Monday, September 3, 2007

Wow for Wendy

Today I read the first chapter of Wendy Shalit's new book, 'Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good'. It's a must-read for young women, their mothers, and anyone who feels that modesty, chastity, pure behavior and healthy, strong marriage are values that continue to be important today, no matter what we were conditioned to believe - and also that chastity and happy marriage are inseparable.

Wendy mentions a trend I can't help but be concerned about:

The number of unmarried women between ages thirty and thirty-four has more than tripled during the past thirty years, and the percentage of childless women in their early forties has doubled.

She also describes, in a funny and ironic way, the reactions her previous book produced:

In a sense, it was touching to see sworn ideological enemies join hands and come together – at long last – for the purpose of descending on me: feminists, antifeminists, libertarians, pornographers… Playboy featured my book under the heading 'A Man's Worst Nightmare'…But I wasn't discouraged, not even when I received death threats, because I was too busy reading fascinating letters from young women.

… I was shocked that according to nearly half of the letters, a girls' own parent thought something was wrong with her for not being sufficiently casual about sex.

It's very sad how today, a woman's chastity often not only isn't preserved and cherished by her parents, but she is actually pressured by her own family to give it away! It comes as no surprise to me, though. Back when I broke off my abusive relationship, my mother congratulated me for such a wise decision – but she just thought I need another boyfriend, someone who will 'treat me better'; she didn't think I had a reason to choose a cardinal change in my life, or that having a casual dating relationship, in itself, hurt me maybe even more than the abusive part of it. As a matter of fact, I felt that the casualty of it was the worst abuse. That's something people who only know me superficially often misunderstand: I didn't 'go mild' because I was mistreated; rather, I was mistreated because I didn't 'go mild'!

This sounds very much like what I had to hear, too:

When she found out that her daughter hadn't slept with the new boyfriend after a whole weekend away, the mother warned her ominously, "You're gonna lose him!"

You know, we're oh-so-liberated, right? It's all about choice, right? But in fact…

… The sad fact is that much of the sex teen girls have is unwanted. And even when sex is wanted, it tends to be regretted soon after – especially by girls.

And this, I think is the saddest of it all. In the years when a young girl or boy are supposed to make room for personal growth, explore their individual abilities, dreams, needs, desires and plans, they are instead soaked in a sex-saturated culture that pressures them to date, break up, get disappointed, get over it, and say it's 'no big deal'.

Here's my favorite line, the one where Wendy really hits the nail on the head:

When you examine why young women are told to sleep around for the sake of feminism and 'positive sexuality', even when it makes them unhappy, the reason often comes down to a corruption of the idea of 'girl power': Girls must do everything that boys do, even if it's not working.

You can download the first chapter of this book on 'Girls Gone Mild' blog. After that, I'm sure you will want to read it all!

Sidenote: I'm of the opinion that it would be wise for young girls to consult their parents before reading any book that touches matters of adult sexuality.

27 comments:

Stam House said...

Thanks for leaving a commentr on my blog!
And Thanks for this post!!!! i love it!

Lily said...

I will look into this, my eldest dd is approaching the age of wanting to date, fortunately she is busy and committed to other things right now. But, the influences out there can overwhelm a young girl (or boy). At least my children aren't being pressured into promiscuity by me. I cannot believe parents do that! I always thought parents would 'talk the talk' of parents and not of free love and loose morals. SIGH.

Mimi said...

I think that it is wonderful for you to stand so firm in your decision to remain pure until marriage... in years gone by when girls were having sex they kept it a big dark secret... it is very shocking to me that parents actually encourage their daughters to be loose with their bodies in order to "have a boyfriend",
thank you for taking a stand !!!!!

Kathleen said...

Wow. It is astonishing how this so called "freedom" for women has led to so much immorality, and, well...slavery to extra-marital and premarital sex.

Kathleen said...

And for the record, everybody, there is no rush to date. I am nearly 19 and have not once been asked out. And I'm not worried. God's timing is perfect!

Anna C said...

