seeing two perspectives, she leaves readers with the suggestion that purity and virginity are old-fashioned and destructive towards young women’s sense of themselves, sexually. Attempting to turn readers (parents?) against the idea of purity and virginity is not a rational approach to the serious topic of young women’s sexuality. It’s part of it, but it isn’t the main problem. Making virginity the problem suggests to readers that the only alternative is so-called sexual ‘freedom,’ a stance I find damaging for girls/women and to society, maybe more so than the idea that women should remain pure. My response to the piece submitted online follows:

The double standard of gender differences in sexuality

Jessica Valenti has set up two polar opposites in this excerpt, creating a false sense of what the problems are. It's popular now to 'be sexual', as she says, although I wonder how much of the 'being sexual' is really that, for many young women out of touch with their own bodies. Valenti claims that "The sexual double standard is alive and well, and it's irrevocably damaging young women," but the problem actually is that feminists, in their attempt to do away with the double standard, have put women in the position of having to pretend there is no double 'standard', if standard is the right word.

Men's sexuality IS different than women's. Men have a different physical body, different biology, different hormones, while the standard men (and women) are led to believe in is that women are the same as men, sexually, and are, or should be, willing and able to have sex, without a relationship, for the sake of fun and sexual release only. Women are rewarded for perpetuating that tradition.

How 'virginity' is a dangerous idea
Jessica Valenti
Parentcentral.ca (Toronto Star)
Apr 25, 2009

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