Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Return to Modesty

I just finished reading A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit and sit in shock and disbelief at our culture, especially when faced with it in black and white.

Normal life for a girl growing up in our culture:

Elementary School- Sex Ed where we are taught to not be embarrassed about things that are clearly embarrassing, especially in front of boys. We are taught that we're expected to have sex, so we may as well do it safely. We get teased by the boys, and other girls about what we learning. We now begin to be teased about our bodies, starting more innocently.

Junior High- "Going out" We like someone,they like us back, two weeks later we don't like each other anymore. Boys get even more cruel in their teasing, as do girls. We now know that we need to like someone, anyone, at all times. It is the source of entertainment and drama. In some circles, virginity is lost, and we are now taught more than just the mechanics by our friends and even strangers.We find out there is more than just sex itself...the teasing about our bodies and comments about our bodies are no longer innocent.

High School- Because we can start driving, we date. Now, if you date for more than a few months, it is expected that you've had sex. At least to most people. If not sex,one is expected to do a number of other things. We are now expected, to look a certain way. If we don't we are teased. We start to feel that there is something wrong with us because we don't look like the other girls in this way or that. Girlfriends are either great, or cruel. We are closer to our friends than our families, and suffer for it. We care more about our reputation than what our family thinks of us. We are now taught that we are over-sensitive. If we cry because so and so talked about us behind our backs, we are cry babies. We are taught to be more and more like "one of the guys." We learn that to be a girl, is wrong. It is too vulnerable, to sensitive. In christian cultures, we learn that we need to dress modestly as to help these poor boys out who "just can't help themselves." (While I agree in part that we need to have respect for the men around us, it is our respect for ourselves that should cause us to be modest.)

Now this is how the typical girl grows up in today's world. We leave her unprotected, alone and laugh at her dreams of romance and think her silly for her girlishness. We strive for sameness with men, rather than equality with them. We are taught that we are the same as men. Well, last time I checked, there was a difference, quite a few in fact. We are expected to view sex as men do. We are expected to think how men think. We can be anything we want today, except to be a woman.

There was a time, that a woman's femininity was not only respected, but cherished. Girls were raised to be women, and women of modesty. Boys were raised to be men of honor, and to cherish and protect the women around him. I am not saying this was a time of perfection, but it was certainly a time of less fear. A woman would not fear walking down the street because she was not met with stares, or crude comments. A woman did not fear rape as one does today. The society was one of propriety where to hold someone's hand was thought to be scandalous.

This book opened my eyes to what is going on in our society today. Our girls are miserable and dying, and they have no sympathetic ears to hear their cries. Now I was blessed to grow up in a christian culture that was not as severe as the world around us, but I fear for the girls today, and for our future daughters.


  1. I am going to have to pick up this book. :) Love the post Alyssa... can't agree with you more.

  2. Wow, great post, Alyssa. You were right- I SHOULD read this book! Every woman should. You are so right about the fact that women are asked to "not be embarrassed" by certain, clearly embarrassing things! There is no discretion these days whatsoever. Keeping pure until marriage is seen as a "Wow!" factor rather than the common way. How sad. It used to be shameful to a woman if she gave her virginity away prior to marriage... now it is no big deal. It is even LESS of a big for men. Actually, many times it is expected and celebrated when the man finally fulfills his sexual desires with a woman prior to marriage. What a depraved society. Okay. Done rambling! Once again, loved the post! Keep them coming! <3