I finished Girls Gone Mild a few weeks ago. You and your readers should be forewarned that there is some very blatant descriptions of adult content within the book. This is perhaps one area I find fault with it. Wendy sometimes went a bit too far in using shocking illustrations, in my opinion. The overarching theme, however, is excellent!

~Anna C.

Anna S said...

Kathleen - not only there is no rush to date, but dating in its 'normative' form, in my opinion, isn't advisable at all!

Anna C - I'm aware of what you mentioned. I think Wendy did it to really get the message through to all of her readers. However, I agree that it would be wise for very young girls to consult their parents before reading.

Kathleen said...

I totally agree with you about dating, Anna. Maybe I should have said, "I am 19 and no boy has ever seemed to be particularly...interested in me"!

Kyla said...

I have this book on my to be read list and then I want to pass it on to my sisters.

It seems odd to me that the liberal group encourages women to sleep around. Having random sex with random boys is the easiest way for a woman to lose her power. What good is it for women to have equality when they sleep around and become topics of conversation around the watercooler on Monday.

I talk to my two sisters about this all the time. I want them to know that God has empowered them and that it is up to them to use it wisely and within His guidlines (marriage).

USAincognito said...

Parents who pressure their children to have sex - this isn't right!

Jeannine said...

I remember when my parents heard about my decision to wait until marriage - they could not believe it. Not that they pressured me to have sex with a boyfriend, but they really thought that it would be much better if a couple has sexual relations before marriage... (to know that it works). Not much encouragement there :(.
I know I really want to teach my children differently!

Elizabeth said...

This sounds like a very interesting book!

Mimi said...

I applaud you girls for taking a stand...both of my daughters were virgins when they married and they both have wonderful Christian husbands... it is well worth the wait!

Katy-Anne said...

I haven't read the book, but yes it is sad what parents encourage and allow their children to do sexually these days. After a not so pure history, when I got saved and the Lord started showing me things, I made a commitment to purity, and to try to gain back purity in some areas that I had lost it. From about the age of thirteen I had been taught that I needed a boyfriend. Well after making my commitment to purity at age 19, God brought me along my man when I was 21 and we married the same year. I was still "young". Now I have a loving husband and a son and I'm only 22.

Michelle said...

I was twenty-seven when I married, and a virgin. I have been so thankful that I had the strength of will -with God's help- to avoid going through the self-induced miseries that many women "gladly" endure over and over- contraception worries, venereal diseases, emotional heart-break, and soiled reputation.

I can look my daughter in the eye and tell her that I am living testimony that with faith it can be done.

Mrs. Brigham said...

I LOVED Wendy's first book and do look forward to reading this one in the near future.

Seeing how "sex positive feminism" has overhauled the entire culture is disturbing, especially the damage done to young people. It takes a person of true strength to go against the tide today, that is for sure. I am always interested to see the critics come out from all corners when somebody speaks the truth. The controversy simply would not exist if people did not know the harms they are doing to themselves and others by embracing such behavior. Deep down inside, people know something is amiss and probably know something better is out there, though, they may not know where to look for the "other thing".

Coupon Addict said...

My cousin needs this book. She is being raised by aethist (sp...sorry) parents. Its very sad. They allow her to sleep with her boyfriend and encourage her to take the pill. She is still in high school. It is very sad. Nevertheless, I try to witness to her every chance I get. Great Post Anna!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anna. I read the first chapter of this book, as you suggested, & I MUST get a hold of it to read the rest. I'm not sure I can emphasize enough here in blogland just how important this particular subject is to me, & how I want so very much for my children to grow up unscathed by the hyper-sexed society we live in. I know there's no escaping the environment entirely, but I have to believe it's possible for my husband & me to give them the means required to make their way through such a dangerous world.

Brenda

Anna S said...

Mrs. Brigham,

I've noticed that when someone knows that something is amiss, and even vaguely knows *what*, but the change will require such enormous efforts and such a change of lifestyle, people tend to get *VERY* defensive.

