Anastasia Kousakis interviews Jessica Valenti who says that America is obsessed with virginity, specifically female virginity, and who thinks it's ridiculous. Unfortunately she displays not even a basic understanding of the importance of traditional sexuality to Western culture and makes no substantive argument against traditional values: she merely scoffs as if that is argument enough. Maybe for HuffPo readers it is!

So, what is the purity myth?

The purity myth is the lie that virginity or sexual abstinence has some bearing on who we are as people, as good people, women in particular. More specifically, what the book talks about is how that lie and how that myth is really a driving force in a lot of the conservative moves to regress women's rights and to reinforce traditional gender roles. So, how they're using this myth of sexual purity, this fear of young women's sexuality, to promote their agenda for women.

You argue in the book that America is obsessed with virginity, female virginity specifically, and that there is, in fact, an entire movement fuelling this obsession. How exactly do you define the "virginity movement?"

The virginity movement, specifically, is a group of--and they certainly don't call themselves the virginity movement--conservatives, anti-feminist organizations, legislators, all with this really specific agenda in mind for women that's definitely regressive, definitely old school, definitely traditional. But instead of using the normal ways of pushing their agenda they're really focusing on young women's sexuality as not only a scare tactic but as a salacious way to get their point across.

Miss Valenti's strategy appears to consist of using words like "conservative", "regressive", "old school", and "traditional" and assuming that because her readers aren't those things they will accept the mere labeling as an actual argument.

Maybe if Miss Valenti studied history or anthropology outside of the Women's Studies department she'd have a firmer foundation for her position.

(HT: RD.)

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