had just read Wendy Shalit's
"Return to Modesty: Rediscovering
the Lost Virtue", and would
like to know what, if any, response
feminists have to it. I understand
that conservatives, such as
Norman Podhoretz, have praised
this work and that modesty may
be a current trend, as seen
in the return of swing dancing
and Shakespeare at most college
campuses, but is modesty really
the new "direction" of feminism?
I would appreciate any help
- Young May Cha
for your note to FEMINIST.COM
and for clarifying what's behind
Wendy Shalit's Return to
Modesty: Rediscovering the Lost
Virtue. I haven't read the
entire book, but I have read
some of it and paid attention
to its coverage in the media.
First, it is certainly not a
feminist book--because it is
trying to prescribe a formula
by which women should live their
lives--in this instance--modesty.
Conversly, feminists support
individual women's rights to
determine their own sexuality.
Also, the media loves it--because
it is an entirely media creation.
Every few years or so, there
is a new book that the media
latches on to in an attempt
to reroute feminism. In fact,
feminists are paying attention
to this book.
personally feel sorry for Shalit.
In some ways, I think that she
was used by the media to play
out the very tired Virgin/Whore
division. I think the best way
to respond to books such as
these is to look at your own
expereinces. When I first learned
about the book, I looked at
my experience and that of all
of my friends--and what I discovered
is that Shallit's premise isn't
visible in the lives of any
of my friends, colleagues, etc....
So while it may be her experience,
it certainly isn't a groundswell