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I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet Paperback – February 3, 2015
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The author of the groundbreaking work Slut! explores the phenomenon of slut-shaming in the age of sexting, tweeting, and “liking.” She shows that the sexual double standard is more dangerous than ever before and offers wisdom and strategies for alleviating its destructive effects on young women’s lives.
Young women are encouraged to express themselves sexually. Yet when they do, they are derided as “sluts.” Caught in a double bind of mixed sexual messages, young women are confused. To fulfill the contradictory roles of being sexy but not slutty, they create an “experienced” identity on social media-even if they are not sexually active—while ironically referring to themselves and their friends as “sluts.”
But this strategy can become a weapon used against young women in the hands of peers who circulate rumors and innuendo—elevating age-old slut-shaming to deadly levels, with suicide among bullied teenage girls becoming increasingly common. Now, Leora Tanenbaum revisits her influential work on sexual stereotyping to offer fresh insight into the digital and face-to-face worlds contemporary young women inhabit. She shares her new research, involving interviews with a wide range of teenage girls and young women from a variety of backgrounds as well as parents, educators, and academics. Tanenbaum analyzes the coping mechanisms young women currently use and points them in a new direction to eradicate slut-shaming for good.
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“This brilliant, thoughtful, and compelling investigation of young womanhood commands the reader’s attention from beginning to end.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Gives a generation of tweeting young women some thoughtful and well-researched advice about how to conduct their digital lives . . . Feminists young and old: this book is for you.” — Bookish
“What are girls to do when the same culture that encourages them to express their sexuality calls them sluts for doing just that? It’s a big, important question, and Tanenbaum is up to the task of exploring it.” — Book Riot
“A significant, spirited analysis sure to be embraced by feminists and deserving of wide attention.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Timely [and] provocative.” — Publishers Weekly
“Sure to be widely embraced by those interested in gender and sexual inequalities.” — Library Journal
“This thoroughly researched, galvanizing book will serve as a crucial tool for young women and their families. Tanenbaum navigates the perilous waters young women are swimming . . . and offers them a guide to make it safely to shore.” — Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry
“I recommend this book to anyone who cares about girls and young women and wants to understand the heartbreaking challenges they face as they grow into their sexuality.” — Aisha Tyler, Comedian, Actress, Author
“Profoundly eye-opening book about the dangerous world young women are forced to negotiate and the blind-eye all too often turned toward it by their peers, adults, and even the media. It should be required reading.” — Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls
“Absolutely crucial read . . .Tanenbaum’s empathetic look at how today’s expectations of performative identity can undermine real, healthy sexuality is heartbreaking. With any luck, it will also galvanize a much-needed shift, challenging each of us to consider how we participate in creating the world these girls navigate.” — Andi Zeisler, cofounder and editorial director, Bitch Media
“I Am Not a Slut offers both a wake-up call about the dangerous impact of the word ‘slut’ and a path forward to talk about sex and sexuality in an open, positive, and nonjudgmental way.” — Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
From the Back Cover
Young women today are encouraged to express themselves sexually. Yet when they do, they are derided as "sluts." Caught in a double bind of mixed sexual messages, they're confused. To fulfill the contradictory roles of being sexy but not slutty, they create an "experienced" identity on social media—even if they are not sexually active—while ironically referring to themselves and their friends as "sluts."
But this strategy can become a weapon used against young women in the hands of peers who circulate rumors and innuendo—elevating age-old slut-shaming to deadly levels, with suicide among bullied teenage girls becoming increasingly common. Now, Leora Tanenbaum—senior writer and editor for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, author of the groundbreaking work Slut!, and the writer who coined the term slut-bashing—revisits her influential work on sexual stereotyping to offer fresh insight into the digital and face-to-face worlds contemporary young women inhabit. She shares her new research, involving the experiences of a wide range of teenage girls and young women from a variety of backgrounds as well as parents, educators, and academics. Tanenbaum analyzes the coping mechanisms young women currently use and points them in a new direction to eradicate slut-shaming for good.
- Publisher : Harper Perennial (February 3, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006228259X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062282590
- Item Weight : 15.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.93 x 5.31 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #766,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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After years and years of seeing sick, nausea inducing, and painful attacks from clueless feminists (mostly immature college Girls and angry women with selfish agendas) I was genuinely taken aback at seeing this almost common sense feminism - a group which I felt was almost beyond redemption.
The two chapters - Good Slut and Bad slut 'Containtment Strategies' alone make this book excellent. What you get there is ... fairly obvious to any human being with a mind and a trace of honesty. But coming from a source of this kind, it is an admission.
