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I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet

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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 advice to—and offers wisdom and strategies for alleviating its destructive effects on young women’s lives Young women are encouraged to express themselves se 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 advice to—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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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 advice to—and offers wisdom and strategies for alleviating its destructive effects on young women’s lives Young women are encouraged to express themselves se 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 advice to—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.

30 review for I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    This is a well-written, original, readable, smart, insightful, interesting, useful, deeply depressing book about how social media and cell phones have completely wrecked relations between young men and women. If you're a parent or have a guiding influence in a child's life, you really should read this book so you know what they're up against and how you can help them. I took away two main lessons from this book. The first is that we need to do a better job of raising boys to respect girls and wom This is a well-written, original, readable, smart, insightful, interesting, useful, deeply depressing book about how social media and cell phones have completely wrecked relations between young men and women. If you're a parent or have a guiding influence in a child's life, you really should read this book so you know what they're up against and how you can help them. I took away two main lessons from this book. The first is that we need to do a better job of raising boys to respect girls and women. I think a lot of us just assume this will happen on its own, but clearly, for a lot of boys, it does not. The forces of the mainstream media (not to mention pornography, which, oddly, is not discussed here) are apparently too strong for many boys to overcome without some kind of countervailing influence. The second lesson is that we need to do a better job of raising girls to stand up for themselves and for what they truly want. There are just way too many stories in here of girls and young women doing things they don't want to do (date someone, text a naked pic of themselves to someone, sleep with someone, drink too much at parties) because they want to be popular or get a particular guy to "like" them. This is not to say these girls are then responsible for the subsequent slut-shaming (or worse) that occurs--of course I don't believe that, and Tanenbaum doesn't either--but it IS to say that girls and young women really need to learn to exercise sexual agency, and that clearly is not going to happen on its own either. And for god's sake, both boys AND girls need to be taught to stand up for other kids, rather than look the other way (or join in) when someone is being slut-shamed or assaulted. Their parents need to remind them that high school and college are going to end and they'll never have to see any of those people again if they don't want to, but they're always going to have to live with themselves. I wish I could say I'm optimistic about this, but these sorts of books always leave me more pessimistic than ever. The scope of the problem is huge, and raising awareness is such an insanely daunting task. There are obviously no easy answers, but this book at least asks most of the right questions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet by Leora Tanenbaum is a highly recommended examination of the meaning of "slut" for young women today. Young women today face a contradictory landscape. While they can be encourage to explore their sexuality they can also be humiliated and disgraced based on the same actions or no actions at all but simply at the discretion of others. Currently the word “slut” has a dual meaning and can either be used as a positive, creating a sense of esp I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet by Leora Tanenbaum is a highly recommended examination of the meaning of "slut" for young women today. Young women today face a contradictory landscape. While they can be encourage to explore their sexuality they can also be humiliated and disgraced based on the same actions or no actions at all but simply at the discretion of others. Currently the word “slut” has a dual meaning and can either be used as a positive, creating a sense of esprit de corps between friends or it is a negative, harmful label that can cause pain well into adulthood. Tanenbaum explores the meaning of "slut" in adolescent and college-age women and why the usage of the word is increasing. Tanenbaum's book includes interviews with many young women. Their stories and experiences are the examples used to document her points. She also examines and distinguishes between the negative acts of slut-bashing and slut-shaming. Slut-bashing is verbal harassment where "a girl is intentionally targeted because she does not adhere to feminine norms. Slut-shaming, on the other hand, is a casual and often indirect form of judgment." Adding to this already volatile mix is the wide variety of social media outlets that can be used to harass and bully, often anonymously. Women face the ongoing problem that "female body parts are regarded as offensive, female sexual activity is mocked as a competitive sport for guys or preyed upon as an opportunity for coercion, and even young girls are reduced to sexual playthings." It's easy to understand why young women might internalize their own objectification. Tanenbaum makes an argument that, "'Slut' is best regarded as a toxic four-letter