I’ve always found the idea of “saving” your virginity intriguing: It’s not as if we’re packing our Saran-wrapped hymens away in the freezer, after all, or pasting them in scrapbooks.  But packed-away virginities aside, the interesting — and dangerous — idea at play here is that of “morality.”  When young women are taught about morality, there’s not often talk of compassion, kindness, courage, or integrity.  There is, however, a lot of talk about hymens (though the preferred words are undoubtedly more refined — think “virginity” and “chastity”): if we have them, when we’ll lose them, and under what circumstances we’ll be rid of them.  
While boys are taught that the things that make them men — good men — are universally accepted ethical ideals, women are led to believe that our moral compass lies somewhere between our legs.  Literally.  Where it’s the determining factor in our “cleanliness” and “purity” or the marker of our character, virginity has an increasingly dangerous hold over young women.  It affects not only our ability to see ourselves as ethical actors outside of our own bodies, but also how the world interacts with us through social mores, laws, and even violence.  

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

I’ve always found the idea of “saving” your virginity intriguing: It’s not as if we’re packing our Saran-wrapped hymens away in the freezer, after all, or pasting them in scrapbooks.  But packed-away virginities aside, the interesting — and dangerous — idea at play here is that of “morality.”  When young women are taught about morality, there’s not often talk of compassion, kindness, courage, or integrity.  There is, however, a lot of talk about hymens (though the preferred words are undoubtedly more refined — think “virginity” and “chastity”): if we have them, when we’ll lose them, and under what circumstances we’ll be rid of them.  

While boys are taught that the things that make them men — good men — are universally accepted ethical ideals, women are led to believe that our moral compass lies somewhere between our legs.  Literally.  Where it’s the determining factor in our “cleanliness” and “purity” or the marker of our character, virginity has an increasingly dangerous hold over young women.  It affects not only our ability to see ourselves as ethical actors outside of our own bodies, but also how the world interacts with us through social mores, laws, and even violence.  

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

2 years ago with 1,891 notes
1,891 notes
tagged as: Jessica Valenti. The Purity Myth. books. quote.

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