A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $4.21 (26%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 20 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 24? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by 808 Discounts
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book has marking on bottom edge. Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided with every order. Slight wear on edges and covers; otherwise item is in very good condition.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue Paperback


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.79
$3.99 $0.01 $8.80

Frequently Bought Together

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue + Women, Sex, and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching + Unprotected
Price for all three: $37.98

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; New edition edition (January 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684863170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684863177
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The 23-year-old author first heard of "modestyniks"--Orthodox Jewish women who withhold physical contact from men until marriage--while a freshman at Williams College. She was initially fascinated by the way in which they cleave to old ideals, especially amid a sexually saturated contemporary world. But more so, Wendy Shalit was aghast at how modestyniks are dismissed as sick, delusional, or repressed by the secular community. "Why," asks the author, "is sexual modesty so threatening to some that they can only respond to it with charges of abuse or delusion?"

In her thoughtful three-part essay, the author reveals an impressive reading list as she probes the cultural history of sexual modesty for women and considers whether this virtue may be beneficial in today's world--if not an antidote to misogyny. In an age when women are embarrassed by sexual inexperience, when sex education is introduced as early as primary school, and when women suffer more than ever from eating disorders, stalking, sexual harassment, and date rape, Shalit believes a return to modesty may place women on equal footing with men. She yearns for a time when conservatives can believe the claims of feminists and feminists can differentiate between patriarchy and misogyny and share in the dialectic of female sexuality.

While the young author's argument is often limited by naiveté and her own lack of experience, her profound intelligence and daring are undeniable. A Return to Modesty is a thought-provoking debut that introduces an original and exciting new feminist thinker. --Kera Bolonik --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A heartfelt (and controversial) plea, insisting that the power to heal the American female's ills lies in the reinstatement of sexual restraint, resurrection of romantic ideals, and simple good manners. Twenty-three-year-old Williams College graduate Shalit, whose 15 minutes of fame arrived when her red-faced critique of co-ed bathrooms on campus reached the pages of Reader's Digest, has produced a daring book aimed at the core of contemporary gender theory. Shalit demonstrates familiarity with both conservative and feminist explanations of women's problems such as eating disorders, teen pregnancy, date rape, and stalking, but presents what she terms a ``middle path'' to elucidating and curing these problems. It is natural for women to be modest, she argues, and low self-esteem and disrespect from men were natural consequences of the promotion of sexual promiscuity among young people of both sexes. There is true compassion for womens sense of self in her critique of premarital sexual practices, and she insists that while male behavior is often unacceptable and degrading to women, men are only acting rationally within the constraints of popular expectations. She finds that despite the stigma placed on modesty today some traces remain, pointing towards the primordial defenses that once protected women by placing them out of reach of men who were not prepared to commit and treat them with respect. Orthodox Jewish rules of modesty and Islamic dress provide Shalit with material to show the benefits of restraint in male-female relations: it puts women in control of access to their bodies, allows them to preserve the beauty of their romantic aspirations, compels men to invest themselves in relationships, and enhances the erotic potential of eventual intimacy, she says. The message of this book is rarely heard, it is audacious, and it should not be dismissed out of handdespite Shalit's occasional reliance on women's magazines such as Mademoiselle and Elle as a source of information on the state of the American female soul. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Wendy Shalit was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Williams College in 1997.

Her essays have appeared in Commentary, Slate, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Her first book, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, was published by the Free Press in 1999.

The response from young women around the world prompted her to launch the group blog ModestlyYours.net, an online forum for women who don't have a voice in the mainstream media.

The Good Girl Revolution is her second book.

Wendy lives with her husband and son in Toronto, Ontario, where she enjoys various modern appliances such as the dishwasher, and has no desire to return to the 19th Century.

Customer Reviews

In this book, Wendy Shalit makes two related arguments.
TEK
It seems to me her primary purpose was not to equalize men and women, but to swing the pendulum of gender-based power back to the direction of women.
SamC
The costs of the devaluation of modesty, as Shalit makes clear, have been enormous.
Diana

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 187 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I actually took the time to peruse all the 115 reviews written on the book before I wrote this review and one thing is VERY clear to me: most of the naysayers aren't young women. And I think I know why. It's because the average young woman is afraid to read this book. After I finished it, I was seized by the urge to buy it for all my girlfriends, and then I realized most of them wouldn't appreciate it, probably would never even open it. Why? Because then they would have to listen to the little voice inside that says something is amiss in today's sexual politics and it's the women that are getting screwed. And then they'd have to deal with it, and that's hard. What Wendy Shalit has done is HARD. You have to be a young woman to appreciate the enormity of it. If you're fifty, or a man, or live in Smalltown USA, I support your right to an opinion, but at least admit that without experiencing what Shalit's talking about, you don't have a real foundation for calling what she says hogwash.
Are some of the criticisms valid? Most assuredly. Her writing leaves much to be desired, and the book often reads like a college paper. And so the research wasn't particularly outstanding, and (as all people making an argument do) she puts her own spin on the quotes on to make her point. I don't even know if I believe modesty is the answer to today's ills, and I definitely don’t support paternalism and a return to the patriarchy. (And, yes her references to her economist father irritate me too; I don't know what that has to do with anything)
BUT, what Wendy Shalit is saying about how today's sexual culture is eating young women alive is DEAD ON.
Read more ›
8 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Kyra_Athena on November 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a recommendation so I wasn't too sure what to expect. Some of Ms. Shalit's experiences growing up in the public school system mirrored some of my own. Looking back, sex education, at least the way it was done in my school system, encouraged promiscuity through experimentation and left girls open to harassment. Sexuality became a contest for many at my school. It was a competition. Those who chose to not be sexually active were often pressured and made fun of due to their decision. I agree that our culture "sexualizes" our children far too early.

Reading this book resolved any question I had about how my daughter would be guided. Modesty in behavior and dress is not something to be ridiculed. When you have mothers dressing their own children in a provocative manner just because other teenagers are dressing that way, you just have to wonder. I am not advocating that women be subordinate or be treated badly. Dignity and respect are what I expect for all women. When a woman is valued, even by herself, for her sexuality above all else, some deep thought needs to take place.

I applaud Ms. Shalit for being brave and honest with herself in order to write this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
A person who knows the thought of only his own time and country is like the frog in the Chinese proverb who looks at the sky from a well. Shalit makes good use of Jane Austen and other voices of sanity from eras bygone, including Jewish tradition, to launch a revolution against one of the most provincial and demeaning errors of our day: the "boys (and girls) will be boys" view of sexuality, that the only problems with promiscuity are STDs and unwanted pregancies, and those can be solved. She could have found a more holistic and human view of sex in other cultures as well as other eras, that aren't so nutty as our own in this particular way.

Admittedly, critics get in a few good licks below. Shalit repeats herself too much: the book should have been shortened by 20 pages. She portrays men as tending towards rudeness, filth, and animimalism as pigs tend towards mud; which seems a bit over the top.

But Shalit writes well and boldly. Her stories are fascinating; and frankly, American adults deserve the scolding she gives. Having unearthed strong supporting evidence that monogamy leads to better health, happiness, and even sexual fulfillment (for my book, Jesus and the Religions of Man), I also think the evidence is on Shalit's side. If I could, I might give a copy of this book to every high school girl in the country. (As a teacher, I am often faced with displays of student immodesty. Maybe I'd lose my job, but sometimes I would like to tell some of the girls, "You come to class dressed that way, and sure, you'll attract attention. But I also hear you saying, 'I don't think much of myself, and don't expect you to respect me, either.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Diana on December 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Okay, the author is young. Fine. Sure, she's inexperienced. Fine. And this book began life as a college paper. Frankly, if any college paper deserved to be published and mass-marketed, this is the one.
We're not talking erudition here, but a refreshing, daring, nearly-in-your-face look at a heretofore unseen culture -- ours. What would happen, people wondered many, many years ago, if sex were free? If sexual relationships didn't have to be legitimized by church or state to exist without public scorn? Wouldn't it be wonderful? These were not just male writers, understand, but also well-educated women who yearned for what seemed impossible, different, liberating.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the impossible has become all too possible. Here we are, folks, and guess what? It's not different, it's the same old banal same old. It's not liberating, to feel stuck in a culture that benefits some while treating others as disposable wipes. And it's for sure not free. The costs of the devaluation of modesty, as Shalit makes clear, have been enormous.
Societal costs range from the spread of AIDS to increasing rape to pre-pubertal girls being hit on by boys whose testosterone has only begun to flower, leaving their brains well behind. The personal costs, though, accompany all this, as every statistic is the sum of personal stories, the kind women tell women and men rarely believe.
I've been very lucky. I was divorced several years ago, and until recently was too heartsore and terribly busy for even dating. Thus I avoided sexual pressure. Was it lonely? Frustrating? You betcha. But the benefits of being forced to wait, I see now, outweighed any fleeting pleasure I might have attained.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa4b92330)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?