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Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good
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Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews

At twenty-three, Wendy Shalit punctured conventional wisdom with A Return to Modesty, arguing that our hope for true lasting love is not a problem to be fixed but rather a wonderful instinct that forms the basis for civilization. Now, in Girls Gone Mild, the brilliantly outspoken author investigates an emerging new movement. Despite nearly-naked teen models posing seductiv

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Random House (first published 2007)
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Ellen Dahlby I think it would be good to read it prior and mark passages to read with her. Some parts would be great for discussion for a pre-teen, others focus on…moreI think it would be good to read it prior and mark passages to read with her. Some parts would be great for discussion for a pre-teen, others focus on sexual topics you may not want to breech yet. (Additionally, the book may seem outdated to her, but it is still very relevant. Another good book for you to read first would be American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales (again, read first and flag for discussion))(less)

Community Reviews

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Skylar Burris
May 22, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Women young and old, parents of daughters
Whenever I have spoken to a baby boomer feminist about sex, it has felt something like this: A woman grows up at the end of thirty years of drought, while her daughters grow up in the midst of thirty years of flood, but the memory of the drought is so bad, that anytime she sees her daughters bailing water out of the boat, she instinctively cries, "Stop! Do you want to send us back to the drought?!" GIRLS GONE MILD is a book that acknowledges we need to bail out the boat but that we can do so wit ...more
Apr 20, 2008 Emily rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who don't believe in sex before marriage
According to Shalit you can be a "bad girl" and have non-marital sex which will be horrible and you will immediately regret afterwards/ be scarred for life or you can be a "good girl" and wait til marriage. The world is not so black and white.
Feb 09, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing
It seems weird to say this, but this was a fun read. Shalit's wry sense of humor pops up in unexpected ways (such as when she suddenly takes off on a reverie about "KUGEL" parties as an alternative to NYC's sex-saturated "CAKE" parties). There are stories of girls and women who are going against the grain of low standards and "sex sells" and this leavens the overall depressing news that the book reports about our current cultural environment in all its darkness and vapidity.

Generationally speaki
Apr 09, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those who question the value of modesty
Hmmm...I really liked A Return To Modesty...Wendy Shalit's first book, but this one just didn't do it for me. I felt like she could of left out most, if not all, of the descriptions about the current sexual revolution...she didn't leave much to the imagination. One would expect a book about about modesty to be written, in well, a modest manner. Plus many of these behaviors, at least I feel, tend to ere on the extreme side of things and don't necessarily represent the norm. I see what's on TV and ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Mary rated it did not like it
Shelves: sensem, abandoned
The things we do for research...

I tried to read this book (against Jessica Valenti's advice and my own better judgment) as part of a research project. Alas, it's unbearable. Shalit has created the worst kind of propaganda: a book that actively misinterprets its source material to shore up a regressive message. (And then dresses said regressive message up as empowerment.) In the bits I managed to power through, Shalit took issue with everything from the ahistoricism of Pleasantville to the "bitch
Nov 09, 2008 Angela rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
Wendy Shalit bugs me. She points out a lot of things about the way women, especially young women, are viewed & treated by society that suck, then accuses pretty much everyone who's not a born-again Christian preaching abstinence of contributing to the problem. Apparently, the only solution (and, conveniently, the complete and final solution) to any of this is for young women to "just say no" to sex until they find a nice, young man to marry.

