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2 Burnside Feminist Studies- Sex and Power

Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation

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Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation Cover

ISBN13: 9780060957407
ISBN10: 0060957409
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An Interview with Leora Tanenbaum

What prompted you to write this book? I'm in a position to know: I myself was known as a slut when I was a freshman in high school. The reputation developed after I fooled around with a guy whom a popular friend of mine had her eye on. Big mistake. She was so angry with me that she spread the word around school that I was a slut. For a long time guys and girls both called me names to my face and whispered about me behind my back. Everyone gossiped about me. I discuss my personal experience in ""Slut!" — and writing about it was cathartic.

Was it hard to find girls and women willing to share their stories about being labeled "sluts?"

It was a difficult process because most girls in the thick of a bad rep feel ashamed, and therefore tend to be unwilling or unable to talk about what is happening to them. Most adult women who had been labeled "sluts" in adolescence also tend to feel embarrassed and guilty, as if they had brought the label onto themselves, so they too usually prefer to keep silent. (If they have a boyfriend or husband, they may not want him to know about their past.) After four years of looking for and interviewing girls and women, I ended up with 50, ages 14 through66, who had been targeted as "sluts" in junior high or high school and were willing to talk with me about their experiences. I spoke with black, Asian, white, and Latina girls and women from 12 different states around the country. They grew up with different economic circumstances and different values in cities, suburbs, and rural towns. In the Introduction I explain how I met them.

Why did you choose such an ugly, sexist word for the title of the book?

"Slut" is, of course, a disturbing insult; but it is part of the vocabulary of adolescents (and adults) and a key word in the vocabulary of the sexual double-standard. The severity of the word may offend some people, but refraining from using it in serious discussion serves only to reinforce its power. After all, "nigger" is a profoundly disturbing word, but can we have an honest conversation about racism without using it? I don't think so. Likewise, we must use the word "slut" and openly discuss its ramifications in order to eliminate the sexual double-standard.

Did anything in your research surprise you? How do most people react to this book?

I've received a wide range of responses, from enormously supportive to very disdainful. Those who are supportive are generally girls and women who have had a bad reputationor who have witnessed "slut-bashing in action"; males and females with a feminist consciousness; parents concerned about their daughters; and educators, social workers, and health workers. Those who are disdainful are men and women who believe that girls who are called "sluts" are either innocent (i.e., they don't deserve the label because they aren't sexually active) or guilty (i.e., they deserve to be maligned because they are sexually promiscuous), and that I do a disservice by lumping the two categories together.

How did writing this book affect you?

"Slut! was both hard and easy to write. Hard because it's so personal, at times embarrassing, and because I revisited a painful chapter in my life. Easy because once I'd interviewed the girls and women whose stories form the core of the book, the words tumbled out of me. I felt so passionate about raising awareness of slut-bashing that I didn't suffer from "writer's block" or even procrastination. I turned on my computer every morning feeling motivated to write, and write, and write.

Having said that, the interviewing process was certainly educational. Individually, each girl and woman taught me about coping in the face of social cruelty. Collectively, they showed me that no matter how different two females are, they share something in common. They both have experienced the sexual double-standard in one form or another. After writing this book, I feel a connection with all females, regardless of differences in our backgrounds or values.

Synopsis:

Girls may be called "sluts" for any number of reasons, including being outsiders, early developers, victims of rape, targets of others' revenge. Often the labels has nothing to do with sex — the girls simply do not fit in.  An important account of the lives of these young women, Slut! weaves together powerful oral histories of girls and women who finally overcame their sexual labels with a cogent analysis of the underlying problem of sexual stereotyping.

Author Leora Tanenbaum herself was labeled a slut in high school.  The confessional article she wrote for Seventeen about the experience caused a sensation and led her to write this book.

Synopsis:

Girls may be called "sluts" for any number of reasons, including being outsiders, early developers, victims of rape, targets of others' revenge. Often the labels has nothing to do with sex — the girls simply do not fit in.  An important account of the lives of these young women, Slut! weaves together powerful oral histories of girls and women who finally overcame their sexual labels with a cogent analysis of the underlying problem of sexual stereotyping.

Author Leora Tanenbaum herself was labeled a slut in high school.  The confessional article she wrote for Seventeen about the experience caused a sensation and led her to write this book.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-267) and index.

About the Author

Leora Tanenbaum is the author of Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation and a rising young talent of journalism today. She has written for Newsday, Seventeen, Ms., and The Nation, among others, and appears regularly on a variety of national television programs. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Christin, August 19, 2012 (view all comments by Christin)
This was an excellent book. It very clearly lays out the double standard by which girls' sexuality is judged so much more harshly than boys'. More than that, it shows that the "slut" label isn't even dependent on a girl's actual sexual behavior, as it's really more of a weapon used against any girl who doesn't fit into some standard of femininity or other expected behavior. The author does a good job of showing how damaging this kind of treatment is to girls and how it can affect them negatively for the rest of their lives. She also shows how slut bashing can even be harmful to those girls who are lucky enough to escape being labled "sluts" themselves, as well as boys. She also lays out some good suggestions for combating this kind of harrassment of girls.

I especially appreciated the way the author incorporated her interviews of girls and women who'd been labeled "sluts" into the book. She used anecdotes or quotes from them to illustrate points she was making and then would include long narratives told by the girls and women themselves. This way, they got to express their experiences in their own words and express their own feelings and interpretations for themselves without any framework being imposed on them by the author. It gives "sluts" their own voice, which is important since so much of this book emphasized how slut bashing serves to silence girls in all manner of ways.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060957407
Subtitle:
Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation
Author:
Tanenbaum, Leora
Author:
by Leora Tanenbaum
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Location:
New York
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Children's Studies
Subject:
Girls
Subject:
Sex discrimination against women
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Sex in popular culture.
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Sex in popular culture -- United States.
Subject:
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Perennial ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
8
Publication Date:
20000822
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.12x5.36x.74 in. .51 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Sex and Power
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family

Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation Used Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060957407 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Girls may be called "sluts" for any number of reasons, including being outsiders, early developers, victims of rape, targets of others' revenge. Often the labels has nothing to do with sex — the girls simply do not fit in.  An important account of the lives of these young women, Slut! weaves together powerful oral histories of girls and women who finally overcame their sexual labels with a cogent analysis of the underlying problem of sexual stereotyping.

Author Leora Tanenbaum herself was labeled a slut in high school.  The confessional article she wrote for Seventeen about the experience caused a sensation and led her to write this book.

"Synopsis" by , Girls may be called "sluts" for any number of reasons, including being outsiders, early developers, victims of rape, targets of others' revenge. Often the labels has nothing to do with sex — the girls simply do not fit in.  An important account of the lives of these young women, Slut! weaves together powerful oral histories of girls and women who finally overcame their sexual labels with a cogent analysis of the underlying problem of sexual stereotyping.

Author Leora Tanenbaum herself was labeled a slut in high school.  The confessional article she wrote for Seventeen about the experience caused a sensation and led her to write this book.

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