Why has an indefinable state of being commanded the attention and fascination of the human race since the dawn of time? In Virgin, Hanne Blank brings us a revolutionary, rich and entertaining survey of an astonishing untouched history.
From the simple task of determining what constitutes its loss to why it matters to us in the first place, Blank gets to the heart of why we even care about it in the first place. She tackles the reality of what we do and don't know about virginity and provides a sweeping tour of virgins in history - from virgin martyrs to Queen Elizabeth to billboards in downtown Baltimore telling young women it's not a "dirty word." Virgin proves, as well, how utterly contemporary the topic is - the butt of innumerable jokes, center of spiritual mysteries, locus of teenage angst, popular genre for pornography, and nucleus around which the world's most powerful government has created an unprecedented abstinence policy. In this fascinating work, Hanne Blank shows for the first time why this is, and why everything we think we know about virginity is wrong.
©2007 Hanne Blank (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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