Item description for Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!) by Carol Liebau...
Overview Political analyst and commentator Carol Platt Liebau takes a hard look at the pervasiveness of sex in today's culture and the havoc it wreaks on young people.
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Studio: Center Street
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.3" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Release Date Nov 30, 2007
Publisher HACHETTE BOOK GROUP
ISBN 1599956837 ISBN13 9781599956831
Reviews - What do customers think about Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)?
Not What I Thought Aug 28, 2008
This was mostly a listing of facts and figures, and a listing of trends that anyone who is the least bit culturally aware would already know. Felt it might be a good reference book for parents who aren't aware what is going on, but I did not find it very helpful as to what to do about the situation.
Great Topic, Poor Book Aug 22, 2008
This is a very hot topic, and an interesting premise for a book. It is well researched on the factual level, quoting many statistics on child (high school, middle school) sexual activity as well as celebrating girls' achievement in the academic arena in recent times. The media is initially to blame for the sexualizing of our girls - tv, movies, sexually explicit lyrics, music videos, celebrity culture etc. and later we read about available merchandise such as thongs for tweens, toddler bikinis, Bratz dolls etc. However, as the book wears on it becomes apparent that the author firmly blames a combination of what she calls "radical feminism" which is neatly renamed "do-me feminism", the privatization of religion, which seems to translate roughly into the loosening of the grip of Christian sexual values as they pertain to women across the USA, and parents being unwilling to monitor their children properly. Girls are told to be the moral gatekeepers again (sound familiar?) and boys are barely mentioned until the very last pages where there is a nod in their direction saying that they of course are also culpable, but only because their appetites are 'different'. The book also neatly excuses rampant capitalism which sees our little girls merely as loyal, life-long consumers rather than vulnerable members of society and urges them to write to stores, using their economic clout to change the world. I wonder how that will work with those girls who are already indoctrinated into the sex and consumer society by Bratz dolls before they can even read, let alone write? Altogether a very disappointing read. It is a classic piece of backlash propaganda. It may help one or two girls not have sex before they are ready, but it won't put them at ease with their sexuality, empower them in any way or help society or America as a whole. A bunch of recidivist rubbish.
Important Read for Parents of Girls Aug 5, 2008
Readers should be forewarned that Ms. Liebau's book goes into fairly graphic detail about sexuality that some people will likely find distasteful; I agree with one of the other reviewers who found such level of explicitness a bit voyeuristic. However, I can understand why she chose to do so. Most parents have a general sense that modern pop culture is hypersexualized, but they may be shocked at just how bad things have gotten for today's 'tweens and teens.
For example, I was aware that the "Gossip Girl" series of young adult books were sleazy but I had no idea until reading Ms. Liebau's book the extent to which it glorifies utterly appalling behavior. I also was unaware that "Seventeen" magazine, which I remember as being fairly tame in the early '90's when I had a subscription, had become so risque.
Chapter 8 of Ms. Liebau's book "Paying the Piper: The Toll on Young Girls and the Cost to America" detailing the risks of teen sex should be required reading for every teen and his/her parents. It is extremely well-researched and shatters the myth of so-called "safe sex" for minors.
Unfortunately, I suspect that like Wendy Shalit and others, Ms. Liebau will be "preaching to the choir" and that those most in need of hearing her message, won't. Highly recommended!
Disappointed and left wanting... Jul 23, 2008
For purposes of clarity, and in order to dispel the assertions of comments directed at several other consumers posted here, I have indeed read this book, cover to cover. And no, I am not an idiot. In fact, I suspect that anyone who uses such unattractive epithets toward a person speaking her or his mind has no real evidence or background to rebut in an intelligent and appropriate manner. If anyone reading this review is thusly inclined, you may want to save time and stop reading now, as your words will not deter me from my opinion, nor will they cause me to question my intelligence.
I consider most of my political and moral views to be on the liberal side, but I agree that our culture is sex-obsessed and that our future generations are suffering as a result. Therefore, I picked up Ms. Liebau's book in the hopes of finding deep analysis and optimistic resolutions. Upon completion of the book, I was very disheartened. I did not expect exaggerated nostalgia for a time when women were just as much sex objects as they are now, only for different reasons.
During the "Golden Age" that the author refers to, women were wives, mistresses, or spinsters, and much of the time none of those were desirable roles. Media creations were also just as obscene, in a different way. Magazine articles listed ways in which to be a good wife, which included not asking questions when your husband comes home late, or not at all. Television shows rarely depicted women as anything other than doting housewife and mother who had minimal input to the important matters of the household.
In the real world, working women were limited to mainly secretarial, housekeeping, or childcare positions, where sexual harassment by their male superiors was rampant, assumed, and ignored by higher authorities. Women were often expected to perform sexual favors for promotions or raises, or merely to keep the boss happy. In the home, sex was considered the wifely duty, as marital rape was not illegal, and birth control was nearly impossible to receive, especially without her husband's permission. Women who were bred to be wives were often not taught the intricacies of sex and intimacy, thus rendering a wife dependent on her husband's tutelage. Many men sought relationships outside of the marriage in order to have their more obscure desires fulfilled by more "knowledgeable" women.