word that should be quarantined if not buried." She makes it clear that "we can sharpen awareness that 'slut' is a violent label; when females are called sluts, sexual assault and self-assault all too often lurk nearby. But first there is an important distinction to make here: it’s not female sexuality that is dangerous, but the sexual double standard." I think most women have seen many examples over their lifetime where men have become accustomed to treating women as sexual objects and worthless “sluts.” This is an empowering examination of what the problem is behind the increased use of the word "slut" and how we can address the societal issues while helping and encouraging young women today. Clearly, anyone who currently has any contact with teenage or college-age women knows that the all-too-common use of the word "slut" needs to be addressed and some encouragement to reassess the use of the word would be beneficial. Since these young women use social media constantly Tanenbaum points out that it could be used as a tool for positive change in contrast to the negative we so often hear about. Tanenbaum does an excellent job explaining the problem with many examples, and offers some suggested solutions. The book includes in the appendices Do's and Don'ts for Parents of Teenagers and College-Age Children; The Slut-Shaming Self Defense Toolkit; and a list of Resources Table of Contents: Introduction What’s the Same, What’s Different Are You a “Good Slut” or a “Bad Slut”? Slut--Bashing: Face--to--Face and in Cyberspace Reciprocal Slut--Shaming: Sexual Identity in an Online World “Good Slut” Containment Strategies “Bad Slut” Coping Mechanisms The Rape of a “Slut” Is Rape Can “Slut” Be Reclaimed? Creative Solutions to Eliminate “Slut” Appendix A: Do's and Don'ts for Parents of Teenagers and College-Age Children Appendix B: The Slut-Shaming Self Defense Toolkit Appendix C: Resources Acknowledgments, notes Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A really thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of the word "slut" and the meanings ascribed to it. I don't agree with everything Tanenbaum posits -- a few things I think she overthinks and over academicizes to the point where she herself shames girls for how they appear -- but for the most part, her arguments are solid and worthwhile. I found her discussion of how reclaiming the word "slut" is not a goal we should strive for at this moment particularly noteworthy and worthwhile. It was al A really thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of the word "slut" and the meanings ascribed to it. I don't agree with everything Tanenbaum posits -- a few things I think she overthinks and over academicizes to the point where she herself shames girls for how they appear -- but for the most part, her arguments are solid and worthwhile. I found her discussion of how reclaiming the word "slut" is not a goal we should strive for at this moment particularly noteworthy and worthwhile. It was also refreshing to read views and context from non-white women in the text too, especially in regards to the notion of reclaiming and "owning" the word "slut."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Let me start off this review by saying that I am 100% against calling somebody a slut in any form of bullying or shaming. I had a lot of frustration while reading this book. I found it very hard to relate to the stories of the girls and I found the focus on the word slut to be a little misguided. This book is mostly a bunch of stories about girls who have their feelings hurt because they broke social taboo, usually not bc they wanted to, but as the author claims, because they were pressured by b Let me start off this review by saying that I am 100% against calling somebody a slut in any form of bullying or shaming. I had a lot of frustration while reading this book. I found it very hard to relate to the stories of the girls and I found the focus on the word slut to be a little misguided. This book is mostly a bunch of stories about girls who have their feelings hurt because they broke social taboo, usually not bc they wanted to, but as the author claims, because they were pressured by boys, girls, social media...etc. It was really hard for me to relate. I have always defined myself and my identity as somebody who is strong, outspoken and who does not give in to outside pressure. I have convictions about my beliefs and about my way of life, regardless of what other people have to say. Most of the stories were about girls who gave into peer pressure or who were very insecure. And while I feel pity for them I don't really empathize. I feel like there are many stupid things that young girls and boys do in high school. To say that it has ruined your life or has drastically affected you sexually and emotionally, is a little dramatic. I feel that men and women need to be accountable for their own actions and shouldn't blame others because of their own bad decisions. Yes, there is a double standard. Yes, there is sexual inequality. Yes, as females we should not let men dictate why we wear certain clothes and why we decide to have sex with them, but many girls do. Many girls end up marrying dick bags who emotionally, psychologically and physically abuse them and they still stay with them. It's hard for me to empathize with these types of women. Have a backbone! Stand up for yourself! She refers to girls who are labeled sluts as girls who have asserted their "agency". And because they are so powerful they get the label of slut. There is no accountability for their actions or their ethics. I think she is overreaching. Teenage girls make dumb decisions. That has nothing to do with agency or control or good self-esteem. They are impulsive, just like their idiotic male counterparts. I think we need to empower young girls to know their own minds