The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 March 2008

I am not a prude

Or maybe I am, at least in some sense. I do wonder, though, exactly when "prude" became a term of opprobrium:

My last post on this blog discussed the on-line news and culture magazine, slate.com, and one piece published there where the writer declares that she is not a prude after admitting to being disturbed by an overly sexualized movie advertisement.

I could not help but post another "I am not a prude" citing on slate.com. In a recent piece published about the governor of New York being caught in a prostitution ring, the writer discusses the history of prostitution and the law. After listing the arguments that support the illegality of prostitution, she writes, "You don't have to be a moralist or a prude to buy the argument for banning prostitution."

Which syntax, at least to me anyway, suggests that "moralist" and "prude" are discrete, if not necessarily discreet, characterizations.

My trusty Webster's New Collegiate (8th edition) defines "prude" as "a person who is excessively or priggishly attentive to propriety or decorum," which doesn't seem too obsolete a definition, and traces it to the French prude-femme, "good woman." Hmmm....

Is it a coincidence that both [Slate] writers are women? Are women more afraid of being viewed as prudes than men?

That I couldn't tell you.

Posted at 2:05 PM to Almost Yogurt