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Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation - Leora Tanenbaum

This was a truly amazing book! Janenbaum conducted a sort of unofficial qualitative study comprised of interviews of fifty girls and women from various age groups. The stories these interviewees tell were emotionally difficult to read at times, but all of them carried an important message. Janenbaum did a superb job of analyzing the girls' and women's experiences in an easy-to-understand fashion. She also incorporated popular news stories dealing with the subject as well as her own personal experiences. This book was very eye-opening to some of the intense consequences of "slut-bashing". I think this is an important book to read for all people as it was just as informative for those of us who have experienced being called a slut and those of us who have not.

I also liked that Janenbaum did not completely ignore boys and men. While the focus was on girls slut-bashing other girls, Janenbaum does not exclude the fact that boys often have to endure being called "fags" if they don't fit in with their peers on some level. I think one of my favorite things about this book is that it is broken down into chapters dealing with various reasons a girl may be called a slut. Whether due to actually being sexual, being raped, or being an outsider, all of the reasons were equally important. Having endured some similar experiences in high school, it was relieving to realize that it was not my fault and the way people treated me had nothing to do with my actual actions. This message is crucial to all girls and women in a way that is expressed in the movie, Mean Girls.

The book is more relationship-oriented, which I feel reflects the author's own bias, and I wish she had been more open to various forms of sexual expression, but overall I do not feel that it is a big enough part of the text to detract from the rest of the book. Overall, this was a wonderful book and I think everyone should read it.