“Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
At twenty-three, Wendy Shalit punctured conventional wisdom with her 1999 book A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, prompting James P. Pinkerton to write in Newsday that her book was “strong evidence that the backlash against Monica Lewinsky will come, not from her elders, but from her youngers." His prediction, it seems, has come true.
Despite the fact that porn is mainstream, and despite the fact that those who to choose to delay sex are labeled “prudes,” a youth-led rebellion is challenging the status quo. Why?
For the first time, in THE GOOD GIRL REVOLUTION: Young Women With Self-Esteem and High Standards, we hear the voices at the frontlines of this emerging new movement, from someone who has been talking to these “rebellious good girls” for almost ten years. Some of them, Shalit reports, are pressured by their own mothers to lose their virginity, and come to resent it; others just don’t think they need to be “bad” to be liberated in the first place.
Drawing on numerous studies and interviews around the nation, Shalit’s findings are at once shocking and encouraging. Nowadays, as even the youngest teenage girls feel the pressure to become cold sex sirens, put their bodies on public display, and suppress their feelings in order to feel accepted and (temporarily) loved, many young women are realizing that “friends with benefits” are often anything but. And as these girls speak for themselves, we see that what is expected of them turns out to be very different from what is in their own hearts.
Written with sincerity and upbeat humor, The Good Girl Revolution rescues the good girl from the realm of mythology and dated manners guides to show that today’s version is the real rebel: She is not “people pleasing” or repressed; she is simply reclaiming her individuality. And it’s about time.
Do you have a question for Wendy? Go ahead and ask her!
This paperback is a new edition of Girls Gone Mild and includes a discussion guide for classrooms and book clubs. If you wish to purchase the original hardcover, you can find it here.
“The girls [whom the Times reporter] interviewed cited wholesome-seeming celebrities as their favorites. . . Is it possible that today’s teens have seen enough to inoculate them against the pressures of their teenage years?”
--Stephanie Rosenbloom, "Grade-School Girls, Grown-up Gossip," New York Times, May 27, 2007