Wendy Shalit has made a career as the sort of journalist whose trend stories fall apart on closer examination. But no matter, because by the time closer examination occurs, the stories have frequently started quite useful conversations. Her latest book, Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good, is a case in point. Unless one believes that the plural of anecdote is data, there is simply no evidence for a resurgence in modesty. But by the time a reader figures that out, he or she has skipped past the need for data, and leapt to the discussion of whether such a resurgence would be desireable. It is possible to regard Ms. Shalit simultaneously as a mediocre journalist and a useful contributor to contemporary conversation about morals.
The Washington Post’s review of her book, and, to a lesser extent, her career, is here.