Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 16, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Virgin (Book - Hanne Blank)

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Hanne Blank
publisher
Bloomsbury
genre
History, Women's Studies, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

In Virgin, her lively book on virginity, Hanne Blank writes with forthright gusto, ”Short of catching someone in the act of sex, virginity can be neither proven nor disproven.” She has a juicy time cataloging cultural associations, historical trends (the rise of Protestantism changed the face of virginity in Europe), and physiological factoids (did you know female llamas, manatees, and rats all have hymens?). With a cheery, erudite, feminist eye, Blank argues that ”today, ‘virgin’ tends to mean female unless stated otherwise.” The punny section heads (”Cut to the Chaste,” ”A Recycled Box”) are groaners. But who could resist ”To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before”?

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