A woman had no opportunity to decide that marriage and children were actual ambitions; conventional family life was already on the map the day she was born a girl. And to have a career and a family was simply out of the question. Any attempts to remedy an unhappy marriage or to avoid a fate they did not want was met with disdain by men and women alike. Divorcees were pariahs, and single women of a certain age were either ignored or looked upon as sad and unfortunate. The shame and taboo surrounding sex and talk about sex kept many victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse quiet. Thus, an untold number of predators went unseen and unpunished.
I agree that changes need to be made, in the direction of both women and men recognizing the value of committed relationships that entail both enjoyable and healthy sex as well as honesty, communication, and equality. In truth, and what Ms. Liebau fails to mention, is that good relationships are the responsibility of both partners. Any liability placed with men, according to her, is negated by women who don't value themselves and thereby "[breed] in men a lack of respect for women in general." There can't be much respect present to begin with, if sex is the primary focus of men, as the author claims, and as indicated by her research detailing the enormous number of times men claim to be thinking about sex daily.
Men are cited as being biologically different from women in ways that cause their uncontrollable sexual urges, just waiting to be satisfied by any willing (i.e., "easy") woman, and that such women are predators bred by the evils of contemporary feminism. The author takes for granted that women are intrinsically more emotional and more likely to seek love and affection, than men, who are inherently sexual in nature. The only scientific evidence I could find in the book for this assertion was that men have "ten to one hundred times more testosterone" than women. That's it? No brain scans, no longitudinal or cross-cultural studies? No accounting for the difference in socialization between girls and boys? Men may be just as emotional and attached as women, and just as intent on finding commitment and happiness- they may just be more apt to follow in the stream of machismo they have witnessed as boys and have grown to believe is expected and desirable. I would have liked to read a chapter or two on how the sexualized culture damages our boys as well, and not because girls have "forced" them to accept easy sex in lieu of committed relationships.
Women and girls objectify themselves today, as they have been (and still are) objectified by men, and it's still all our fault? Okay, so some feminists got it wrong when they insisted that we could liberate ourselves with free love and the result was free sex. But they meant well. They were angry and frustrated, as I have been, at the way women have been treated, and how many still prefer to be treated because of the false security it offers. Free love was meant to be a way to wake women from the slumber of unhappy relationships, personal and professional, and shake up society in a way to grab attention for the cause of equality. Some women may still insist that they are perfectly happy being single, or unmarried and involved, or any other number of situations that don't include marriage. I take their words for it. After all, who am I, or anyone else, to assume that I know better?
That said, I do agree that many women are mainly looking for happiness, love, affection, stability, romance, and commitment, or any one or a combination of these or others. I think that over time we have tried many methods of figuring out how to get those things, and many of us have failed. We're not sure what is expected of us, and socialization, instinct, and experience are all pulling us in different directions sometimes. What we're seeing in history and at present is women trying to find how we may fit in equally, with the only expectations set in place are the ones we also find acceptable.
Feminists have tried to use sex as a manipulator, much as the author suggests we all use virginity, in order to receive the genuine affection we crave. They're both mistaken. The focus of remedy for our oversexed culture cannot be focused simply on girls and women, and their sexual power (or lack thereof). It must also come down on the shoulders of our boys and men, and how we teach them to treat the opposite sex- neither as delicate flowers needing protection, nor as objects waiting to satisfy any sexual (or other) whim they may have, but as equals who deserve respect and consideration, incidentally the same things that they should also expect in return.
As part of a team effort, we need to place value on education and respecting others' intelligence and opinions. We need to find interest in things that will increase our inherent value, such as world events, humanitarianism, art, and spirituality, to name a few. We need to find within ourselves the love and affection that we seek from others, and the confidence to accept who we are, as we are. Only then may we find true attraction and the appeal of those who have similar values, rather than thinking we can experience the gift of love from merely physical expression. And only when we can display these healthfully as examples for our children will they follow suit.
Fascinating Topic, Not So Great a Book Jul 21, 2008
Prude makes a case that American culture has become sex-obsessed, and that our girls are becoming brainwashed to think it's OK that they are completely sexualized creatures. The author discusses the recent trends of teen sex parties, dirty emails, sexy barely-there outfits and the sexual messages in movies, television and music to make her points.
The problem is that the book makes the reader feel downright creepy, with the detailed descriptions of dirty teen books and orgy explosions in small towns. And when I wasn't feeling totally perverted just reading the author's words, I felt kind of defensive for taking part in what I'd considered rather innocent entertainment. Why yes, I realize that Sex and the City was very often smutty, but should I feel guilty that I, as an adult, viewed it? And Veronica Mars always seemed to me very independent and strong, but in Prude, she's made to be a slut. The author also seems to think that even 20 years ago, things weren't so bad. She fails to recall, I guess, Porky's movies and ZZ Top videos.
I found that I wanted to agree with her, because I'm a feminist who is outraged by the sexualizing of young girls (cherry print bikinis for the toddler set?). And I too wonder, as she addresses in the "Do-Me Feminist" chapter, if truly strong women will honestly find power on the stripper pole.
Overall, I think this book addresses such important issues that although it is flawed, teachers and parents of girls should consider reading it. After all, no one wants our daughters to be on Girls Gone Wild. But are we setting them up with some of our day-to-day choices?