CSWS Film Series: The Purity Myth
|October 3, 2012
Screening & moderated discussion
177 Lawrence Hall
1190 Franklin Blvd.
The Purity Myth: The Virginity Movement’s War Against Women
A panel of noted scholars and activists will discuss “The War on Women” in a public forum following a screening of The Purity Myth. In this video adaptation of her bestselling book, pioneering feminist blogger Jessica Valenti trains her sights on “the virginity movement” — an unholy alliance of evangelical Christians, right-wing politicians, and conservative policy intellectuals who have been exploiting irrational fears about women’s sexuality to roll back women’s rights. From dad-and-daughter “purity balls,” taxpayer-funded abstinence-only curricula, and political attacks on Planned Parenthood, to recent attempts by legislators to de-fund women’s reproductive health care and narrow the legal definition of rape, Valenti identifies a single, unifying assumption: the myth that the worth of a woman depends on what she does — or does not do — sexually. In the end, Valenti argues that the health and well-being of women are too important to be left to ideologues bent on vilifying feminism and undermining women’s autonomy.
The panel will include activist Kamala Shugar (board chair, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon) and UO professors April Haynes (History); Priscilla Yamin (Political Science); and Peter Laufer (SOJC).
This public event marks the first of four screenings of feminist documentaries that will take place from October 2012 to May 2013. Carol Stabile, UO professor and director of the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) says, “Like many women around the country, we’ve watched and listened to the recent public debates and legislative attempts to roll back fundamental gains in women’s reproductive rights and access to health care.”
These setbacks include:
• the Komen Foundation decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood
• Virginia’s proposed law to require transvaginal ultrasounds for women considering an abortion
• Rush Limbaugh’s reaction to Sandra Fluke’s testimony on the Affordable Care Act
• the silencing of Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown for using the “V-word” while debating an anti-abortion bill.
“Over the past year, we have seen a sustained attack on issues of central concern to women, with very few women having the opportunity to weigh in on these issues in the public arena,” said Stabile, who is the author of articles including “Shooting the Mother: Fetal Photography and the Politics of Disappearance,” and several books on media history, gender, and race.
Taking as its focus the role that women’s bodies have played in these national debates, and the gender gap in media coverage, this public event gathers together experts on media politics, women’s sexuality and health, and reproductive justice to discuss how both traditional broadcast outlets and social media have framed — and changed — this conversation.
Filmmaker Jessica Valenti was named one of the top 100 Inspiring Women in the World by The Guardian and is the author of several books about “third wave feminism” and the young women’s rights movement. She is a regular contributor to The Nation and a sought-after speaker.
Sponsored by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society with the Fembot Project.
CSWS Film Series: Private Issues, Public Conversations
- Telling Amy’s Story October 17, 2012 7:30 p.m. 177 Lawrence Hall
- Bi the Way January 30, 2013 Location TBA
- Madame Satã April 2013 Location TBA
CSWS Film Series events are free and open to the public.