A RETURN TO MODESTY: Discovering the Lost Virtue
It's easier to propose this book as a married woman and as a devout Catholic than if I'd suggested it ten years ago (unlikely as that would be since it was published in 1999), but I hope you don't discount it for that reason. This book is an insightful look at society today and how its standards for sex education and sex itself damage the very souls of women and girls. Essentially, she says that men and women are different, biologically and psychologically, in the way we view sex and its meanings. Modesty, particularly in women, is the natural, innate female response to that difference, and our culture has been battling it (partly unsuccessfully) since the 1960s.
You can read some excellent reviews of the book by clicking on the link above or by going to Eighth Day Books (where Kansas Dad first learned of it).
Instead, I'll quote a few sentences from the book I found memorable.
Women had a special vulnerability in the past, we are told, only because there was a risk of pregnancy. Now that we have the Pill, all vulnerability is abolished. But we seem to be learning that there is more to sexual vulnerability that the risk of pregnancy. (page 91)
Modesty is a reflex, arising naturally to help a woman protect her hopes and guide their fulfillment--specifically, this hope for one man. (page 94)
At least when there is a risk of pregnancy, there is a physical corollary to the emotional risk--so you are careful. And because the women had to be careful, the men were careful too. Our bodies naturally protected our hearts....I'm talking about the young woman who hopes for marriage and is essentially waiting for "the right guy"; I think for her the Pill is seductive and, I would go as far as to say, dangerous, holding out the promise of sex without consequences, and without any "irregularities." (pages 207-208)
Now, I'm not sure I agree with all of her assertions. It seems to me that there are other causes to the struggles of young women (anorexia, cutting, rape, stalking, etc.) than just a lack of modesty. I do think, however, she makes a strong case for a better world for our daughters, and ourselves, with a return to modesty. There's also a good chance Kansas Dad and I will decide to pull our kids out of sex education when the time comes (even if they are in Catholic schools). [A book read long before the thought of homeschooling surfaced.]
And don't forget to read the appendix. Trust me; some real gems only appear there.