EDITORrnThomas FlemingrnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSrnChilton Williamson, Jr.rnMANAGING EDITORrnScott P. RichertrnART DIRECTORrnH. Ward SterettrnDESIGNERrnMelanie AndersonrnCONTRIBUTING EDITORSrnKatherine Dalton, Samuel Francis,rnGeorge Garrett, Paul Gottfried,rnj.O. Tate, Michael Washburn,rnClyde WilsonrnCORRESPONDING EDITORSrnBill Kauffman, Donald Livingston,rnWilliam Mills, William Murchison,rnAndrei Navrozov, Jacob NeusnerrnFOREIGN AFFAIRS EDITORrnSrdja TrifkovicrnLEGAL AFFAIRS EDITORrnStephen B. PresserrnRELIGION EDITORrnHarold O.J. BrownrnEDITORIAL SECRETARYrnLeann DobbsrnPUBLISHERrnThe Rockford InstituternPUBLICATION DIRECTORrnGuy C. ReffettrnCIRCULTION MANAGERrnCindy LinkrnA publication of The Rockford Institute,rnEditorial and Advertising Offices:rn928 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.rnEditorial Phone: (815)964-5054,rnAdvertising Phone: (815)964-5813,rnSubscription Department: P,0, Box 800,rnMount Morris, IL 61054, Call 1-800-877-5459.rnU.S..A. Newsstand Distribution b- Eastern NevsrnDistributors, Inc., One Media Wa. 12406 Rt. 250rnMilan, Ohio 44848-9705rnCopvTight © 1999 by The Rockford Institute.rnAll rights reserved.rnChronicles (ISSN 0887-5731) is publishedrnrnouthh’ for $39.00 (foreign subscriptions add S12rnfor surface delivery S48 for Air Mail) per “e:ir byrnThe Rockford In,stitute, 928 Nordi Main Street,rnRockford, IL 61103-7061. Preferred periodicalrnpo.stage paid at Rockford, IL and additional mailingrnoffices. POSTMASTER: Send addressrnchanges to Chmnicks, P.O. Box 800,rnMount Morris, IL 61054.rnThe ie\s expressed in Chronides arc thernauthors’ alone and do not ncccssariK reflectrnthe views of The Rockford Institute or uf itsrndirectors. Unsolicited manirscripts cannot bernreturned unless accompanied by a self-addressedrnstamped envelope.rnChroniclesrnVol, 2^, No, 8 August 1999rnFrintecl in the United Sbitcs of .^JIKTI^.IrnPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESrnOn ModestyrnI was disappointed bv Karina Rollins’rnsimplistic portrayal of sexnal mores in herrnreview of Wendy Shalit’s book, A Returnrnto Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtuern(“Natural Woman,” May). Shalit’s bookrnshould not have been embraced so uncritically.rnIn fact, I doubt that anyonernwith mature sensibilities could getrnthrough it without shuddering at itsrnschoolgirl moralism.rnShalit writes, “Before, it was a woman’srnprerogative to say no .. . while now it is arnman’s prerogative to expect sex.” Sincernwhen? That may be her perception, butrnno women I know would agree. It’s morernlike men today hope for sex, as they alwaysrnhave.rnIn the past, according to Shalit, “femalernmodest)’ gave men a frame of referencernfor a woman’s ‘no.'” She maintainsrnthat the loss of that frame of reference hasrncaused an increase in date rape and violencernagainst women. Today, “taughtrnfrom day one that women are always asrnready to receive advances as they are eagerrnto make them, the modern male alwaysrntakes a ‘no’ as a personal rebuke.” Itrnsounds to me like Shalit has been hangingrnout with the wrong men—with menrnwho ought to take “no” as a personal rebuke!rnIn reality, most perpetrators of daternrape are immature, unformed charactersrnwho do not know how to conduct themselvesrnwith women. Some are frat boysrnwith the ver)’ same ideals about womenrnthat Shalit holds, but who neverthelessrnact on other desires. I think we all knowrnmen who espouse loft}’ ideals for womenrnbut still want to take advantage when thernopportunity presents itself. Then too,rnmany victims are naive voung womenrn(like Shalit?) who do not recognize thernsituations in which they find themselves,rnand who do not know how to make decisions,rncommimicate firmi’, and takerncharge of situations. Mature women acceptrnsuch responsibilities because theyrnhave learned to recognize the practicalrnrequirements for dealing with the malernego.rnIn short, Shalit and Rollins ignore thernessential realism of sexual decorum. Encouragingrnyoung women not to be haplessrnin dealing with men would be morernhelpful than their cliche prescription forrnmore “modesty.” A woman must developrnenough self-possession to make herselfrnclear and to keep some measure of controlrnover her own life, particularly in itsrnmost intimate aspects.rnOf course, it would be nice if oursrnwere a more decorous society, if social relationsrnbetween men and women werernconducted with maturity. However, arnmore decorous society would also be onernin which people were accomplished atrnminding their own business in matters asrnprivate as sex. Since people tend to endrnup with partners who subscribe to sexualrnmores similar to their own, the sexualrnmores of everyone else are not particularlyrnmy business, nor yours.rnIf Shalit would attend more to herrnown business, she might show a littlern”modesty” in her pronouncements,rnrather than spinning her naive premisesrninto grandiose sociological theory. Forrnexample, Shalit argues that embarrassmentrnover virginit}’ leads to anorexia andrnbulimia. “In a culture that permits foodrnhang-ups but not sex hang-ups, it’s becomernthe ne’w way for a girl to express herrnmodesty, to restore distance betweenrnmen and herself.” Shalit clearly has notrninvestigated the actual dynamics of eatingrndisorders. Virgin anorexics? Please.rnA Return to Modesty is not provocative;rnit is flippant, and at times downright vulgar.rnIn spite of the book’s title, Shalit’srntake on sexual relations is so crass as to bernembarrassing to read. All of the quotationsrnthat I have used here are used byrnRollins approvingly in her review. Therncourteous thing to do is to pull the veil ofrnmodestv’ over this sort of cliche exhibitionism,rnnot pav uncritical homage to it.rnThe book review, like the book, is justrna/ffiiijBNsrnSave a Stamp! E-mail your letters to the editor to:rnPolemics@ChromclesMa0azine,orgrn4/CHRONICLESrnrnrn