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Author Archive: "Jessica Valenti"

Full Frontal Feminism Revisited

It is arguably the worst and best time to be a feminist. In the years since I first wrote Full Frontal Feminism, we've seen a huge cultural shift in the way feminism is thought of along with the same old nonsense.

Decades after feminists fought for access to birth control, against sexual assault and rape culture, to have equal pay, and to be free from discrimination, we're still largely battling these same issues. But despite the political déjà vu, feminists do seem to be winning the culture wars: politicians that deride birth control use are widely mocked, the mainstream media that used to ignore or declare feminism dead is now on board, and the most culturally relevant artist in the world — Beyoncé — calls herself a feminist.

Perhaps best of all, since FFF was released, tens of thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands — of young women and men have started blogs, Tumblrs, Facebook pages, and organizations all dedicated to gender, racial, and class justice.

But let's not be fooled. At the same time that we're seeing this incredible progress, we continue to live ...

The Purity Myth

The Purity Myth has been a long time coming. The sexual double standard has irked me since I was a teenager, and the framing of sexually active women as "dirty" has fascinated me for just as long. But it was really the work I do on that led me to write this book. I started to notice a trend emerging in the stories we were covering — whether it was pop culture or policy, there seemed to be an obsessive focus on young women's sexuality. Not exactly news, I know. But this focus went beyond your run-of-the-mill objectification. Moral panic articles about "girls gone wild" and spring break madness were popping up around the same time books about "modesty" and the dangers of "hooking up" were all the rage.

In fact, in 2007 alone, nearly 1,000 news and magazine articles referred to the "girls gone wild" or "raunch culture" phenomenon. The topics of these articles ranged from general finger wagging about girls' supposed promiscuity and spring break, to op-eds about college women's slutty Halloween costumes. We ...

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