Modern girls and the moral revival they are leading

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Why, Ms. Shalit asks, do women need to be seen as “hot” in order to be socially acceptable? Can’t a woman just be smart? No one calls Bill Gates “hot” or “sexy” for his philanthropic work, yet even top-ranking female chess players feel the need to pose nude for Playboy to help their careers.

Men used to objectify women, and now women objectify themselves so as not to seem “repressed.” “We continually malign the good girl as ‘repressed,’” Ms. Shalit writes, “while the bad girl is (wrongly) perceived as intrinsically expressing her individuality and somehow proving her sexuality.” But the sexually free “bad girl” is not as liberated as one might think.

Women are encouraged to have sex as readily and casually as men — and to be as emotionally detached as well. “Keep your hearts under wraps,” counsels Seventeen, lest you seem “boring and clingy.” Scarleteen, a sex-ed Web site, includes a “Sex Readiness Checklist” with this under “emotional items”: “I can separate sex from love.” Cosmo advises women to “always keep your expectations low.” The way to “wow a man after sex?” Ask for a ride home.

“What is the point of casual sex if the sex part isn’t any good?” Ms. Shalit asks, quoting former sex columnist Amy Sohn. It’s a question many girls are asking. On one sex-ed site, the number one topic for girls is how to refuse a boyfriend’s request for sex without losing the boyfriend.

“Girls Gone Mild” treads much of the same ground as Ariel Levy’s “Female Chauvinist Pigs” and Pamela Paul's “Pornified.” Where it stands out, though, is in its championing of “new role models,” girls, like Ella Gunderson and the Girlcotters, who are taking a stand against the excesses of the Sexual Revolution.

Interestingly, many of these women are black. One “prominent sociologist,” who asked to remain nameless, explained: “Black women have paid the heaviest price from the sexual revolution in the United States … [B]oth as individuals and in their communities as a whole, they now see the value of abstinence as a way to renew family life.”

Confident and proud, these girls may not have gone wild — but they’re definitely not meek or mild. Take Lakita Garth, a former Miss Black America and an unapologetic 36-year-old virgin.

“I’m president and CEO of my own company,” Ms. Garth boasts at an abstinence convention. “I have to hire a janitor … and you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to have some applications before you can even see my face. And then there’s the interview process, when you sit across from my table in my office… . And that’s just to clean my toilet. Most women don’t have that much sense, to get a last name from guys who will take off their clothes and have sex with them.”

Or take 15-year-old Taylor Moore, a talented singer who started speaking about abstinence at schools when she was 9. “Why you always have to be the president of something?” Ms. Moore says her peers ask her. But Ms. Moore doesn’t mind being different. Her reply could be the credo for empowered “good girls” everywhere: “I’m living my life to the max. I’m not sitting around waiting for boys to call. I’m not crying because I think my boyfriend is cheating on me with another girl … I’m simply living my life to the fullest.”

Cheryl Miller is a 2007 Phillips Foundation Fellow.

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