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Hanne Blank's Virginity is an authoritative, illuminating, always fascinating exploration of a much misunderstood idea that, sadly, remains a silly but deadly serious preoccupation in far too much of the world. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
From the “discovery” of the Hymen in ancient times to abstinence-only education in schools and purity balls today, Blank writes about the history of our preoccupation with "virginity." In her analysis, we can see the social construction of virginity, the sexism implicit in it, and the malleable definition of virginity over time.
Everything you think you know about virginity is up for debate. Blank writes with a great deal of humor and perception: "Of all the countries of the developed world, the United States is the only one that has to date created a federal agenda having specifically to do with the virginity of its citizens."
This book takes our assumptions, and turns them on their heads.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Virgin again? Why?
Yes, it's a great short history of not just virginity but touching on a variety of related topics including the historical status of women and families, the medical establishment's understanding of women's anatomy and sexual health, issues surrounding rape, religion's role in all of these things, the way government and other institutions deal with sexuality and virginity. Honestly when I got to the end I just wanted it to go on.
What did you like best about this story?
There is an exploration of the issues while continuing to see it all as part of a larger narrative. There is humour as well as a serious discussion of issues. It made me think a lot about things I had assumed or never questioned.
What does Fran Tunno bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
The narrator was very clear and read with a sense of understanding and even enjoying the book themselves, which made it easy to listen and consider the content.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
It's hard to pin down one particular thing as it is still very much swimming around my head, but there were definitely moments where I laughed out loud, got very angry or frustrated (destroy the patriarchy!), or just very sad for some of the people described.