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July 21, 2010

Comments

Robin Goodfellow

It's true... just be careful of conceit.

The statement only works when it's mutually exclusive towards each gender.

Good men also bring out the best in women.

We both appreciate knowing that we care about/for each other, and need that attitude for it to "work".

Tom Babcock

I suppose another way of looking at this is that, for either gender, we effectively bring out in others what it is that we project to be our standards. Not that everyone will respond to our projections, but if they do and we project modesty, then we should receive respect and modesty in return. In the case of courtship, if I were to project modesty and the woman ignores the "projection" then I might consider she's not the one for me (or maybe I am giving off the wrong signal in some way). Of course being married, I'd shouldn't be courting.

Melissa May

My husband and I attended a marriage seminar a few years ago called "Love and Respect". This is one of the ideas that was taught at the conference: We have the capacity to bring out the best in each other (and then they talked about practical ways to do so, etc...).
Robin is right. When both sexes are engaged in the work of bringing out the best in each other, everyone benefits. It's really a beautiful thing!

Boyd

It is interesting how things are much the same as when this film was made. Girls still very much want to be noticed by the boys they are interested in. While the issue in question remains the same, the moral being taught by the film would probably be vastly different if the film were re-made today unfortunately.

Another interesting quote from Gidget is the following:

When Gidget worries about how to make a boy like her... Gidget's mother replies "Well dear that is the good thing about being a girl.. it is all up to the boy". How would that bit of wisdom play today?

Koni

@ Boyd - I know right! I had that same thought when i watched it. That would never fly today...even though we still would like it to be true. we're not allowed to talk about it.

@ everyone else - Seriously watch the movie - its like an hour and a half and it is wonderful fun.

Nurit Weizman

I think this discussion brings out an interesting issue of gender differences--especially when Gidget alludes to the general arrogant attitude that guys have (although I should mention that I haven't seen the movie).

More liberal and radical movements seem to try and break up the general logic of human body and thought. What I mean by this is, obviously there are great biological differences between men and women. To speak, if you will, modestly, men are physically more external and can "spread the love" (I can't believe that I just said that) to more women without much harm. Women are physically more modest/internal and are much more reproductively vulnerable. The female body must be very selective as it has the unique possibility of becoming pregnant.

So when people attribute every difference in female and male behavior to patriarchal social construction, I can't help but think, isn't it natural to believe that we are in fact different all around? Isn't it natural that we would have different expectations and attitudes towards "selecting"? And if it is, then just as people "prepare" for physical relationships according to biological sex (i.e. with condoms, birth control), then perhaps there's a need for somewhat separate emotional preparation as well (i.e. telling men that just because you might desire to sleep with multiple women, there is a border of modesty that must be respected, giving a woman the right to select the "one"; telling women that they have a right to be both selective and free from pressure to "sleep around like a man" without emotional attachments).

I'm not sure if I phrased that so well and I hope I didn't go too off topic...but even when talking about marriage and bringing the best out of your spouse, perhaps there are different ways in which husband and wife might generally do this for one another?

Shanna

Hmm. Nurit, I think some of more liberal movements regarding differences between male and female behavior as a product of social construction, is in large part because that's how it works for many of the people within the movement. I have friends of both genders who separate sex and emotion easily, and friends of both genders who can only have sex in a committed relationship (my one friend and her husband both waited until their wedding night, which was the right choice for them). While many people fit into more traditional gender roles, a good many don't. For those of us who don't fit into traditional gender roles, especially in the past, society would shun or otherwise cast them out unless they conformed. It always seems there's a narrative to "protect" womens virtue, without regard to men's virtue, because it's been ingrained that guys like/need sex, and women don't need/like sex. This idea hurts everyone because it condones looser morals for mens sexuality and constrains womens. I.E a guy sleeping around is normal (and as such this mentality causes men not as interested in sex/sleeping around to have sex/sleep around so they aren't perceived as "unmanly"), and girl sleeping around is looking for attention/valueless/etc. I'm glad you touch on the idea of supporting men's virtue as well. And I think it's great that the ladies and other commenters of this blog strive to lead a modest life, one that you have all chosen for yourselves. I hope that as a culture we can all learn to appreciate other people life choices, whether they fit into traditional gender roles or not. I'm afraid I might have started to ramble at the end, sorry.