Namely that girls dress in yoga pants for attention, and that it has nothing to do with being comfortable or dressing for yourself. Now if you say this in most places in North America, and especially if you happen to be male, you will get hysteria, yelling, paranoia and 24 hours later, a protest group organized by the women's studies mob, with support from know it all 'enlightened' men. They will also proclaim that person (usually male) to be part of the rape culture, a conservative who watches Fox News, and so on and on. We know this. Which makes it all the more strange that Leora's first book came out over ten years ago and the arm chair feminist extremists still ignore her book (which they probably read) and go on to attack those men (and sometimes women) for stating the obvious about women and dressing slutty for attention. And yes, it is slutty, not sexy. The teenage interviewees make that pretty clear that the emphasis is on showing off butt, breasts etc. And there is no disagreement in the book - the look is more slutty today.
Which brings me to the part where Leora suggests dialouge with the daughter saying that others will judge her for her clothing. The sample advice is - 'You look fantastic in that outfit! But unfortunately, many people are not as 'enlightened' as you are ... and may treat you like a sexual object ... They're wrong'.
Strange that the author would talk earlier about a girl objectifying herself, and then adopt this fence sitting language. If the clothing is obviously sexual, and geared towards getting attention then it would have been much better for the parent to talk her out of it. This focus on physical perfection, the competitiveness to be more sexy has already been identified as the cause of many problems - it's not too difficult to ask that girls and boys don't go around flaunting their butts or abs, whatever the case is. The only protection a society has is for the parents to take more of a stand, not cave in to the pressure of media. When each household fails to uphold some kind of standard, that is when society goes wrong. What else do you expect? To change the media content first? To hold the clothing stores responsible?
(We need some serious debate on why this attention getting is so important, but that is beyond the scope of a lib-feminist book though I am sure the Oprah-View crowd have tried).
Girls both psychologically torment other girls and beat them up violently for being sexual (which is a whole other thing from dressing slutty in my view. One is natural, the other is often cheap and not self-respecting ... and highly narcissistic).
Another telling part is the example where a girl under peer pressure makes up a story of having done it with a random guy. What is that, but locker room talk for girls?
My point being, that we should try and be honest about how men and women behave, and not resort to ridiculous lazy remarks about the patriarchy, which Leora thankfully warns against right in the introduction. I see that even though Tanenbaum is a famous feminist writer, her example is not followed by her readers and not surprisingly I have seen reviews of her book elsewhere, and they unfailingly throw out that stupid term - patriarchy. The book thankfully omits this awful and stupid term - which is a staple of the mainstream politics of the extreme liberals today. Their issue is not primarily the well being of People ... or girls. It is the milking of all our problems so that they can build their identity and careers of of it. THAT is an unavoidable truth, and the fact that feminists and liberals have not changed their thinking since Tanenbaum's book Slut! is proof of serious denial and lack of desire to actually seek a solution.
This is the most exasperating thing about life - even when a reasonably intelligent person brings her ideas out, the others act like nothing was ever said. I am reminded of Christians reading the bible, then somehow managing to interpret it almost the opposite way. I think it's significant that Tanenbaum is Jewish and might have had some normal parenting in her culture, as opposed to many of the white and other middle class liberal women who seem to have not an ounce of common sense and are forever being angsty and in your face. As a NON-conservative and non-American, the drift to extreme and illogical liberal politics has made society unbearable for many of us - including those of us who are actually left wing or liberal, as opposed to mainstream (There's a big difference).
Who the hell are any of us to judge how much sex is too much sex? And besides, slut-shaming does NOTHING to prevent teen pregnancy or risky sex; it just makes many girls and women hate themselves as shown by Tanenbaum's exhaustive research and sensitive interviews with several dozen girls and young women. Tanenbaum argues convincingly that feminist efforts to take back the word 'slut,' like the LGBT community has done with the word 'queer,' are doomed to failure because our chauvinistic culture of double standards will continue to interpret this word to justify the harassment and assault of women and girls, regardless of the good intentions of groups like Slut Walk. The Madonna/whore dichotomy remains so deeply embedded in Western culture that reappropriating the word 'slut' through activism remains an impossible if well-intentioned ideal.
To riff on Martin Luther King, I dream of the day when all God's children, women and men and intersex, gay and straight and bisexual and trans, are judged not by the amount of sex they have, but by the content of their character. For instance, cheating on one's spouse is wrong because it's dishonest, NOT because of the cheater's ostensibly excessive sex drive.