HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #8: The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

So, I was halfway through this book when Lollygagger posted this fabulous review on the CBR blog, which was then featured on Pajiba. I really don’t have that much to add. That review is a great summary of the book, it’s thesis, and why it’s important for both men and women to think about this topic. I’m going to address two things that jumped out at me.

First, how difficult is still can be for women to get access to contraception, abortion and needed healthcare.  Valenti’s stories about women being denied Plan B by pharmacists who have taken matters into their own hands, of women jailed after giving birth to still born babies, about proposals for miscarriage laws that require reporting a miscarriage so the state can determine if you endangered your unborn child, scared me. Valenti made the point that if a woman is considered mature enough by the state to carry a child to term and raise a child, the state should consider a woman mature enough to choose whether she wants to have that child at all (whether this be by accessing Plan B after a birth control lapse, or through abortion). The rhetoric most states use to limit access to birth control and abortion is that of the woman as a victim, as immature, as unable to make these decisions herself. I find that kind of rhetoric incredibly disturbing. Roe v. Wade was a huge victory, but things like Mississippi are still happening.

Second, the idea of women as gatekeepers is antiquated, and dangerous, for both men and women.