Purity Myth

The Purity Myth – A Brief Review of the Documentary

The Purity Myth (2011) – Jessica Valenti’s documentary (based on her 2009 book of the same name) unraveling the myth that virginity is the ultimate measure of a woman’s character. Not only does abstinence-only education not work but it actually can do some major damage to a girl’s sense of agency and self-worth. The purity movement is really about restoring traditional gender roles and reinforces the notion that women must be passive, submissive, and under the protection of a man, be it their father, brother, or husband. This movement would have us believe that women can’t be moral on their own terms by means of their own agency. This doc isn’t winning any filmmaking awards but Valenti’s message is spot-on. It’s starting to look dated but still would be a valuable addition to any GWS-focused class and is available via Kanopy streaming video platform.