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June 13, 2010

Comments

Nurit Weizman

Thanks so much for sharing this, Lindsay. After visiting her website for a bit, it's definitely refreshing to see more traditional and modest values.

One thing that I think the book could improve on is the idea of "Stupid Girls" in the first chapter. I think we should always refrain from labeling women as stupid, as it is very hurtful. It's as if to say, "intelligent women" understand what true confidence is and must divide themselves from those who just don't get it.

I think that modesty is about speaking of others respectfully--even if we don't know them personally. And we can never be truly confident if some of that confidence comes from putting down others, even if we have critiques of what they do.

I think in a way, we all have called someone something not-so-nice in our minds or out loud, and it's extremely difficult not to do. But that's what I love about the modesty movement--we are committing ourselves to refinement and to thinking nicer thoughts and saying nicer words towards others. I think it's important to remember, who would feel inspired by a movement if they sensed that they fit the definition of the "Stupid Girl"? We should find a way to be critical of social values and traditions without name-calling or making someone feel inadequate.

Account Deleted

I think that the reason that I wasn't quite as offended by Christy's depiction of the Stupid Girl is that, as I read the book, it seemed clear that Christy believes that there are "Stupid Girl" tendencies and behaviors in all of us. This book isn't so much a "Let's pat ourselves on the back because we're so modest and mature" club, but more of a "Let's get rid of the 'Stupid Girl' behaviors in all of us so that we can reach our full potential" plea. The point of the book isn't to condemn certain girls and encourage others, but to urge us all toward the change that we need.

I do agree, though, that Christy perhaps could have worded her first chapter a bit more tactfully.

Nurit Weizman

Thanks for that clarification, Lindsay. That definitely makes a ton of sense.

Thomas Babcock DO

In a world with two sexes wouldn't it be great to have more authors to address these issues from the perspective of the male, who would be the intended target of the flirting and the "baring a little"? In the absence of that, our behavior is molded to conform to the expectations of the women we court. In the end, if the male attitudes and behaviors don't truly conform, that is, unless they are sincerely held beliefes and values, is there the danger that in an effort to capture the heart of the modest woman, the man is only putting up a good front? Books like those of Wendy, or Mary Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) can bring that message to the men who read them, can give them insight on the world that faces our young women. But the wider audience of men need to understand their responsibility for the world faced by their sisters and daughters. We can get brief glimpses of the male view in an occasional role model either in real life or in the arts, but it seems more often we are making excuses for Tiger or Jesse or even Al Gore. We are not looking at how moral codes are constructed, and their role as much in instructing boys on what "manhood" should be as in what "modesty" means for the girl. Rather we come up with apologetics for promiscuity or polygamy, that it is the way we are wired.

I believe, from my experiences both as a physician and as an anthropologist, that we may have instincts or drives, but that culture and civilization do as much to channel those instincts in ways to avoid conflict and war (something that our Hollywood producers are eager to communicate), but in the same way cultural norms and religious values redirect or inner drives away from manners of expression that are hurtful of others and damaging to our long-term happiness and satisfaction with life.

Melissa May

I haven't read the book, but I'm wondering if the "Stupid Girls" chapter title is a loose reference to the Pink song by the same name. It came out a few years ago and both song and video mocked the "stupid girls" in Hollywood. It sounds like there are definite similarities in the description of these "stupid girls" and the ones in the song, so it's possible she was just playing on a phrase that's already been established to describe such girls and their behavior.
Not that I'm defending the notion, just thinking this might help clarify her motivation, if it is, in fact, the inspiration for the title name.

Account Deleted

That's a great point, Melissa. I hadn't thought of it, but she does discuss Pink's song in the book. That clarifies a lot; thanks for bringing it up!

Anne

Perhaps we shouldn't forget that part of being a Hepburn (Katharine, at least) was shacking up with a married man with children. That's hardly behavior worth emulating.

Wendy

I haven't read the book but when I hear Hepburn, especially in conjunction with classy behavior, my first association would be Audrey not Katharine. Perhaps Lindsay can clarify because she has read the book.

Thomas, I love your point and I think YOU would be the perfect person to write that book. I do discuss men in my books but I find that, especially if a man doesn't already have a positive male role model in his life, it is very difficult for him to hear about proper behavior from a woman. The message just doesn't "take" and is often greeted with outright hostility.

Account Deleted

You're right, Wendy. Audrey Hepburn, rather than Katharine, is the icon of modesty and classy behavior that Christy is encouraging young women to emulate.

Robin Goodfellow

The book that would do well for men has already been written. It's called The Art of Manliness, by Brett & Kate McKay, which is the result of the website artofmanliness.com.

If you want to reach guys (and we're talking general audience, not ones with a scholarly attention span), a modest "how to be a man" book, is what you need.

I've been looking for literature on masculinity over the years, and there's scarcely any that deal with things men care about head-on, without extraneous science and philosophy attached to it. However, I liked this book because it teaches men about things that help them be better men (including such things as how to ask for a lady's hand in marriage-it also has a section on how being chaste is indeed manly). It's not manliness in the sense of crude "machismo", but rather in the sense of men's traditional virtues.


(Just keep in mind that the book is not a direct reflection of the site's community, which does have its share of a**holes, relatively speaking)

TamaraF

I'm 33 year old, never-married woman. I've followed much of this advice simply as a result of my Evangelical Christian upbringing, but one question remains for me unanswered. That is, what about the woman who is doing everything right and decently, but is not getting pursued?

I've had many relatives and friends, male and female, tell me I'm pretty, I'm a great person and I deserve a love relationship, but it eludes me. To be sure, I meet single men, but no man has ever asked me out on a date.

I think some voice in the modesty movement has to address the issue of what actions a woman can take to get to marriage, and how to turn a male friend into something more.

Elizabeth

TamaraF - How about find a Christian man from another country? That seemed to work for a few friends of mine.

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