HOW TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY is the new
documentary-in-progress by Therese Shechter, director of the
award-winning and provocative I WAS A TEENAGE FEMINIST.
When a bridal consultant effusively tells Therese, a
40-something sex-savvy feminist planning her first wedding,
she looks virginal in her white wedding dress, it sets
her on a journey to uncover why virginity still holds
such importance in our hyper-sexualized society.
Her growing tension around chastity-based wedding rituals
is the narrative backbone of the film, but the true target
is idealized, fetishized virginity: its historical role in
U.S. culture, its power to mold and damage a girlºs
self-image and self-worth; its commodification as something
manufactured, sold, given away, taken.
On this quest she engages abstinence ideologues, hymen
specialists, sex educators, porn producers and teenage girls,
to dig beneath the no-win double-message of our hook-up
culture that cynically encourages virginity but sells promiscuity.
What is behind this strange American cultural moment where
Disney starlets flaunt purity rings while writhing on
stripper poles, brothels hold million-dollar virginity
auctions, and artificial hymens can be had for $30 on Chinese
Therese plays the audience's navigator, decoding a landscape
of conflicting and hypocritical messages about what it means
to be a 'good girl' or a 'bad girl' - and why it matters. In the end,
she follows the white organza road, not only to her own non-white
wedding, but also to a place where young women can have open,
non-judgmental conversations about their own sexuality.