Senior Project Advisor
Virginity, Sexuality, Suppression, Purity, Patriarchy, Abstinence
This paper examines how the construct of virginity was developed from the ancient Greeks to Western Europe and modern times in the United States. Other cultures may have different opinions about the topic of virginity, but with people of European descent, the value placed on virginity was used as a way to suppress female sexuality and promote male control over female sexuality expression. Women’s usefulness to society was reduced to being the most desirable choice for marriage which meant being virginal or pure. The reasons for why purity was important for women varied such as being representative of their family’s honor or to secure the bloodline. The ways in which society has regulated female virginity have also changed through time from marrying girls off early, to supporting abstinence-only education, or throwing purity balls for girls to pledge their virginity to their fathers. The lines drawn for female sexuality are so blurred in terms of what is acceptable by society, that no matter what, women are shamed for having sex, being sexual, or not doing either.
Hunter, Katherine, "Virginity: Not All Rose Petals and Candles" (2023). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 709.
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