Discovering the Lost Virtue, by Wendy Shallit
A Modern Look at Modesty
First, what I don't like about the book "A Return to Modest: Discovering the Lost Virtue". The book jacket is one. It doesn't belong in my home, as there's far too much flesh exposed. Okay, it's "art", but nothing in my home looks like that. I removed it. Another one of my complaints is that some of the pictures in the book don't belong in my home. Yes, they are very illustrative, such as the bored look on the nudist camp folks sitting around a picnic table. They really do look like they're thinking, "How droll, sitting around with no clothes on again." However, it's still female mammary glands with no outer covering in the picture.
The link between misogyny and lack of modesty -- or the pornifying of our society
Wendy makes an extremely good case for the idea that the increasing "sexual freedom", irrespect for modesty in dress and action, and lack of respect for a woman's right to wait until she finds "Mr. Right" is directly linked to the increase in disrespect and even hatred of women evidenced in today's society. She quotes studies from many sources besides her own sharp questioning of the "norms" of today. The book is not aimed at convincing any woman to become religious and don a hajib, snood, or prayer cap. It is aimed at giving support to those women who feel alone in their belief that there are certain acts and certain pieces of clothing that belong in one's marital chamber with one devoted spouse. Wendy's message: "You are not alone, you are not crazy, it's not a 'hangup', and it is good for society to be modest."
I did some searches on Wendy to write up this review, and found her web site http://www.modestyzone.net/. It's a helpful web site, full of fun and information. The blog is written by a team of women from really varying backgrounds, all cheering today's "counterculture" of modesty. The spirit of the site and the blog really follow Wendy's book in many ways. It's a place to feel comfortable supporting other women in just saying "no" to porn, to "hookups" (the over 40 crowd may need to read the book to find out all the disgusting connotations of that word), to displaying flesh as if it was meat on the market. It's a place that continuously asks the questions we are not allowed to ask in today's promiscuous society.
Frightening for a parent of teens
Wendy graduated college only 12 years after I did. During that time, there seems to have been a drastic deterioration in how young men and women conduct their "relationships". The term "hookup" was new to me. The descriptions of "checkups" after the "hookup", where it is assumed that a real emotional bond is out of the question even where full intercourse has occurred made me feel nauseous. I am from the day where you dated, always hoping this time would be the "right one" and you'd live happily ever after. If you broke up, that certainly was it, done, over. Seldom if ever did you remain friends, though after the hurt of break up, friendship might later be renewed.
Another question Wendy asks is about the rising numbers of girls who are put on Prozac, increasing numbers of young women who mutilate themselves, and the outrageous rise in numbers of rapes. Her research into published studies, her personal quotes of college acquaintances, and her clear writing style will show you clearly why she asks these questions.
Wendy's book is especially about the hopes and dreams of young women everywhere to find an ideal spouse. A spouse who will commit to a long term relationship called marriage, who will gladly deliver that grand ultimate gift of monogamy, and who will value the fact that he alone has a very special privilege with said young lady. The book is a sharp eye opener if you have teens and are not aware to what depths society has sunk. It is also a ray of hope for exactly those young women who want something better than a string of meaningless sexual encounters. Long live the counterculture of modesty!
Buy your copy of the book:
A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue.