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The Myth of Female “Purity”

English: Profile picture of author Jessica Valenti

I admit, I haven’t read Jessica Valenti‘s book “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women”.

The book describes the myth of virginity and female purity in American culture and how the religious right has channeled this view of sexuality into the growing abstinence movement.

The strange “purity balls” in which daughters pledge their virginity to their fathers (unpack that one) and abstinence-only education have a terrible success rate.

Study after study has shown that more information and access to contraceptives are the key to preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The abstinence-only approach goes hand in hand with the Christianists’ feverish attempts to keep any and all information about sexuality out of the hands of the demographic that arguably needs it most – young people.

By the author’s estimate, $50 million in taxpayer money has been wasted on abstinence-only “education” which often incorporate outright lies in order to scare kids out of having sex.

Now there is a movie based on Valenti’s book, which is now on DVD:

The Purity Myth Trailer from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

The trailer looks interesting, and seems to drive home the point that all the right-wing fuss is really about controlling women.

As ever, the right continues to live in a foregone era that never actually happened.

They think that if they can force the rest of us to go along with their Donna Reed/June Cleaver fantasy, America will be great again.

If only women could do what they were designed for: Make babies, cook, clean and do laundry.

No thanks.



December 8, 2011 Posted by | Feminism, Health Care, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Science, Sexuality | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Metaphor For GOP Thinking

Andrew Sullivan posted this on The Daily Dish the other day.

From Sullivan and Wikipedia:

An ant mill is a phenomenon where a group of army ants separated from the main foraging party lose the pheromone track and begin to follow one another, forming a continuously rotating circle. The ants will eventually die of exhaustion. This has been reproduced in laboratories and the behaviour has also been produced in ant colony simulations.[1] This phenomenon is a side effect of the self-organizing structure of ant colonies. Each ant follows the ant in front of it, and this will work until something goes wrong and an ant mill forms.[2] An ant mill was first described by William Beebe who observed a mill 1,200 feet (365 m) in circumference. It took each ant 2.5 hours to make one revolution.[3] Similar phenomena have been noted in processionary caterpillars and fish.[4]

Sullivan remarks that this is a great metaphor for the long-term effects of “epistemic closure”.

The term, appropriated from philosophy, means (in terms of the political blogosphere) the tendency for conservative media to become untethered from reality — accepting no new ideas or entertaining or discussing in any meaningful way ideas which they disagree with.

Sounds about right.


September 20, 2010 Posted by | Fox News, Humor, Politics, Republicans, Science | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Neat Science

Life saving - drinking water

Image by Julien Harneis via Flickr

This is one of those nifty things that I feel the need to share. I’m a nerd.

Industrial designers have created a new, lifesaving product that is extremely useful.

It’s called a “Life Sack” and here’s what it is:

<blockquote>…an ingenious water purification device that does double duty as a container for shipping grains and other food staples. Once the food has been received, the sack can be used as a solar water purification kit.</blockquote>

It’s pretty cool, and can be put on like a backpack.

Read more: Life Sack Solves Drinking Water Issues for the Third World | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Human-Sized T-Rexes?

Tyrannosaurus rex, a theropod from the Late Cr...

Image via Wikipedia

National Geographic has posted an exciting article citing evidence that shows that the meat-eating forebears of Tyrannosaurus Rex were human-sized.

How cool is that?

University of Maryland tyrannosaur expert Thomas Holtz, Jr., added: “I like to call [early tyrannosaurs] the jackals of the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous.

Seems there is growing evidence that the ancestors of Tyrannosaurus Rex started small, preying on young and smaller dinosaurs from hiding.

During the earlier period larger theropods (meat-eating dinosaurs), like Allosaurus fragilis dominated the apex predator niche.

Paleontologists are not clear on why T. Rex underwent a huge growth spurt during the middle Cretaceous, as that period is not well represented in the fossil record.


September 17, 2010 Posted by | Dinosaurs, Paleontology, Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment