Modesty Is Just So Hard to FInd

Every little girl grows up with Disney movies. We are told that one day Prince Charming will come for us…but what if he never does? What if instead all we are faced with as we grow up are gawking eyes and loose promises. Society is stating that today’s woman needs to be more “outgoing” in order to get the guy to notice. While this may be true, I will stay true to myself.

Coming from a Catholic family, I have been taught about chastity and modesty from the time I could color inside the lines. My mother would talk to me and show me comic picture books to explain sex to me. At that age I really didn’t care and took no interest. As I got older sex was never an issue, the thought never crossed my mind, and I thought all kids wanted to wait until they got married.

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When it came time to attend high school I chose Providence, a prestigious all girl high school in San Antonio, I knew I would be challenged, plus…no boys! I knew I could breathe easy. Freshmen year and sophomore years rolled by things had changed: girls were talking about their boyfriends and first kisses. I myself was dating my first boyfriend. Of course this was all just innocence and the normal high school humdrum but then things changed even more. The focus began to shift from school to boys.
Did I mention Providence is located right across from an all guy school? Every Tuesday and Thursday the boys are allowed in our Friendship Cirlce. I had never seen such a sight! Girls, my friends, would make sure their hair and make up looked perfect in order to go outside; some would even roll up their skirts. What was happening? Why was there so much commotion over a visit from the boys? Why were the girls changing their persona so much? If this weren’t bad enough, the topic of sex began to find its way into our everyday conversations. Instead of our silly conversations over the latest reality show on VH1, girls were now talking about how they had lost their virginity the night before or how they planned to lose it over Spring Break. What had happened to the modesty?
This change didn’t only happen to my girl friends but it also affected my male friends. To the guys, having sex seemed like it was nothing, just something to do on a Saturday night. The guys would carry on about their experiences and pick on those who had none, and if a girl didn’t want to “put out”, well, there was definitely something wrong with her. In listening to all these conversations it dawned on me that the act of “making love” has lost all purpose because no one is willing to wait anymore; it’s just expected. Now the anticipation, the desire, and the intimacy that should be well developed before sex, is gone. Since most girls feel overcome by guys, many don’t have the will power to say no so just give in. After all, this is the 21st century, boys and girls are equal thus these girls should accept casual sex and enjoy it without regret just as freely as any boy does. In the dark ages boys respected girls and if she said no, he was to respect her wishes and that was that. Now some boys will leave the girl if they do not get what they want.
Over the summer our English class read the book, *”A Return to Modesty”, by Wendy Shalit. Shalit delves into the world of women of all ages and how far society has changed its outlook, not only on women, but on sexuality all together. Today’s society is glorifying sexuality more than ever before through television, music, and sexual icons. However, “A Return to Modesty” shows that these changes have not gone unnoticed and are making an impact on women not only physically, but mentally as well. Could this possibly be what was influencing my friends? Women feel pressured everyday to make themselves more attractive to find that perfect guy and instead most, end up with a slime ball who merely wants a good time. Once the man’s “appetite has been stilled, the person is cast aside as one casts away a lemon which has been sucked dry “( Shalit 66). Here Shalit’s writing is very clever comparing women to lemons; the reader is moved at the thought that women could actually be thrown away like useless dried lemons. This casting aside happens often and the women are the ones who suffer from it and what we need is a return to modesty. In reading this book, I was deeply moved by the author’s touching on an issue that I find highly important not only to myself but also to my generation. I feel that today society is giving the wrong impression to the youth of America and I felt like I could relate to “A Return to Modesty” through what was happening around me. Although my friends may choose to be a part of this sexual revolution, Shalit encouraged me to remain true to myself even more and not let society or any boy influence the person that I am. I hope others will follow this example and realize modesty is intriguing.

*Shalit, Wendy. A Return to Modesty. New York: Touchstone, 1999.

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