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When A Return to Modesty was first published in 1999, it began an important and much-needed national conversation. Wendy Shalit persuasively argued that modesty is not some hang-up we should set out to cure, but rather a wonderful instinct that, if rediscovered and given the right social support, has the power to transform society. Now, in this newly revised edition, Shalit backs up her claim with the latest trends and research to prove that the issue is just as pressing today as ever. Unfortunately, many problems Shalit originally explored, such as date rape, harassment, and most alarmingly, the sexualisation of young girls, have only become more prevalent. Where once a young woman was ashamed of her sexual experience, today she is ashamed of her sexual inexperience. And as we continue to push the limits of what is accepted behaviour, the pressure to overcome embarrassment and discard all sense of modesty is greater than ever. 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.
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About the Author

Wendy Shalit, a graduate of Williams College, is a contributing editor of CITY JOURNAL and has written for the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Reviews

"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 * "[An] earnest and serious book....A fascinating subject [brought] to our attention in a fresh way." -- Suzanne Field * The Washington Times * "The first book of its kind...to blaze down the center of the postfeminist battleground between left and right." -- Norah Vincent * Salon * "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 * "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 * "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 * "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 * "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

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