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.