and their own bodies and to only put their desires to action when they feel certain that it is with someone they can trust. Even as a 28-year-old I only want to be close to somebody who I know will keep our interactions private. And that's because, my life is nobody's fucking business. That is what we should be teaching girls. Privacy rights. Not to cry because they got called a name. There is so much blame being pushed around. Girls are feeling bad because of the pictures in magazines. Girls are doing bad things because of their reality star role models. Girls are doing things that end up hurting themselves because they don't want to be a prude. Because they want the boy to like them. Because they want their girl friends to like them. Because they want everybody to like them. But they're not doing things because they want to do them and somehow that everybody else's fault. It's the fault of the media. The fault of Madonna and Beyoncé. So now every catty or petty thing that one girl does to another is suddenly blamed on social media? How about we say that most teenage boys and girls are a bunch of little shits in regards to each other. And hopefully they grow out of that. Yes we should correct their behavior and try to help them not be little brats, but having them not be accountable for their own actions isn't going to help anything. Tanembaum wants me to believe that when my best friend jokingly says "hey slut" or "you're such a whore" that she's doing it to make herself feel better. While I don't doubt there are girls like that out there, I don't believe this is universal and it shouldn't be declared as such. I think she is over-reaching with the word slut. I feel like instead of focusing on the label of the word slut. We should focus on raising strong and independent girls. Girls who are not afraid to say no. Girls who don't care how many likes they get on Facebook or Instagram. Girls who don't dress because it's going to suit to male gaze. Girls who stand up for one another and for themselves. We cannot blame society's double standard on the word slut. The word is just a product of the double standard. Instead of focusing on a word we should be trying to raise better boys and girls. There were a few statements I liked in the book. One was: It's true that one of feminism central goals is sexual empowerment, but this can only be achieved within a context of sexual equality. Within the culture of slut shaming and the sexual double standard, sexually quality does not exist and young females efforts to subvert the system are turned against them. The best line in the whole book wasn't even Tanenbaum's, but on of the girls she interviewed: Being raped is being abused by a man. Being called a slut is being abused by a woman. There are also many stories that I think negate responsibility of the girl involved. For example, An excerpt from the book after a story about a girl who started having sex at 13 and got preggo at 18 and had an abortion: Gabriella believed that she became pregnant because of having been labeled a slut. She says, "I wasn't aware of it then, but now I know that the label does matter. Young women need to be educated about the whole slut thing so that they won't think about themselves the way I did." My opinion: bullshit. She bcm pregnant bc she was selfish and ignorant. She was not properly educated about sexual health and safety and that's why she got pregnant. Not bc someone called her a slut. It's ancedotes like this that really makes me hate this book and the idea that Tanenbaum is perpetuating- the idea that young girls and women have no accountability for their actions. It's all the fault of a sexual double standard. I don't think the word is to blame. Bullying is to blame. Cliques are to blame. Peer pressure is to blame. Sexual inequality is to blame. The double standard is to blame. Bad parents are to blame. Weak-willed boys and girls are to blame. But it's not all because of the word slut. The word is just a tool used to beat down a girl's self-esteem and humiliate her. No, we absolutely should never call a girl who has been sexually active or assaulted a slut. We should teach our kids to stand up for others when they witness bullying. We should teach our kids not to use that word, slut. But we can't blame a person's choice to be promiscuous, alcoholic or to abuse drugs an a label. I believe firmly in choice and willpower. We need to teach girls to be strong. I will say this, parents and young teen boys and girls should read this book. And I mean young, like read it to your 11yo. I can see how this would be extremely helpful for young teens to read. It would share with them experiences and suffering from other teenage kids. It would hopefully make a boy think twice before pressure a girl into sex and then talking shit about her afterwards. And hopefully it will make a girl think twice about sending Nudie Judies to the cute boy in algebra.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The title intrigued me. The first bit was worryingly slow. Then the Foucauldian analysis of power began. I haven't read such a lucid, real-world application of Foucault's ideas since...well...since ever, I think. And from there Leora Tanenbaum held my attention. Her feminism isn't the happy-warrior feminism I normally prefer, but it doesn't matter. Her writing is good, the personal stories she uses illustrative, her theoretical explanations solid, and her cause righteous. This is an exposé of the The title intrigued me. The first bit was worryingly slow. Then the Foucauldian analysis of power began. I haven't read such a lucid, real-world application of Foucault's ideas since...well...since ever, I think. And from there Leora Tanenbaum held my attention. Her feminism isn't the happy-warrior feminism I normally prefer, but it doesn't matter. Her writing is good, the personal stories she uses illustrative, her theoretical explanations solid, and her cause righteous. This is an exposé of the still prevalent sexual double standard that stands at the root of so many problems. Particularly, in this book, the definition, use, and dangers of the word slut. I Am Not A Slut is an eye-opener into the distressingly fragile world of the generations behind us. Social and self-policing of reputations is omnipresent; reputations are threatened; and these threats quickly morph into real - sometimes deadly - consequences. Women live this world so, being enmeshed in it, should read the book to understand the whole structure. Men should read this book because they're likely totally oblivious to this world. And fathers, they should just read the book because.