Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Virtue or No Virtue?

What a great idea for a game show.

This is from a reader, as a follow up our ongoing discussion of the lost virtue of modesty:

    Modesty serves both a personal and a social function. First, on the individual level, the modest woman increases the possibility that when a man approaches her it is based on something other than raw sexual desire. He is interested in more than her sexuality. Also, modesty is her way of showing that she holds her sexuality to be a precious thing, not something to be shown off to just anybody.
    Modesty has a social function as well. First, modesty reminds us that men and women have work to do together that is more important than any work we do in the marketplace. Our most important work together is producing and caring for the next generation. We can never forget that we are sexual beings, and modesty helps remind us that our sexuality is meant for certain times and places not just anywhere. Modesty tells men, "I am not to be an object of sexual attraction at this time and place." Also, one of modesty's biggest tasks is precisely to control male sexual aggressiveness. Modesty tells men that they must civilize themselves before they "get the goodies." It makes sure that our sexuality, especially male sexuality, should be guided toward marriage and family. For reasons too long to get into here (this already becoming a monster email) female sexuality is already pointed in that direction, but male sexuality is not. It needs the help of female modesty.
    Some of your readers are ideologues who want men and women to be the same, damn the evidence to the contrary.

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Blogger saraeanderson said...

I actually picked up Wendy Shalit's book because I wanted to know what in the world she could be talking about, and it makes even less sense than the snippets of it I'd seen before. Modesty as a prescription for social harmony doesn't work. Shalit tries to say that sexual violence has increased as a result of more awareness and freedom with sexuality, but she gives no evidence. The sexual revolution has helped us to understand the extent of sexual violence, presumption, and other things imposed on women (or less commonly, men). In more "modest" eras, the idea of a man raping his wife was considered an impossibility - people ascribed so little autonomy to a woman that they didn't give her the choice of whether to be "imposed" on. Respect for one another does not require that you wear a turtleneck, and you don't need to wear a hat out of doors to prevent being raped. The problem isn't with your neckline, it's with people who don't respect each other.

Friday, March 03, 2006


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