As the campaign for the Presidency heats up in the United States, it’s sex that’s been making headlines around the world. A series of high-profile attacks on women’s reproductive health by conservative politicians has shifted the debate from anxieties about the global economy to anxieties about women’s sexuality. Where unemployment and jobs once dominated the discussion, now it’s contraception, promiscuity, and abortion.
The Purity Myth, the new documentary based on the international bestseller by pioneering feminist blogger Jessica Valenti, makes sense of this shift. The film takes aim at “the virginity movement” – a little known, but politically powerful, coalition of politicians, evangelical Christians, and right-wing activists that has been pushing a pro-purity agenda for decades. It argues convincingly that the movement’s longstanding preoccupation with contraception and abortion is less about sex and morality than it is about women’s autonomy and independence. And it shows how feminism and women’s equality are the movement’s ultimate targets.
Speaking directly to our political moment, in ways that transcend American politics, The Purity Myth offers an astonishing look at how fears around women’s sexuality are being used to roll back women’s rights and reassert male authority.
Featuring: Jessica Valenti
Executive Producer: Sut Jhally
Director: Jeremy Earp
Writers: Jessica Valenti & Jeremy Earp
Producers: Jeremy Earp, Scott Morris & Jason Young
Editor: Jason Young
Media Research: Scott Morris
Associate Producers: Loretta Alper & Andrew Killoy
Camera: David Rabinovitz
Locations Sound Recordist: Andy Turrett
Sound Mix: Rikk Desgres, Pinehurst Pictures & Sound
Motion Graphics: Andrew Killoy
Additional Graphics: Jason Young
Jessica Valenti is the co-founder of the internationally renown blog Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review called "head and shoulders above almost any writing on women's issues in mainstream media."
She is also the author of several influential and bestselling books about the relationship between women’s sexuality, politics, and male power, including Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters, He's a Stud, She's a Slut... and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, and The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women.
Valenti won the 2011 Hillman Journalism Prize, and was named by The Guardian (UK) as one of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World.