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A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue [Special Edition] [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Wendy Shalit
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20. Mai 2014
Updated with a new introduction, this fifteenth anniversary edition of A Return to Modesty reignites Wendy Shalit’s controversial claim that we have lost our respect for an essential virtue: modesty.

When A Return to Modesty was first published in 1999, its argument launched a worldwide discussion about the possibility of innocence and romantic idealism. Wendy Shalit was the first to systematically critique the "hook-up" scene and outline the harms of making sexuality so public.

Today, with social media increasingly blurring the line between public and private life, and with child exploitation on the rise, the concept of modesty is more relevant than ever. Updated with a new preface that addresses the unique problems facing society now, A Return to Modesty shows why "the lost virtue" of modesty is not a hang-up that we should set out to cure, but rather a wonderful instinct to be celebrated.

A Return to Modesty
is a deeply personal account as well as a fascinating intellectual exploration into everything from seventeenth-century manners to the 1948 tune "Baby, It’s Cold Outside." Beholden neither to social conservatives nor to feminists, Shalit reminds us that modesty is not prudery, but a natural instinct—and one that may be able to save us from ourselves.


  • Taschenbuch: 368 Seiten
  • Verlag: Free Press; Auflage: Anniversary Edition (20. Mai 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1476756651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476756653
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,1 x 13,7 x 2,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (115 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 601.638 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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The 23-year-old author first heard of "modestyniks"--Orthodox Jewish women who withhold physical contact from men until marriage--while a freshman at Williams College. She was initially fascinated by the way in which they cleave to old ideals, especially amid a sexually saturated contemporary world. But more so, Wendy Shalit was aghast at how modestyniks are dismissed as sick, delusional, or repressed by the secular community. "Why," asks the author, "is sexual modesty so threatening to some that they can only respond to it with charges of abuse or delusion?"

In her thoughtful three-part essay, the author reveals an impressive reading list as she probes the cultural history of sexual modesty for women and considers whether this virtue may be beneficial in today's world--if not an antidote to misogyny. In an age when women are embarrassed by sexual inexperience, when sex education is introduced as early as primary school, and when women suffer more than ever from eating disorders, stalking, sexual harassment, and date rape, Shalit believes a return to modesty may place women on equal footing with men. She yearns for a time when conservatives can believe the claims of feminists and feminists can differentiate between patriarchy and misogyny and share in the dialectic of female sexuality.

While the young author's argument is often limited by naiveté and her own lack of experience, her profound intelligence and daring are undeniable. A Return to Modesty is a thought-provoking debut that introduces an original and exciting new feminist thinker. --Kera Bolonik -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"Wendy Shalit’s first book, A Return to Modesty. . . created a storm when it was published nine years ago…As a veteran of pro-sex feminism who still endorses pornography and prostitution, I say more power to all these chaste young women who are defending their individuality and defying groupthink and social convention. That is true feminism!" (Camille Paglia)

"Her book has touched a nerve in a society overdosed on sex...Shalit defends...compellingly, shame, privacy, gallantry, and sexual reticence" (Tamala M. Edwards Time)

"Ms. Shalit marshals impressive evidence from philosophers as well as the tabloids to make her case for a return to modesty -- as both a sexual ideal and a strategy for greater pleasure...[a] serious yet bouncy study" (Ruth R. Wisse The Wall Street Journal)

"A Return to Modesty provides one invaluable service. There is a growing body of scholarly research on young adulthood that may, in the aftermath of Shalit's booming polemic, be more difficult to ignore." (Emily Eakin The New York Times Book Review)

"The book of the moment...makes a compelling case for the idea that the sexual revolution hasn't been entirely good for either women or men...Social workers, health professionals and others who bemoan the loss of "boundaries" in the lives of troubled girls will find a hopeful message in the book" (Shari Roan Los Angeles Times)

"The first book of its kind...to blaze down the center of the postfeminist battleground between left and right." (Norah Vincent Salon)

"[An] earnest and serious book....A fascinating subject [brought] to our attention in a fresh way." (Suzanne Field The Washington Times)