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    "I ask Samantha if the rape or the “slut” reputation in the wake of the rape is the cause of her distress. “It’s both. It’s the two events together. But they are also separate. Being raped is being abused by a man. Being called a slut is being abused by a woman.” Welcome to the 21th century, where women are called sluts by strangers on the internet. I Am Not a Slut is Tanenbaum's follow-up on her book Slut. She compares how slut-shaming and slut-bashing has changed over the years. This "I ask Samantha if the rape or the “slut” reputation in the wake of the rape is the cause of her distress. “It’s both. It’s the two events together. But they are also separate. Being raped is being abused by a man. Being called a slut is being abused by a woman.” Welcome to the 21th century, where women are called sluts by strangers on the internet. I Am Not a Slut is Tanenbaum's follow-up on her book Slut. She compares how slut-shaming and slut-bashing has changed over the years. This book is part anecdotes, part facts. To be honest, the best parts are the stories from women Tanenbaum interviewed for this book. They are honest, raw, and painful. They express how many women feel today, especially in the Western World. Most anything worth quoting are things these women said, and many of those quotes hit hard. They are without a doubt the best part of the book. Tanenbaum, while a competent writer, misses the mark with this book though. First and foremost, while the title suggest it will focus on how slut-shaming is carried out on the internet, there's little in the actual book regarding this topic. Her conclusion is simplified: that being a young woman is comparable to being in Orwell's 1984; with help of smartphones, women can be photographed at any moment, and they act after this fact. It's a simple explanation, and is drawn with little hard facts to back it up. In fact, the author relies too much on anecdotes for her conclusions. I don't doubt a single one of the interviewed women, but their stories are stories, and you can't base scientific conclusions on stories. To make conclusions, you need to be able to back up stories with studies, and in this regard the author failed to do so.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)

    While the book got a little repetitive, and almost preachy and self-promoting (a little bit), the points being made were excellent: 1) Stop calling girls/women sluts, even in jest. The word slut is not a good word and can never really be used as such until... 2) Eliminate the sexual double standard. If a guy can have sex with random girls and be celebrated for it then why can't girls do the same? 3) STOP FUCKING VICTIM BLAMING. Instead of saying girls shouldn't "drink too much", "wear revealing cl While the book got a little repetitive, and almost preachy and self-promoting (a little bit), the points being made were excellent: 1) Stop calling girls/women sluts, even in jest. The word slut is not a good word and can never really be used as such until... 2) Eliminate the sexual double standard. If a guy can have sex with random girls and be celebrated for it then why can't girls do the same? 3) STOP FUCKING VICTIM BLAMING. Instead of saying girls shouldn't "drink too much", "wear revealing clothing", etc. if they don't want to get raped, TEACH BOYS/MEN NOT TO FUCKING RAPE GIRLS/WOMEN. 4) WOMEN ARE SEXUAL CREATURES AND THIS IS A GOOD THING. Instead of shaming women for having sexual desire or only valuing them if they are virgins, how about you appreciate us for the majestic fucking beings that we are? 5) Ladies, we need to be kinder to each other. Like Tina Fey says in "Mean Girls", when girls call each other names it just makes it ok for guys to do the same. So let's stop competing with and shaming each other and celebrate each other instead. I would definitely suggest that everyone read this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dusty Summerford (Reviews by Reds)

    I received this book through Goodreads First reads giveaway.. This book got me to thinking a lot about what we put out on social media. She has some really good points in this book. I think all young women should read this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Tanenbaum poignantly argues for the complete elimination of the word slut by deftly documenting how this hurtful word has negatively affected young girls and women in our social media frenzied world. Tanenbaum argues that with the increasingly rapid use of social media along with access to smart phones and texting (especially among teens), the landscape for how girls and women are viewed by society and how they are perceived by their peers and “friends” has made the label of slut even more damag Tanenbaum poignantly argues for the complete elimination of the word slut by deftly documenting how this hurtful word has negatively affected young girls and women in our social media frenzied world. Tanenbaum argues that with the increasingly rapid use of social media along with access to smart phones and texting (especially among teens), the landscape for how girls and women are viewed by society and how they are perceived by their peers and “friends” has made the label of slut even more damaging and virulent. I Am Not a Slut is an essential contribution to the ever-growing dialogue of feminism, slut-shaming and rape culture.