Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Healthy Love Week: The Purity Myth

Today marks the kickoff of the Women's Center's first ever Healthy Love Week! Tonight we will be hosting a screening & discussion of the Purity Myth, a documentary based on the book by Jessica Valenti. The event will take place in J.Lees... snacks will be out by 9pm and the film will start at 9:30pm!

Check out the documentary preview:

Going along with the Purity Myth, we decided to share with you some Healthy Love Q&A Questions that relate to virginity!

Is there any sure-fire way to tell that someone has lost their virgnity?

In short: no. Most people know that there is no physical marker that can show you if a male bodied person (someone with a penis) has "lost" their virginity... nothing changes on the penis after it has been inserted into a vagina (or an anus, or a mouth, etc.)

What most people don't know, however, is that they hymen (the membrane that stretches and partially covers the vaginal opening on some female-bodied people) cannot be used to measure female-bodied people's virginity either. Some women are born with hymens that do not cover the vaginal opening at all, meaning that it does not stretch or tear when they first have vaginal intercourse. This stretching or tearing is sometimes referred to as having your "cherry popped" since, if it does happen, blood can be present.

However, a blood-less first time is not a surefire indicator that someone has already "lost" their virginity. The hymen can stretch without tearing and bleeding, it can stretch during other activities (like bike riding or gymnastics), it could be so small that it doesn't need to stretch at all... the possibilities are endless.

So wait, you mean virginity isn't real?

Yep, that is exactly what I am saying! Well, kind of. Virginity is a social construction which means that it is real but only because we collectively come together to make it real. If that doesn't completely make sense, just think about money: there is nothing that physically makes a $100 bill more valuable than a $1 bill. The ink is the same, the paper is the same, etc. Yet a $100 bill is 100 times more valuable than a $1 bill because we all collectively buy into that fact.

Virginity works the same way: we decide that penile-vaginal intercourse (which is what we usually mean when we say "losing your virginity") is the be all and end all of sexual activities, and that the first time a person engages in that activity they lose their virginity/purity and they are changed forever on.  This is not a physical or biological rule, it is a social rule that we have collectively agreed upon and can decide to change at any point if enough people agree on a new construction!

Check out this article on Scarleteen for some more information!

Do you like the current construction? Do you think we need a new one? Feel free to discuss in the comments or head on over to the Purity Myth Screening & Discussion tonight in J.Lees (movie starts at 9:30pm!)

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