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March 17, 2008


Paul Cat

It would make sense that women are more afraid of being viewed as prudes becuase being a prude is contrary to the feminist movement over the past 30+ years.

However, most people are afraid of being a prude becuase they don't know what being a prude means, as the English language means zilch these days. Being a prude means being prudent. Being brudent, in short, means being "wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense." It can also be defined as "doing the right thing at the right time."

So, being a prude really is a GOOD thing.

The Slate.com writer clearly demonstrates how the Good has become Bad and the Bad is now good.


prude (prōōd) Pronunciation Key
n. One who is excessively concerned with being or appearing to be proper, modest, or righteous.

Word History: Being called a prude is rarely considered a compliment, but if we dig into the history of the word prude, we find that it has a noble past. The change for the worse took place in French. French prude first had a good sense, "wise woman," but apparently a woman could be too wise or, in the eyes of some, too observant of decorum and propriety...... Old French prod, meaning "wise, prudent," is from Vulgar Latin prōdis...... Despite this history filled with usefulness, profit, wisdom, and integrity, prude has become a term of reproach.

Ms Havisham

Actually, I believe that the quoted portion is referring to the idea that the two most consistent critics of prostitution (in the modern era, that is) have been "moralists," and feminists. Anti-prostitution feminists (and anti-porn feminists) have been labeled as sexless prudes (and hairy, too!) pretty much from the moment they became visible (it's the rest of the feminists who get called sluts; ah, the nuances of popular discourse!). Thus, I think Emily Bazelon (well-versed in feminism, etc., if you follow her work) is referencing a shared cultural history, rather than dodging a criticism of herself.


Pruded is (obviously) a gendered word from its etymology; a male expressing similar views might, these days, say' I'm not a wowser but...' or 'I'm not some anorak-wearing freak but...' because those images tend to be more associated with the male gender.
I should add, IF a male felt comfortable expressing such sentiments. Many men are not, despite feeling that our culture has become oversexualised. They probably fear being branded with epithets 'gay' or 'loser' or being told that they feel that way because 'they can't get any'.
Perhaps we women are freer to criticise a situation and cultural movement than men are to criticise a situation that ostensibly favours them, if only in a very superficial and base way.


It is an unfortunate thing that any word derived from prudence has in today's culture a negative connotation. I for one am doing my part to change it: going back to basics with my own daughters, teaching them the four cardinal virtues...of which one is Prudence :)


I read the Tribune Magazine article yesterday and almost immediately thought of ex-LA Laker, AC Green, who is spreading the same word. Maybe they are already doing this, but if Taylor and AC (perhaps Leni Kravitz too if he's serious about it)can put their resources together, not just for the sake of African-American girls AND boys, but for all youngsters, I think you'd have one powerful movement.

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