For a long time, I've wanted to write about the impact of feminism's third wave and the resulting "raunch culture" that has developed among women because of it. The unfortunate aspect is that making your point about how bad things have become means you have to mention material that is not helpful for anyone to consider. However, I have been encouraged by the overview articles I've been reading about Wendy Shalit's new book, Girls Gone Mild,* which is a pun on the awful TV show titled "Girls Gone Wild." This is not an endorsement of her book, simply because I've not yet read it, but I thought Tim Challies presented a thoughtful post about it last week, one that went on to explore the larger themes of humiliation as entertainment:
Over the past few days I've been reading Girls Gone Mild, the new book by Wendy Shalit. Shalit's first book, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue was published seven years ago and caused quite a stir. Shalit, an orthodox Jew, made the audacious claim that the sexual revolution may not have been entirely beneficial for women. She decried the lack of modesty this revolution has brought about and, according to TIME defended "compellingly, shame, privacy, gallantry, and sexual reticence." Of course many people, and feminists in particular, were disgusted with the book and ruthlessly mocked her. Her second effort, Girls Gone Mild Shalit investigates a new movement that seems to be growing in strength and is being led by young people. It is a movement back to modesty and back to an understanding of womanhood that is somehow feminine.
It is not just Christians who are aghast at our culture's view of womanhood. The sexual revolution has produced a generation of girls who are brazen in their sexuality. We've come to a time when girls are offered the choice between being brave and sexual or timid and modest. Culture teaches that it is acceptable to wait to engage in sexual practices as long as you feel you are unprepared. It is those who are comfortable with their bodies who flaunt their nakedness while those who hide their bodies are ashamed. Hence it is the weak who wait and the strong who engage. And countless numbers of girls are engaged, even from a young age.
But that is not all. As girls become increasingly sexual at an increasingly young age, they also become aggressive. Girls have long been taught that traditionally feminine qualities such as niceness and gentleness are a sign of weakness. Girls are encouraged to be tough, to stand for their perceived rights. And girls do this. Bullying among girls has become commonplace in schools. The term "bullycide" has been coined to describe people, and often girls, who are driven to suicide by bullying.
Girls are being mean because their parents and teachers are teaching them to be mean. Adults are telling the children that it is the aggressive who will inherit the earth. The girls who are nice will be trampled on and will be left behind.
This is just one of the myriad reasons more mature women in our churches need to be fulfilling the Titus 2 call to disciple younger women. These girls are living in a culture that promotes exactly the opposite of our what our Lord taught: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."--Matthew 5:5. And it is to their detriment.
UPDATES: Tim Challies just posted a full review of Girls Gone Mild. And if the case for mean girls hasn't been made sufficiently, check out this disturbing story from Lydia Brownback about two teen girls torching a kitten.* My apologies to Ms. Shalit and my thanks to all those who caught the earlier typo in the title of her book. I would have corrected it much sooner, but with most unfortunate timing, my blog hosting system went down this afternoon.
(photo courtesy of Ignacio Leonardi)