Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A return to modesty

Anybody read this? It looks very interesting.

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue

"The 23-year-old author first heard of "modestyniks"--Orthodox Jewish women who withhold physical contact from men until marriage--while a freshman at Williams College. She was initially fascinated by the way in which they cleave to old ideals, especially amid a sexually saturated contemporary world. But more so, Wendy Shalit was aghast at how modestyniks are dismissed as sick, delusional, or repressed by the secular community. "Why," asks the author, "is sexual modesty so threatening to some that they can only respond to it with charges of abuse or delusion?"
In her thoughtful three-part essay, the author reveals an impressive reading list as she probes the cultural history of sexual modesty for women and considers whether this virtue may be beneficial in today's world--if not an antidote to misogyny. In an age when women are embarrassed by sexual inexperience, when sex education is introduced as early as primary school, and when women suffer more than ever from eating disorders, stalking, sexual harassment, and date rape, Shalit believes a return to modesty may place women on equal footing with men. She yearns for a time when conservatives can believe the claims of feminists and feminists can differentiate between patriarchy and misogyny and share in the dialectic of female sexuality.
While the young author's argument is often limited by naiveté and her own lack of experience, her profound intelligence and daring are undeniable. A Return to Modesty is a thought-provoking debut that introduces an original and exciting new feminist thinker."

Gotta love that last sentence though...

And on a somewhat unrelated note: this article is really ridiculous. Actually, I probably shouldn't post it because the author lost her previous job as a reporter due to plagiarism and inaccuracy, and this very article was pulled from the Elle website for inaccuracy issues... But it was so gosh darn interesting! Or revolting. Or both.

4/13/12 update: I did end up reading this book for a research paper, and it was really good. She has an agenda so of course not everything is very impartial but there were so many interesting perspectives. I highly recommend it for anyone ever dealing with young girls/young women/women in general. (oh wait, that means... everyone!)


  1. Yes, I've read it and I think it is spot on! I'm a 50 something mother trying to raise 1 daughter and 4 sons in thoroughly immodest world. Ms. Shalit did some heavy duty research and came to interesting conclusions. Very worthwhile reading for women.

  2. Oooh, I might put that on my Christmas break reading list. And that other article is absolutely ridiculous. What the...!?!

  3. It sounds interesting! But the part I don't like is, "[the author] considers whether this virtue may be beneficial in today's world--if not an antidote to misogyny." The way it's phrased sounds like the blame of misogyny is being put on the way women dress. There's nothing a woman can do to deserve misogyny.