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Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 Reprint edition (August 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060957409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060957407
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The statistics are daunting: "Two out of five girls nationwide have had sexual rumors spread about them," reports Leora Tanenbaum. "Three out of four girls have received sexual comments or looks, and one in five has had sexual messages written about her in public areas." The 50 women interviewed for this book differ greatly in ethnic background, age, and economic status, but they share one thing in common--each of them, along with Tanenbaum herself, was labeled a "slut" in junior high or high school. (And, as recent cases involving Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky demonstrate, a woman can face such taunts no matter what her age or professional level.) As such, they became victims of a double standard that winks at sexual promiscuity among teenage boys but insists that young women remain virginal and pure. Even worse, the slut bashing is perpetuated in nearly every case by female classmates. In addition to insisting that schools get serious about combating sexual harassment, Tanenbaum urges the development of sex education programs that acknowledge responsible alternatives to abstinence, programs that would recognize the sexual desires of young women (and men) without condemnation. Her social critique is solid, but it's the personal accounts of emotional abuse--and, thankfully, perseverance--that will thoroughly convince you that the current tolerance of slut bashing is simply unacceptable. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Absorbing first-person narratives from a wide range of women, including the author, alternate with a somewhat prosaic analysis of the ramifications of being labeled a slut in adolescence. Journalist Tanenbaums first book offers up striking images of the cruelty of teenagers, both male and, more significantly, female, toward the girls whom they have labeled ``sluts.'' The author indicts the school systems that ignore or even condone such behavior. Her allegations that humiliation of the perceived otherin these cases young women with bad reputationsis alive and well in the American school system may come as no surprise, but her depiction of its various manifestations, ranging from taunting in the cafeteria to rape in a stairwell, is shocking to anyone who thinks of school as a haven from violence. The strength of Tanenbaums book lies in the accounts of her interviewees, many of whom attribute their confidence today to what they suffered in their youth. As one woman recounts: ``Learning to be an outsider is important, because an awful lot of people in the world are outsiders. I learned to be alone. I learned to use my head in more complex ways than I would have been able to otherwise.'' The key point that the book illustrates is how little American society of the 20th century has changed when it comes to condemning women for attempting sexual parity with men. Though the definition of what constitutes sluttiness has shifted over the years, the similarities in the interviews of ``sluts'' of the 1950s and their contemporary counterparts are sobering and sad. Most often cogently written, the book bogs down toward the end when Tanenbaum abandons analysis for prescription, offering pablum like ``For real changes to occur, girls need to change the way they relate to one another.'' You havent come as far as you thought, baby. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book was a gift...it was really good!
BrownieBabe
Books like this are very positive toward female sexuality.
C. B.
I really enjoyed it, and think everyone else shout too.
"sapphirestorm"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Carey on May 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading Slut when a preview copy found its way into the office where I worked at the time. The personal stories were very touching and I feel that this is a topic - the labeling of women or girls who do not fit within traditional roles - definitely needs more exploration. But my main problem with the book was that the author, while admitting that the sample from which she worked was far from random, still extrapolates from it, making claims such as girls who were designated sluts seem to become more successful or driven or whatever. What about those she interviewed who didn't fit that mold? It left me wondering if she chose the stories that she did because they fit within her hypothesis. I was disappointed that, despite her own claim of subjectivity, she made conclusions that she extended to a larger group.
On the flip side, it's an interesting book to read, to learn of the personal experiences of girls who've been tormented by the label and how they have overcome it or moved on. If the author could have refrained from her generalizations, I think the stories would have been powerful enough to stand on their own.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Shannon B Davis VINE VOICE on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recommended this book to everyone I know, and I hope that I will be able to pass it onto my daughters. Or rather, I hope my daughters will not be in a society that encourages the sexual double standard and punishes young women for natural feelings.
The book is non-fiction, and the author interviewed many women and girls about their experiences. Some of the book is quite academic, quoting from various studies and going over the history of this kind of behaviour. Other parts are retellings of people's experiences, and analyses of those.
Reading this book brought back many memories and emotions. I realized that my experience as a teenager was not unique. I had already done my own thinking, but it was great to read that someone else had come to the same conclusions. That there still is a sexual double standard, despite the sexual revolution, and that women are punished by both men and women for having sexual urges.
One redeeming factor was that she definitely doesn't place all the blame for the harassment on teenage boys. She talks a lot about competitiveness between girls and how the girls are usually worse to each other. Kinda like the person who seems most homophobic is the gay one? Yeah, like that. And also about how often the adults don't report it, or stop it, or ignore complaints because they see it as correct behaviour that keeps girls in line even as it is damaging their self-esteem forever.
It's amazing, the more people I talk to about it, the more people bring up their own experiences. Everyone knows someone who experienced the phenomena, or they went through it themselves. Even so-called "good girls" will be able to relate to the book in that the ways in which they constrained themselves.
It's about time someone wrote a book about this.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book brought back some painful and unpretty memories. It felt good to see that I wasn't as alone as I thought. For guys, this book could help to bridge the gender gap in so many ways. I think that it could do so much helping and healing if every person had to read this book.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Social work professionals working with adolescents will most likely find themselves facilitating discussion, designing a program, teaching a class, or providing counseling around the issues of teen sexuality. Adolescent attitudes about sex, sexual practices and perceived sexual practices; peer conflict and conformity practices; and teen alienation of "outsiders" are topics which social workers must be knowledgeable of, and, more importantly, able to discuss with teens: freely, objectively, and without prejudice.
One's own prejudices are called into question immediately upon picking up Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, by Leora Tanenbaum (2000). The title, as "in your face" as
graffiti on a bathroom wall, is perfect: to be considered a "slut," with all its negative sexual connotations, generally has little to do with actual sexual practices, and everything to do with sexual stereotyping and gender roles. "Slut" is a term that has absolute power only for girls, never for boys
-- it's used not only to condemn and restrict the sexual girl, but to structure the social realm of girls' adolescence and create insider and outsider status. Additionally, "ho," "slut," "freak," "skeeze," and all the other terms used to put down girls by other females and teenage boys serve to reinforce the paradox of teenage sexuality: sex is everywhere, everyone is doing it, you should be doing it, did you
do it? Why did you do that!!?? Or: if all the girls around you are "nice girls", and only a couple of "sluts," then who are all these boys having sex with?
Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gin Temoshawsky on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was a gift to me for my unbridal shower. Yes, I celebrated my re-entry into single life with an unbridled un-bridal shower! I put it on my gift-list as a side thought and I am so glad it was selected! I had no idea how powerful it would be to me nor could I have imagined how healing reading it would be. Leora Tanenbaum explores the many reasons in depth that girls pick up this title and the effects it has on on the girl and her peers. Through all of the reasons, one thing remains constant, no woman deserves this title, not the virgins and not the ones who have played around. Not when men are praised for their sexual escapades. The author does not demand that everyone accept promiscuity in women if that is against their personal ethics, rather she insists that the ethics be applies equally to men as they are to women.
A fascinating point in this book is that women's sexuality is a common target when she does not fit in to social "norms" for whatever reason, reguardless of her sexual experiences or lack of. Another issue brought to light is that once labeled a slut, a woman suddenly find herself being treated as though she is subhuman and is often subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual assault while no one will attempt to stop it or punish the offenders. If you have ever been called a slut, known someone who has, lived in fear of being called a slut, or called someone else a slut, read this book! I would bet money if you bought this for the women you love, (once they get over the shock LOL) they will love you for it.
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