Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Intriguing New Book Celebrates "Girls Gone Mild"

My mom gave me a heads-up the other day about a new book by Wendy Shalit entitled Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find it's Not Bad to be Good after reading a review of it in The Wall Street Journal . Ms. Shalit writes about how more and more girls and young women these days are rejecting the hypersexualized culture epitomized by Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the rest of the celebrities more known for their partying than their actual dramatic/musical accomplishments. Instead, they are
reverting to an earlier idea of femininity. They wear modest clothing and even act with unbrazen kindness. They don't mind abstinence programs at school, and they prefer a version of feminism based on self-respect rather than sex-performance parity.
Inevitably, this has caused a "generational gap" with the "second-wave" feminists of the 1960's and 1970's. According to Ms. Shalit, the older feminists are
so committed to the idea of casual sex as liberation that they can't appreciate or even quite understand these younger feminists. To them, modesty is a step back, even a betrayal of the liberationist spirit. They don't understand that pursuing crudeness is the problem, not the solution.
Feminism was supposed to be about opening up choices for women and empowering them to make their own decisions about what is best for them as individuals. Instead, it seems that many "feminists" want all women to claim the traditional male role of high-powered careers, recreational sex without love or commitment, etc. for themselves. Any woman who dares to reject this gets bashed as "anti-feminist", "brainwashed by the patriarchy", "repressed", "religious fanatic", yadda, yadda, yadda.

Supercasual sex is not what most women really want. The "hookup" culture is by and large male exploitation of vulnerable young women and teenage girls. It's what used to be known as "taking advantage" of somebody. Ply them with alcohol and psychological pressure to get selfish gratification without any real emotional connection or commitment. Too many girls and young women have low self-esteem and are willing to let themselves be used in this manner just to gain some male attention. Do feminists really consider this "liberating" for girls and young women?

I've personally never met a woman who regrets waiting for Mr. Right but many who regret that they didn't wait. A study done in 2000 by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found that 72% of teen girls surveyed who were not virgins regretted having had sex.

Christians often get ridiculed as being "afraid of" or "against" sex by those who favor recreational sex without love or commitment. Quite the contrary, Christians actually value sex extremely highly; it's not just another bodily function but an expression of love and commitment between husband and wife. Also for devout Catholics and "quiverful" Protestants, as being fully open to the procreative aspect should that be God's plan.

Girls Gone Mild looks intriguing, and I've put in a purchase suggestion at my local library for it. They've got Ms. Shalit's previous book so hopefully they will choose to buy this one too. You can read the author's blog here.

1 comment:

Shannon Miller said...

I definitely want to check this book out...I'd like to raise my DD daughter to be one of the new "feminists" according to this article.