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  •  Getting a bit OT, but... (2+ / 0-)
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    Rebecca, Dimetrodon

    It is a shame that so may people bash modesty movement pioneer Wendy Shalit without reading her, when it is so much more effective to criticize her after reading her.

    Wendy Shalit is right about some things.  Young women are terribly over sexualized. This is very unhealthy for various reasons.

    However, Shalit is terribly naive about human sexuality.  (At least she was in 1999, I admit I have not read Girls Gone Mild.) She is the daughter of an economist and treats female sexuality in very economic terms.  Her argument in Return to Modesty is, quite simply, "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" According to Shalit, it is in women's best interest to withhold the "milk" until she can get the best "price" for it.

    What she does not address is why women should be compared to cows, or any other property, or why women's sexuality should be considered a commodity in the first place.

    Other parts of the book show a juvenile, immature view of sexuality. She cannot comprehend of a world without sexual tension. She is baffled about how a co-ed wrestling team can come into such close physical contact on the mats without seeing that as sexual. Her attraction to Orthodox Judaism is, in part, because the repression was so high that it kept the sexual tension equally high.

    The particularly frightening part is that Shalit and the modesty movement do not make the world safer for women, but more dangerous.  A long skirt has never stopped a rapist, but if "modest" women are wearing long skirts, then society is more likely to think that a woman who is raped while wearing a short skirt is "asking for it." I do not need to explain why this is not good for women.

    Furthermore, with their emphasis on how women's behavior affects the boys, Shalit and the modesty movement make the same mistake as those who commercialize female sexuality in that the purpose of a woman and of a woman's sexuality can only be seen through the eyes of a man.  Either a woman is to be a modest virginal bride or a sex object.  Both agree that a woman should strive for male attention, the only difference is the type of attention for which they should strive. Neither message is healthy and neither is the positive message that young women deserve to hear.

    "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

    by wayward on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 03:16:50 PM PST

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    •  Most of the problems the right latches onto (1+ / 0-)
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      hit a cord with people because there is a real problem there.  They take these issues and run them through their ideology.  So many of the right's solutions for sexual issues are rife with misogyny.  We see it so clearly in the modesty movement.

      Yes, girls are growing up in an environment that is at one and the same time expecting hyper-sexuality from them and hyper-purity from them.  Both are unhealthy for women.  However, the modesty movement is not about working to help girls and women.

      The people pushing the modesty movement are the same type of people pushing the anti-abortion/anti-birth control movement.  It is at it's basis a patriarchal anti-woman movement.  These people are not naive.  They are selling their ideology/dogma/beliefs and using peoples discomfort about sexuality and worry over their children to push laws and policies that most people would never accept without the emotional undertones.  It's a form of emotional blackmail and it's not naive at all.  They play on peoples ignorance and their valid concerns.  

      While I haven't read any books on the modesty movement.  I won't waste my money.  I have read on the internet.  Shalit may have psychological problems about sex.  Too many on the right do.  That doesn't change the fact that this is a political/religious movement more concerned with enforcing it's ideology on everyone else than looking at the real world and seeing what girls and young women need.  It's like creationism.  They already know the answer they just need to find the "facts" to back it up.  

      ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

      by Rebecca on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 04:19:23 PM PST

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      •  Who is naive (0+ / 0-)

        I was only referring to Shalit being naive.  She was in her early twenties when she wrote the book, and she appeared to be a very sheltered early twenty-something at that.

        The people who aren't naive are the people who give well-written twenty-something "sages" book deals for saying what they want to hear.

        And no, I did not spend a dime on the book.

        "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

        by wayward on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 05:27:58 PM PST

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        •  Shalit isn't important (0+ / 0-)

          I am talking about the movement not about a young woman who as you say is being used.  Just as Diana was used by the Royal family.  Diana was also a young naive woman who was caught up in a fairy tale.  The fairy tales these women live their lives by are destructive and not related to reality.  Both fairy tales make virginity more important than the well being of the people and their lives.  

          We have two world views (to be very general).  In one world view we look at the people and try to make the world better for people.  People, their well being and their feelings are important in this world view.  In the other beliefs/ideology/dogma is the important thing.  It is more important that people conform themselves to these beliefs and the consequences to the people is unimportant.  

          So Prince Charles who would have been much happier with an older more sophisticated woman had to marry a young naive woman.  So gay people are free to marry just as anyone else is as long as they marry the opposite sex.  Prince Charles ccould carry on his affair with the woman he prefered.  The fact that his young naive wife was devastated to find that her marriage was merely for show and not for real wasn't important in this world view.  Diana was a problem because she had believed in the fairy tale.   Her very real hurt wasn't important.  Keeping up appearances was.  

          We see this again and again on the right.  Larry Craig and his wide stance.  All those Republicans who say one thing and live another.  People brought up in this world view either learn to accommodate themselves to it by living double lives or they suffer in silence or they leave it.  Hypocrisy is part and parcel of their world view.  Shalit will learn, if she hasn't already, that as long as she touts the beliefs and publicly lives that life she will be respected.  Any pain that causes her is unimportant.  Any accommodations she makes to be able to have a little relief is unimportant unless like Larry Craig she is caught out.  Then she will be expected to take the consequences.

          One world view is about people being more important while the other is about beliefs being more important.  

          ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

          by Rebecca on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:11:28 AM PST

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    •  meanwhile, in the world of real science (3+ / 0-)
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      Rebecca, Calamity Jean, Dimetrodon

      we have Yet Another Study whose results say that "abstinence only education does not reduce sexual activity or the incidence of pregnancies among teens."

      We need fact-based sex ed and I advocate martial arts education for young women to help them enforce the idea that "no means NO" to guys not clear on the concept.

      Wingnut concepts on sexuality are for bashing.  

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 04:44:31 PM PST

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