Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Everyone Else Has To Say About Your Vagina

The amazing Jessica Valenti has a new dvd out The Purity Myth, that is a movie version of the book she wrote by the same name. Jessica is also a founder of the blog Feministing and the author of Full Frontal Feminism. (If you haven't checked out Full Frontal Feminism I really recommend it - very current and readable understanding of what feminism is today.)

The Purity Myth takes a tough look at our American culture of virginity and all the politics, traditions, and consequences of the importance that the scientifically undefinable term has been given. From the Purity Balls where daughters pledge their purity to their fathers, to Britney Spears, to tax funded abstinence only education, to what "virgins" and "sluts" look like this documentary does an amazing job of covering it all.

The book version is actually still on my 'to read' list but i did listen to a really great interview with Jessica Valenti a couple years ago. One of the things that stood out to me was that the focus that is put on purity and virginity actually ends up sexualizing girls more. Like when I was in high school the 'purity' of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears was actually a huge factor in their sexualization. And in the instance of Purity Balls - making a prepubescent girl pledge her virginity actually leads girls to view themselves as valuable only by that quality.

In this documentary Jessica Valenti also makes the point that this focus on purity "equates inaction with morality" and "ties women's ethics to their bodies". In this way the only way to consider oneself a valuable being is by passivity.

Valenti's explanation of The Purity Myth is as such"
The purity myth is the lie that women's sexuality has some bearing on who we are and how good we are, because really I think we all know that young women are so much more than whether or not they have sex. We really should be teaching our daughters that their ability to be good people should be based on their intelligence, on their compassion, their kindness, not what they do with their bodies.

The Purity Myth Trailer from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

The DVD is available here but its very expensive - like you should tell your school or organization to buy it. But secretly you can watch an "extended preview" here.

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