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Paperback A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue Book

ISBN: 0684863170

ISBN13: 9780684863177

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue

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Book Overview

Revised and updated, this fifteenth anniversary edition of A Return to Modesty reignites Wendy Shalit's controversial claim that we have lost our respect for an essential virtue: modesty. When A... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A fresh look at our "liberated" culture

In this book, Wendy Shalit makes two related arguments. First, contemporary culture in the post-sexual revolution world is not all it's made out to be, and in fact the basic tenants of the sexual revolution (women want promiscuous sex as much as men, etc.) are simply not true. Second, the traditional virtue of modesty has a lot to teach us about why the sexual revolution failed, especially because modesty teaches us things about what it means to be human that the sexual revolution either ignored or attempted to debunk. Shalit is very thorough in making her points and backing them up with specific examples. The examples she uses throughout this book are insightful and profound; they "ring true", as it were. To be sure, her target audience is women. I am not a woman, but I am married to one, and from conversations with my wife and other women I get the sense that the issues that are discussed in this book are central to what it means to be female. Aside from the great content, Shalit is a good writer. Her prose is intelligent, even witty. I found myself laughing quite often because of how well she exposes the folly of our culture. At the same time, Shalit ably examines some of the truly tragic sides of our culture. Her examination of what our teenage girls have to go through, for example, is enough to make you cry. I think Shalit is on to something that is true and profound, and I would recommend this book to almost anyone. I would hesitate to give this book to anyone younger than 16 or so, as the descriptions of the victimization of girls and women in our society are at times depressing, even scary. Needless to say, these are issues our society must confront if we're going to get back to more humane relations between the sexes. A must read for anyone who thinks it's time for a change in how we treat one another.

Modesty the Modern Woman Can Understand

I bought this book on a recommendation so I wasn't too sure what to expect. Some of Ms. Shalit's experiences growing up in the public school system mirrored some of my own. Looking back, sex education, at least the way it was done in my school system, encouraged promiscuity through experimentation and left girls open to harassment. Sexuality became a contest for many at my school. It was a competition. Those who chose to not be sexually active were often pressured and made fun of due to their decision. I agree that our culture "sexualizes" our children far too early. Reading this book resolved any question I had about how my daughter would be guided. Modesty in behavior and dress is not something to be ridiculed. When you have mothers dressing their own children in a provocative manner just because other teenagers are dressing that way, you just have to wonder. I am not advocating that women be subordinate or be treated badly. Dignity and respect are what I expect for all women. When a woman is valued, even by herself, for her sexuality above all else, some deep thought needs to take place. I applaud Ms. Shalit for being brave and honest with herself in order to write this book.

More than a lesson in "dressing modestly"...

Be prepared that you can't read A Return to Modesty in one sitting...the book is very thorough and requires time to consider and digest what you are reading. When a friend of mine recommended Shalit's book, I thought "Oh great, a book telling me how I should dress & how I should act." I was pleasantly surprised at the extremely intelligent, profound, well-thought commentary Shalit provides women of all ages. I am in my mid-20s and I loved it, my friends loved it, and my mother loved it. The subject matter will no doubt spur deep, meaningful conversations with anyone else who has read it. This book offers women something we do not regularly receive through our culture and the media--confidence and permission to be what we were created to be: women. Thank you, Wendy, for this intelligent, thorough, INCREDIBLE book.

Control and Choices

Isn't it funny how people are determined to make everyone's choices for them? Supposedly women are now free, or more free than they have been, and therefore can now be how they wish to be. This is untrue because society ridicules women who want to be feminine, beautiful and revered. The ideas Ms.Shalit presents are very frightening to some women. I would suggest that those women let it go and do what they are doing. Are they so concerned about my happiness that they must tell me that these ideas are wrong? I have decided to try them for myself. I am from a very religious home and have always been modest. It was refreshing and comforting to read a book that said that modern women could believe in modesty without being freaks. Actually, I have led a very lucky and very happy, blessed life. I wonder about the angry militant women who tell me I should not be the way I am. I am so much more comfortable and happy than they are. I have been well cared for and protected by men. The writing style of this book is very good and Ms.Shalit speaks to us, the young women in a voice we can recognize. The society we have now is very afraid of ideas that go against the accepted norm (free sex, ugly clothes, frightening life choices, etc.) Read this book for yourself. Realize that there are other choices that can be made. Whatever your own position, it should not panic you to read Ms.Shalit's perspective. It is a very thoughtful and exceptionally well put together book. I entirely disagree with the critisisms of the previous reviewer directly below. .

Any Book That Annoys Both Left AND Right Is Worth A Read

Okay, the author is young. Fine. Sure, she's inexperienced. Fine. And this book began life as a college paper. Frankly, if any college paper deserved to be published and mass-marketed, this is the one.We're not talking erudition here, but a refreshing, daring, nearly-in-your-face look at a heretofore unseen culture -- ours. What would happen, people wondered many, many years ago, if sex were free? If sexual relationships didn't have to be legitimized by church or state to exist without public scorn? Wouldn't it be wonderful? These were not just male writers, understand, but also well-educated women who yearned for what seemed impossible, different, liberating.Fast-forward a few decades, and the impossible has become all too possible. Here we are, folks, and guess what? It's not different, it's the same old banal same old. It's not liberating, to feel stuck in a culture that benefits some while treating others as disposable wipes. And it's for sure not free. The costs of the devaluation of modesty, as Shalit makes clear, have been enormous.Societal costs range from the spread of AIDS to increasing rape to pre-pubertal girls being hit on by boys whose testosterone has only begun to flower, leaving their brains well behind. The personal costs, though, accompany all this, as every statistic is the sum of personal stories, the kind women tell women and men rarely believe.I've been very lucky. I was divorced several years ago, and until recently was too heartsore and terribly busy for even dating. Thus I avoided sexual pressure. Was it lonely? Frustrating? You betcha. But the benefits of being forced to wait, I see now, outweighed any fleeting pleasure I might have attained. By staying alone, I was made to examine what I wanted, what I needed in a man, in a love that made physical/emotional/spiritual sense. Doing self-designed bibliotherapy helped, even if I did begin with (oh, dear!) John Gray. One moves on. One learns. One contemplates. And leading a semi-cloistered life is what fuels growth where growth needs to be.One of the rarely discussed aspects of promiscuity is its emotional desperation, the sense of "having to" -- having to, perhaps, fill an emotional void? Connect on a simple, mechanical level, because the concept of further connection is too fearsome? Having to, just maybe, avoid longstanding fear (of abandonment, betrayal, pain, anguish) by never recognizing, acknowledging it? The unnamed does not exist.Except it does. We all know it does, and the unnamed is more dangerous in being undefined, since naming brings power and reduces fear. Promiscuity does cause all the ills Shalit so ably describes. But it also denigrates human connection. It prevents one's exploration of the soul, the soul's connection to others, and to its Creator, to the Light. Thus, male or female, we are all made less and are kept in shadow by our own, and others', promiscuity and lack of modesty. This is a dreadful thing for a cu
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