The Sex Myth: Why Everything We're Told Is Wrong

The Sex Myth: Why Everything We're Told Is Wrong - Brooke Magnanti Between 3.5 and 4 stars.An easy to read dissection of the myths, tricks and perceptions that permeate the media's portrayal of sex issues such as prostitution, sex addiction, pornography and the sexualisation of young people. The book I'd most compare it to is Ben Goldacre's Bad Science, in that it shows you the techniques most often used to spin a story out of proportion - dodgy statistics, eye grabbing headlines, emotion over fact, etc - and how to combat them. Magnanti emphasises the common desire for people to reach for morality over facts, which I think is an important thing to remember. Some of it feels a bit slight, and there are areas here Magnanti could have written entire books about, but what is here is worth your time. I'm disappointed that the conclusion reads more like a settling of scores, as Magnanti goes after several feminist writers of the past 15 years or so, somewhat contradicting her own previous statements - women shouldn't support other women's heinous behaviour just because they're women (the example Magnanti uses is Michele Bachmann, and I entirely agree), but criticising women for potentially problematic and over-sexualised actions is anti-feminist? (She is right on some of Ariel Levy's slut-shaming choice of phrases, and I'm disappointed in myself for not picking up on them when I read the book). Magnanti tends to generalise all feminists by the occasionally bonkers and all too wrong radical wing, and while I do think such problems should be called out (comparing transgender women to rape, anyone?), it feels odd to shove them all in the same basket. Insinuating that radical feminism encapsulates several generations of evolving feminism feels like saying the Westboro Baptist Church represents all of Christianity (also, please don't shove Julie Burchill in with feminism. That woman is racist and pretty evil). Magnanti was treated pretty shoddily by many in the media who proclaim themselves to be feminists after she was revealed to be Belle de Jour, and that was very unfair to her (I'm a feminist who thinks prostitution should be fully legalised, regulated and taxed), but if she has grudges to air out, she should do it in a blog post. It's definitely a worthwhile read if you can pick up a copy, so give it a go if you're interested.