Nurit Weizman

Shanna, thank you for bringing up those points. I'll expand on what my explanation was connected to. My apologies now for the great length--brevity is unfortunately not my strength. Firstly, I'd argue that the pressure of equating manliness with great sexual apetite is new. 150 years ago, a woman was defended by court for biting off part of a man's nose after only a "stolen kiss" (ex. from A Return to Modesty, by Wendy Shalit). There was no honor in looser morals/forwardness by men. Another misconception is that in traditional societies, modesty reflects how women are assumed they don't want/need sex. There's much to say but I'll quickly note that in Orthodox Jewish communities, a woman's sexual pleasure is of utmost importance and husbands are obligated to pleasure their wives as it is a commandment.

I agree that the sexual revolution was led by those who felt oppressed by traditional gender norms, but the modesty movement is a response to the oppression felt by the sexual revolution. As a woman studies major I learned two main attitudes in much main-stream feminism. Sex-positive feminists such as Gayle Rubin and, I'd argue, Jessica Valenti have constructed the idea that sex isn't that big of a deal--no more harmful than any other activity that can be pleasureful--a notion I don't think would or should fly if cut and pasted into a conversation concerning rape. The other idea is women are no more emotionally vulnerable than men in matters of sex. This idea has infiltrated culture--women are pressured not to sound desperate, while having mulitple partners is celebrated (i.e. Samantha Jones). Those who do hope for commitment are often told they need to ask themselves if perhaps patriarchy made them believe in this "hope". So when my good friends secretely wished to be with the men they hooked-up with while the men didn't, they weren't allowed to think it's because generally guys can be more dettached. They believed they just need to learn how to drop expectations/be desensitized to sex before their next hook-up. Women often have to sacrifice their most intimate selves to prove there aren't gender differences by destroying "fake" feelings the patriarchy imposed on them in order to be liberated women. None of these pressures were ever discussed in my women stud classes by my peers or profs.

Two weeks ago I visited the camp I used to work in and spoke with the older girl campers I became close with as a counselor. I told them I hadn't had sex yet and was waiting for the 'one' and that they don't have to feel "sexually immature" if they wished the same. Each girl was extremely shocked/relieved, as they thought all counselors were sexually active--which they found very intimidating. Each girl had agonized over why she couldn't "hook up" easily. One girl talked to me afterwards in such tears. She thought something was so wrong with her for not wanting to give in to pressure from friends/family to just be cool and do it. Each girl had no idea anybody else had been feeling the same as they felt ashamed over their "abnormal sensitivity". I had never been thanked more in my life. They were so happy to find out there is another choice. Another friend of mine from women studies confessed her hurt over misleading information: "This is going to be against everything we learned as feminists, but I don't believe most women can be emotionally detached like most men. I've really tried and just can't". Some may say, maybe casual sex just isn't for her. But because knowledge creates/developes the choices we make, and since our wisdom today is often "sex is not inherently emotional" (as I was told by my 2nd women stud prof), women often have to hook-up to see whether it's easy, with no reason to think that it won't be. And if it isn't, they start to believe/are told something is wrong with them like those girls at camp were told, never thinking that maybe it is our views on sex that are harmful. By the time someone lets them know that an emotional connection is perfectly normal, they already feel like (as my friend from women studies said) "damaged goods" from all the trial and error.

Ann Herrick

The thing about Gidget is that at the beginning of the movie she is not ready to go out chasing boys (manhunt, as one of the girls puts it). It's a story of discovering those feelings of first love, and I do wonder how it could be played out today. A 17 year old girl would have to be awfully sheltered to be at the point Gidget is at the beginning of the movie.
As for the movie itself, it's such a wonderful contrast when Gidget and Moondoggie hold hands as all around them "wild making out" is going on, or at least implied.
Love the anticipation as Moondoggie sings to Gidget and almost kisses her.
The scene where the Kahuna leans down and really looks at Gidget and says, "Hey, you really are sweet, sweet and lovely and..." Whew! Now that scene is more sexy than any R or X rated, hit-you-in-the-face scene. Especially since Kahuna comes to his senses at the last second.

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