Coupon Addict,

I think your cousin - and her parents - could benefit a lot from this book. Although Wendy is religious, she didn't write the book from a religious point of view, so you can be an atheist and still see the truth in it. It's just plain common sense - promiscuity *hurts* woman.

Brenda,

Sadly, I don't think there's an escape from letting children know what's going on, but it's possible to give young people a sort of... line of defense. I'm going to get this book too, and I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it. Also, if you didn't read it yet, I also *very* much recommend Wendy's first book, 'A Return to Modesty'. It was fantastic and literally changed my life, by reassuring me and letting me know I'm not some sort of freak :P

... My heart rejoices for all the women who could outstand the twisted standards of our culture and save their purity - physical and emotional - for their husbands. You go (mild :p) girls!!

Anonymous said...

I found out some statistics on this...

U.S. Marriage and Divorce Rates

The number of marriages has fallen and the relative divorce rate has steadily increased - to the point that more and more people are choosing cohabitation over marriage. It is also politically incorrect to teach about marriage in some places.

-----

Alongside, here is another book on the a similar subject : 'Unprotected' by Dr. Miriam Grossman. She has written from a medical point of view of women's health and mental well-being in today's hyper-sexualized society.

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Finally, the latest flavor of feminism - Slut Feminism.

----

Quote :

Subjectivism by definition means whatever someone *thinks* is correct is then correct. Truth is determined by human reasoning alone. It doesn't matter what, just as long as a person decides in their head that truth is X, truth is X...
...The mantra of all feminist movements is moral subjectivism...
...*Whatever* the women decides for herself, whether she wants to be a doctor or a gold-digger; sexually responsible or a total whore; a married woman or a single mother; hero or victim; winner or loser, all choices that a woman makes for herself is held up by feminism.


Which is why arguing with feminists is a waste of time. They don't know the difference between right and wrong or good and bad...

Anna S said...

Anonymous, thanks for the excellent links! Great content.

Kaeus said...

not only do parents encourage their daughters to sleep with their boyfriends in order not to lose them (if thats going to lose him, he wasnt worth having in the first place in my opinion), some parents will actively prostitute out their children.

just the other day i heard of a young woman, i suspect in her mid 20s, whos father promised her a shopping spree if she would 'entertain' one of his clients. in his hotel room.

how can women grow up to respect themselves if their own parents repsect them that little?

Gail said...

I really liked that Wendy reported on the advice that's actually being given to teenagers online and in Our Bodies Ourselves for example. A lot of this advice is truly awful and it needs to be exposed because young people are already being exposed to it and parents don't know about it. But I cringed when I read it though because Our Bodies Ourselves recommends extreme sexual practices above marriage?! And doctors recommend this book for young women? So many girls are already being harmed by this advice, I say good for Wendy for exposing it. But I would not recommend the book to those under 16. There has to be an age limit for the material in my opinion. For those that have read the whole book, how old do you think you have to be to read the book?

Karen said...

Oh my I have another book to add to my wish list now! Thank you!

I read someone describe it incredibly well and you'll have to excuse me if I can't remember it exactly but it was something like, "When young people go through the cycle of dating and being intimate, and then breaking up and moving on, they aren't practicing for marriage, they're practicing DIVORCE!"

Anonymous said...

What's so bad about this?:
The number of unmarried women between ages thirty and thirty-four has more than tripled during the past thirty years, and the percentage of childless women in their early forties has doubled.

Maybe getting married and making babies just doesn't interest them?

Anna S said...

Anonymous,

Maybe.

Only I know way too many women who were told they 'can have it all', spent their twenties and early thirties climbing the career ladder, and now find themselves longing for a family and children, stuck dating 40-year-old Peter Pans who fear commitment like a hangman's rope.

It's true that some women are 'childless by choice', but the typical tragedy of our generation is precisely those women who just waited too long.

Buffy said...

Most young (and not so young) men assume that sex will be forthcoming very early on and this leaves young (and not so young) women in a very pressured position. Without someone telling you that you are allowed to behave differently the consequences are obvious.