Jessica Valenti

The Privilege of Purity

Sarah Moon analyzes how purity culture perpetuates a power imbalance between whites and non-whites:

Some women are seen as impure just because of who they “are.”

Jessica Valenti points out in The Purity Myth, “we rarely see women who aren’t conventionally beautiful idolized for their abstinence… The desirable virgin is…young, white, and skinny. She’s never a woman of color…”

I think it’s a fascinating (and infuriating) contradiction, the way the American Church is able to simultaneously essentialize sexual behavior and—in practical terms—deny sexuality as a fundamental component of humanity.

I'm Not a "Mother First"

Jessica Valenti at The Nation:

The sentiment may seem innocuous, but there’s a danger in returning to an ideal where women’s most important identity is relational rather than individual. If we want equality, women with children would be better served calling themselves people first, moms second.

I don’t think the implicit choice being offered here is “Mother first, person second”; it’s “mother first, insert job title here second”.

I agree substantially with Valenti’s point, though, and I wonder whether this would even be a problem if men described themselves as “fathers first”—which they probably should (if they’re fathers).