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Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank

In Nonfiction on January 22, 2010 at 10:15 am
Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank

Virgin: The Untouched History by Hanne Blank

Title: Virgin: The Untouched History

Author: Hanne Blank

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: ***/****

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After reading Valenti’s The Purity Myth, I decided to read a work she referenced a few times.  In this book, Hanne Blank basically lays out virginity throughout the ages mostly pertaining to the West.  Also, what she does which I think is a much-needed in today’s work of abstinence & purity pledges is give the readers an accurate portrayal for why virginity has been emphasized & prized.  Without a doubt, another aspect of the book that could help many people, especially young people, is to disspell many myths related to virginity.

Something that many people fail to understand is that authors like Valenti & Blank are not speaking against someone making a choice to stay a virgin, they are just speaking against it being an expectation for one gender.  In both Valenti’s & Blank’s books, they have laid out the bare truth that there is no precise definition of virginity, even in medical texts.  Plus, there is no exact science to knowing whether or not someone is a virgin, but as Blank points out often enough even for the most stubborn to understand, is that rarely is the virgin asked if she* is one or not.  Her answer is usually ignored in place of rigorous & bizarre tests that have evolved through the centuries. There is no test to prove who is a virgin, not one!

After reading this, many people could grow a little more alarmed when seeing abstinence/purity only education being directed towards females, especially when the US gov’t pays for it.  Even when these religious types try to parade their positions on virginity as female empowerment, I just want to use the cliche: This new feminism is just the same old patriarchy.  It isn’t empowerment when a woman is not trusted enough  to be educated about her own body.

*I say ‘she’ because we all know male virginity is not even prized amongst the religious who have a moral obligation to remain chaste before marriage.

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