22 October 2007

Of Modesty.

Kathryn Jean Lopez on Wendy Shalit's Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to be Good.
Shalit says that in a culture where “being publicly sexual has become the only acceptable way for girls to demonstrate maturity,” it’s heartening that it’s not so much the older folks — like Tipper Gore and other politically connected angry moms — who are fighting back, as it is the young girls themselves. The smut is still out there, and it’s often in your face — even when you’re with your kids. But it’s not going unchallenged.

Girls, writes Shalit, are bringing modesty back — and not in some absurdly unrealistic way that can be caricatured as “repression.” These girls know — because they’ve seen it in their families, on their campuses, in their neighborhoods, or through direct, unfortunate personal experience — that acting “wild,” being promiscuous, is the truly repressive and dehumanizing option. Says Shalit: “Looking ‘wild’ and acting ‘wild’ are supposed to be empowering, but more often they lead to misery, especially for young women who quickly learn to put their emotions in a deep freeze in order to do what is expected.”

Her book is full of impressive young women, and none more so than Rashida Jolley. This 26-year-old Washington, D.C., native challenges urban kids to have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Jolley points out that “people like to stereotype African Americans as animalistic or whatever,” and registers a strong dissent. It’s “very offensive and very racist,” she says, to imply “that we don’t have control over ourselves.” And she blasts the patronizing ideology of such organizations as Planned Parenthood: “Those same individuals want to target urban schools and set up clinics and they make an assumption that we are just going to have sex anyway, and we aren’t capable of anything else, and to me that is extremely demeaning.”
Here's the whole thing.


Blogger Benjamin said...

"Camp appropriate" -- A term that defined an all-too-important era ...

23 October, 2007 00:07  
Blogger PSA+ said...

Don't know if you remember, Ben, but it was actually an article in Commentary called "A Ladies' Room of One's Own" by this same Ms. Shalit (and sadly available online by subscription only) and a subsequent interview in the Mars Hill Audio Journal that gave the impetus and intellectual firepower to the whole "camp appropriate" movement.

23 October, 2007 08:53  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Fascinating. I had no knowledge of the direct link b/tw Shalit & "camp appropriate" but the correlation was apparent. It is good to see some committed to fighting a good fight and remaining faithful to a worthy cause even after so many years. Thanks.

23 October, 2007 12:54  
Blogger PSA+ said...

Shalit blogs at the Modesty Zone.

23 October, 2007 14:09  
Blogger PSA+ said...

She has a blog associated with the new book as well.

23 October, 2007 14:12  

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