There are so many problems with this I don't even k
Aug 28, 2007 Katie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who has a young daughter
Shelves: parenting
This book was jaw-dropping. I had no idea how much sexuality is actually marketed to girls starting around age 4. The book talks about the Bratz dolls, toddler tees that say "Sexy" and "Lust", and Limited Too selling rhinestoned-thongs. Wow. This was an eye-opening read that, seriously, every parent of a young daughter needs to read.
Nov 26, 2010 Ranya rated it it was amazing
This book hit the nail on the head for me. Shalit put into words exactly my thoughts on modesty and sexuality. The book took me back ten years, to my high school days when a friend told me, "Be free," while signaling with her hand for me to remove my hijab (headscarf). I remember telling her, "This makes me free," and over the years I've come to appreciate just how liberating modesty can be.
Shalit posits that female empowerment does not come from women partaking in meaningless, casual sex as me
May 30, 2008 Adri rated it it was ok
Wendy Shalit is trying to make a valid point: it is okay to be a 'good girl.' However, in order to prove she knows what the 'bad girls' are up to and she is, therefore, authorized to make the case for choosing good, she details so many graphic and disgusting things that I just had to put this book down. I was also a little disturbed that she gave little or no credit to religion as a means of instilling values. Her premise seemed to be that some girls are just born with the desire to be chaste an ...more
Jessica Pierce
Jun 20, 2008 Jessica Pierce rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I've been trying to get anyone who will listen to read this book, but it's hard to get past the word modesty when I'm describing it. That is usually the point you see people stop listening. In reality, this book isn't preachy or over the top. I think saying it's about modesty gives critics something to complain about, when in reality it's about teaching girls that they have something more to share with the world than just what is on the outside. I found it very interesting and enlightening. I ho ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Becca rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who are sexually active and regret it
While I agree with the basic point the author is making, I didn't like this book for two reasons.

The first (and biggest) reason is that the author spends so much time going into the graphic details of the sexual problems in our society that as a modest, chaste "good girl" I felt uncomfortable reading it. I often didn't even understand the slang and terminology she was using, and found the book overall to be discouraging. Too much talk about the problem and not enough about the good alternative.
Mar 27, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially women, with reservations
I checked this book out from the library because I had read about it somewhere. It's got some really incredible, incredible stuff in there. The downside was that while the author is contrasting some of the good decisions some people are making she describes some of the nastiness and immorality that is rampant in "normal" society. There were some things where I was thinking, "Oh, oh, I didn't need to know about that!" But it was so cool to read about some really inspiring people and the things th ...more
Dec 17, 2008 Diane rated it really liked it
In this book, Wendy Shalit criticizes contemporary fashion and entertainment for young girls for its overly sexual and immodest content. She also profiles young women who are making a difference by protesting against this state of affairs and trying to change it.

Some parts of this book are very good. The portraits that she draws of the young women standing up for modesty and decency are well drawn and compelling. Shalit's analysis of the role that African-American play in promoting human dignity
Sep 11, 2010 Dee rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010, dnf
I honestly couldn't finish this book...I was reading it and more and more feeling like I was being called a bad girl because growing up, I wanted to have the stuff that was bring criticized. It seemed as though the underlying motto was you can't be successful as a bad girl...and yet, I have multiple college degrees, a successfull I don't know
Aug 06, 2008 Brittany rated it it was amazing
So many great points- I'm really impressed with this author. Was a little hard to read as I live in a bubble and wasn't aware of how sexual our world has become. But I have hope that I can raise my girls to be modest and "good" girls.
Sam Schulman
Jan 21, 2010 Sam Schulman rated it really liked it
From my Commentary review:
According to Shalit, the institutions that formerly supported girls in their hesitations and demurrals have now, to a greater or lesser degree, abandoned them. For girls still “on the fence” about sex, the family, the schools, the mass media—even the feminists—too often conspire to push them off. As Shalit tells it, describing the case study of a fifteen-year-old whose boyfriend is pressuring her for sex:

Everyone—the pediatrician, the school nurse, the girl’s therapist
Nov 16, 2016 علی rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
عفت،رویکردی باطنی به زندگی داشتن است
Oct 24, 2008 G-- rated it liked it
I was unimpressed with Shalit's earlier book on modesty [A Return to Modesty] because I felt that the writing and ideas were undeveloped [as was the very young author]. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the author's maturation as evidenced in this book. One of her main points--that a culture based upon casual sex, although sexually liberated, is emotionally repressive to women--was argued in a very compelling fashion. Her point is that all of the magazine and other advocates of divorcing se ...more
Emily Petit
Feb 02, 2013 Emily Petit rated it liked it
An absolutely fascinating (and validating) read for women of all ages. However, the author generalizes more than an open-minded researcher ought to, and does not break her arguments into the facets that would hold the pieces of her perspective together. I believe this is because she is slightly swayed by her Jewish upbringing and young age (she was thirty at the time this book was written). She also neglects to address certain components of some of the modern-day issues that find a place in this ...more
Sep 08, 2011 Courtenay rated it it was ok
Alright. I do agree with the premise of this book, however I didn't like much else about it. Where to start? Shalit is not a good writer and an editor would have shortened the book significantly (she can be very redundant, repetitive, says the same thing over and over with different words, makes the same point several times.... annoying, isn't it?). Shalit seems to want people to hate her and seems to enjoy in the fact that she ticks people off, which will not win anyone over to her side. She qu ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Angela rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who works with teens or children
According to this book, there are women in our society who want to be modest and private about their sexuality rather than promiscuous and always on display. Wendy Shalit explores how these women are perceived by both their supporters and critics.

She posits that the over-sexualization of young people and the proliferation of casual sex have actually damaged people's abilities to have emotional relationships. There is a myth about sexual liberation that many young women are still buying into, an
Sep 28, 2007 Maria rated it really liked it
While some of you fellow feminists might be offended by the biggest title, this book really examined how girls being easy, petty, and manipulative in order to please or obtain men has got to stop if we are going to regain any respect or dignity. There were a few examples I thought were taken too far, but for the most part, I thought she was right on the money. We as girls need to have our skills and knowledge looked at more than a tight shirt we are wearing. I wish I would have read this book in ...more
May 05, 2016 Ginger rated it liked it
Shelves: cultural-studies
I'm a big fan of Wendy Shalit's Return to Modesty. Her second attempt was still well-written and well-researched, but just not nearly as timeless as Modesty.

This would possibly be a great book for mothers and daughters to discuss (I would say the daughter need be at least 13+ and on up to early 20s or so), but this felt a little bit like a really, really long article that explored how the concepts of her earlier Modesty were playing out in society.

I'm still a fan of Ms. Shalit, but definitely re
May 07, 2008 Suzanne rated it really liked it
A little bit of "backlash" but overall a VERY good book. Talks about the ways our culture has sent very damaging messages to girls and women post sexual revolution. It's kind of depressing, but gave me a lot to think about. And it gave me some hope that maybe there are people who are also sick and tired of being surrounded by sexualized images everywhere. A return to modesty and self-respect would be great.
Sep 01, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone, Parents with daughters of any age
Shelves: non-fiction
A very insightful read. Wendy gives a careful analysis of today's girl - what she deals with, the pressures she faces and the choices she makes. It was sad to see what girls and women face today in terms of casual sex, being "sexy" and being people-pleasers. But it was good to know what's happening and what to do to help girls' mindsets and self-esteems. A must-read for anyone with daughters - or really just anyone.
Mar 10, 2011 Hsmith rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone with a daughter! It gave an accurate portrayal of our nation's glorification of casual sex, sexualization in young girls, and inappropriate expectations of our daughters. Statistically nearly half girls claim to have had unwanted sex by the time they graduate from high school...that scares me.
Jun 21, 2008 Gina rated it really liked it
Another great book from Wendy. Love her sarcasm and how well it comes through the pages. Opened my eyes to even more of the things that the youth are exposed to now, and made me so grateful for those girls who are on a new revolution to "desexitize" our culture.
Ashley-veronika Zappe
Nov 22, 2014 Ashley-veronika Zappe rated it it was amazing
Finally someone who can support women's self-worth and sexual self-respect without resorting to trite psuedo feminism or religious faith!
Oriyah Nitkin
Jan 07, 2017 Oriyah Nitkin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rivka Fuhs
My feelings about this book are complex, as are my thoughts.
On the one hand, I think its an important book with important information. I also think the writer has a true way with language and a snarky sense of humor that literally had me laughing out loud several times (something I almost NEVER do when I read). On the other hand, I found it to be a bit redundant at times, with a tad of circular logic in certain chapters (I didn't mark down which).

It also seems the book could be summed up as "T
I read Wendy Shalit's other book (A Return to Modesty) earlier this year and found it refreshing and interesting. In contrast, I found this book to be rather tedious and an unnecessary read. The book is divided into chapters, but each one is basically repeating all the others. All the ideas sort of blend together into one big, redundant argument.
I also think that another reason why this book just didn't do it for me is that my experiences have been different than Ms. Shalit's. She makes these sw
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