Magazine article In These Times

Measuring Young Women's Worth

Magazine article In These Times

Measuring Young Women's Worth

Article excerpt

In The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women (Seal, January) Jessica Valenti, the founder and editor of Feministing.com, explores America's "cult of virginity."

Viewing virginity as a commodity - as it was seen back in the days in which daughters were exchanged as property - lives on . . . Take, for example, Virginity Vouchers. . . . Sold to abstinence educators as abstinence commitment cards to hand out to students, these vouchers, which look much like credit cards, feature a background image of a bride and groom with the words "Virginity Voucher: Don't buy the lie, save sex for marriage" . . .

And, of course, there are purity balls - the federally funded father/daughter dances where girls as young as age six pledge their virginity to their dads, who in turn pledge to hang on to said virginity until an appropriate husband comes along , to whom the fathers can transfer ownership of their daughters. …

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