"A Return to Modesty is...so uncompromising in voice and stance that one is tempted to think of its author as Simone de Shalit or Wendy Wollstonecraft, but make no mistake: she imitates nothing and no one...Every page of this book [is] wise, fresh, and funny, sparkling with her special brand of astringent charm" (Florence King National Review)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wendy, a Woman After My Own Heart 19. Januar 2000
Von "falkoyn"
Wendy Shalit is a definite breath of fresh air. With a very uncompromising voice lifted in outrage at what the modern woman is expected to be, act and feel, she provides a very cogent statement to other women.
Her first bit of good fortune was to miss the standard fourth grade (and beyond) sex education that is foisted on American children in public schools. By being able to remain outside the experience of the current form of boy-girl teasing and harassment that goes on, she was able to take a divergent path in being able to perceive the landmines in the landscape.
She takes on the 'accepted' views of today's feminists, as well as the minimalization of conservatives, and scores point after point. She backs up her ideas and thoughts with numerous citations that leave the reader feeling that she is sure Ms. Shalit knows what she is talking about.
Her humor is very enjoyable, not many true belly laughs, but plenty of light moments. Still, she is able to drive home, forcefully, the very serious problems that have been plaguing our young women. The insight into the problems and ability to connect with the reader are particular points of merit in this book.
I'm sure there are going to be a number of older, crusty people who will chivvy her because of her youth, arrogance, presumption, etc., etc., etc. Don't listen to them. Read the book and make up your own mind... don't be held in thrall by modernistic ideas that end up being millstones around the necks of our young, adult women.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent collection of information...eye opening! 22. Oktober 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I feel that this sort of informative writing is long overdue. It was,to me, very inspirational. A Return to Modesty has so many powerful points it is hard to express the general view of it all. Most importantly it was the truth of it that made it so emotionally involving. I am thrilled someone has finally said what should've been said long ago to the girls and women of today. Personally I'd like to reccomend this book to everyone, ther isn't anyone who couldn't benefit from it. THANK YOU!!!
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting, but implodes 10. Mai 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I confess to expecting not to like this book when I read it. I was pleased to find that there were more than a few points where I and the author shared common views. I, too, generally find modesty (generally left undefined in the book, defined by me as a lack of pretentiousness) a turn-on, and firmly agree (for pressing personal reasons) that the pressure to have sex exists pretty much as described (as I cannot testify from personal experience to the female perspective, I will merely say that it DEFINITELY exists in the culture for men). Unfortunately, Ms. Shalit rests her periodical keen insights on what seems to me a fundamentally flawed premise. Rape and male oppression of women certainly did not start with the modern (1960s) feminist movement, as the author seems to imply. We are offered a rather distorted and whitewashed version of sexual relations throughout the centuries. The whole male obsession with pornography has a long and twisted history, going back well before modern feminism. Even the modern objectification of women's bodies got a jumpstart with Hugh Hefner and PLAYBOY, about ten to fifteen years before the feminist movement. The problem is not that women brought this "crisis" on themselves. I must agree with Susan Faludi that the continued degradation of women is a result of a male determination to hold on to power. REAL men don't treat women that way, and don't have to resort to superficial rituals (flattering and enjoyable as those may sometimes be) to show women that they respect and value their minds and their bodies. Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A Return to Rhetoric 2. April 2000
Von DS
Wendy Shalit's book merits a quick read and a couple of stars simply on the basis of its rhetorical beauty.
It is an admirably persuasive work, as long as you take care to avoid examining her "evidence". If you are inclined to analyze while you read, realize before you start in on the book that it needs to be read in the Ciceronian mindset, and perhaps with Aristotle's Rhetoric in hand: here you will find the amusing anecdotes, the neat phrases, the sense of outrage, the caricaturing of the opposing parties, the appeal to audience sympathies, the presentation of the personal to win sympathy and trust...but not what we would today consider "proof". I must admit that I was hoping for more, and was very disappointed that beneath the beautiful facade of rhetoric there was very little of substance.
Although Shalit shows herself adept at the art of name-dropping, her treatment of the theories of the names she mentions is distressingly shallow. For instance, Shalit dismisses Judith Butler in three lines for her work on the "fictive" category of "women". Part of the substance behind the theoretical critique of the category "women" is that it leads to universalizing claims--e.g., "We (women) are more vulnerable than you think." Such statements, which problematically assume a unity of experience, alienate those of "us" do not identify with the claims being made.
I should perhaps add here that Shalit's book will, of course, seem to have value for those who seek confirmation of the beliefs they already hold in common with Ms. Shalit. I can appreciate Shalit's book in this regard as a personal statement of experience, as a form of "sharing" from which others may draw strength, but I find her attempt to universalize her conclusions--effectively, to include me--extremely presumptuous.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen From book review
I have two daughters in their teenage years. Reaching this point in a man's life is enough to free any reasonable person from the fetters of a specious form of liberalism that... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 25. Juli 2000 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Grateful for a Gratifying Book
Wendy Shalit unpacks the meaning of these lines by G. K. Chesterton in his poem, "To A Lady:" " . . . Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Juni 2000 von old hippo
2.0 von 5 Sternen So Much Wrong with This Book
Let me begin by saying that I do not disagree with everything Shalit says. But her book, A Return to Modesty, is seriously flawed by the over-simplification of complex issues and... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 21. Mai 2000 von Belinda Yandell
5.0 von 5 Sternen Smart woman, thoughtful book
So far I've purchased three copies of this book because I keep giving it away!
Wendy Shalit's views are refreshingly traditional and (gasp) feminine. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2000 von Amanda Smith
1.0 von 5 Sternen Don't worry, be modest
I'm both a Christian and a conservative, and I had hoped to find something in this book that would address the less-than-positive tides that seem to be sweeping our nation. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 14. April 2000 von Cade Foster
3.0 von 5 Sternen Entertaining, and probably true, but shallow
I picked up Wendy Shalit's book after hearing Barbara DafoeWhitehead speak on the decline of marriage, and another audiencemember mentioned this book as putting forth a possible... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 12. April 2000 von Amazon Customer
2.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting Read But Lacking
Found the book intersting but lacking in real discussion. Would like to have seen more argument/evidence for some sort of balance: should women be wearing bathing suits or... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 1. April 2000 veröffentlicht
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good ideas, but Milton needs to take her out more.
Much of this book is downright silly. It's almost unbelievable that she is 23 years old, yet apparently believes that the voices of young women begin and end with anecdotes ripped... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 1. April 2000 veröffentlicht
3.0 von 5 Sternen Force Without Force
Following is an abbreviated version of a PUBLISHED, EDITORIAL review from A Different Drummer (c)2000 A Different Drummer ([... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 26. März 2000 von Nicholas Stix
1.0 von 5 Sternen Capitalizing On The Number One Myth About Women.......
Wendy Shalit's message is more than loud and clear "women suffer emotionaly from pre martial sex",why? Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 23. März 2000 von Jen Maire
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