I AM NOT A SLUT by Leora Tanenbaum

I AM NOT A SLUT

Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An enthusiastic update on the state of female sexual liberation in contemporary society.

Fifteen years after her well-received book on sexual stereotyping, Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation (1999), grass-roots feminist Tanenbaum (Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality, 2008, etc.) still bristles at the “contradictory landscape in which females are applauded for sexual audacity when they’re not being humiliated and disgraced.” As the Internet’s omnipresence continues to realign attitudes regarding what constitutes appropriate behavioral standards, the author revisits former arguments on issues of female empowerment and verbal sexual harassment, refreshing her research with new interviews with girls on the frontlines of name-calling and bullying. She updates readers on what has changed on the name-calling landscape, noting that the term “slut” has “metastasized” outward throughout our culture, with girls often reclaiming the term to defuse it in mutual conversation. Tanenbaum makes potent use of the anecdotal material she’s collected from a wide variety of young women, mostly students, which makes the text useful for concerned educators. Their experiences illustrate the viciousness of social mudslinging, which takes the form of online and direct-contact verbal bullying (“slut-bashing”) and diffused, casual judgmentalism (“slut-shaming”). The “razor-thin” contradictory line between “sexy” and “slutty” shows up in the most provocative chapter, which depicts girls who ineffectively attempt to be sartorially sultry while avoiding male sexualization or worse, rape. In the final chapters, Tanenbaum arms parents and budding professional women with helpful, if somewhat canned, advice addressing modern society’s “sexual double standard” and how to avoid becoming a victim of harassment. In a reliably approachable tone, the author seeks to empower and not chastise, optimistically promoting the incremental elimination of societal slut-shaming with education and the self-actualization of young women.

A significant, spirited analysis sure to be embraced by feminists and deserving of wide attention.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-0062282590
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2014




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