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    By the time that I got a quarter of the way through this, the thought crossed my mind that maybe Mean Girls more coherently addressed slut-shaming. She makes some good points about the sexual double standards that women face every day -- it's some really fucked up shit we deal with -- I just don't think she presented and defended her arguments particularly well. By the time that I got a quarter of the way through this, the thought crossed my mind that maybe Mean Girls more coherently addressed slut-shaming. She makes some good points about the sexual double standards that women face every day -- it's some really fucked up shit we deal with -- I just don't think she presented and defended her arguments particularly well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    My review will appear un the winter 2014 issue of Bitch magazine! I had some problems with the distance inherent to the data-gathering, ie that the author did little to intervene/encourage her subjects to think differently, instead taking a more documentarian approach. But I'm glad someone has taken slut-bashing and -shaming seriously,and considers it worth study. My review will appear un the winter 2014 issue of Bitch magazine! I had some problems with the distance inherent to the data-gathering, ie that the author did little to intervene/encourage her subjects to think differently, instead taking a more documentarian approach. But I'm glad someone has taken slut-bashing and -shaming seriously,and considers it worth study.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Really enjoyed this book! Informative and thought-provoking look at the use of the word slut and the many negative effects it can (and does) have.

  13. 5 out of 5

    bklyn mike art

    excellent analysis of the double standards and problematic implications of sexualized culture

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    I didn't read all of this but it's about the double standard girls and young women face regardless of how they do or do not express themselves sexually. It's a difficult world to grow up in and the social pressures can be overwhelming as well as the dishonest, uncaring, and selfish treatment girls and women face from so many boys and men. It's very important subject but the book itself seems to be a little repetitious. However the ending has important advice on how to bring about change and put I didn't read all of this but it's about the double standard girls and young women face regardless of how they do or do not express themselves sexually. It's a difficult world to grow up in and the social pressures can be overwhelming as well as the dishonest, uncaring, and selfish treatment girls and women face from so many boys and men. It's very important subject but the book itself seems to be a little repetitious. However the ending has important advice on how to bring about change and put a stop to the mistreatment and name-calling that degrades women and girls.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    This book has been slow-going for the last two weeks, and it took me a while to figure out why. I'm on a feminist non-fiction kick, why was I not loving this? Why did it seem like such a chore to get through? I finally figured it out today, and I had to put the book down, which is something I almost never do. Unlike a lot of the similar books I've read in the last few weeks, this is taken incredibly seriously, and a little humour would have made it a lot easier to swallow. Tannenbaum also reiter This book has been slow-going for the last two weeks, and it took me a while to figure out why. I'm on a feminist non-fiction kick, why was I not loving this? Why did it seem like such a chore to get through? I finally figured it out today, and I had to put the book down, which is something I almost never do. Unlike a lot of the similar books I've read in the last few weeks, this is taken incredibly seriously, and a little humour would have made it a lot easier to swallow. Tannenbaum also reiterates constantly, to the point that a lot of what she says is redundant. It reads like she's trying to hit the minimum word count for an essay: "The poison. The poison for Kuzco. Kuzco's poison. The poison specifically to kill Kuzco." More irritatingly, there has been a running undercurrent of "hurrr burrr kids these days" that has been slowly getting on my nerves. We get it, Tannenbaum: as a teenager in the 80's, you had to climb uphill both ways to get slut-shamed. Her stance on technology and social media is clearly that of an outsider - she approaches it like it's this brand new thing, but the target age of people she's trying to reach have never known anything else. But it's not really kids these days she seems to have a problem with, it's girls these days. Tannenbaum claims to respect modern teenage girls, and then at the same time, she blames them for their own compliance with a system in which they can't win. It's their fault for feeling validated by social media approval when its very existence is engineered to create validation, their fault for feeling comfortable in "revealing" clothes when they're constantly told that's what they have to wear, their fault for somehow not being able to get around a society that is geared against them at every turn. The tipping point for me was Tannenbaum's point about high school dress codes, which she figures girls object to because they stifle their ability to look hot: "Why can't she admit that [showing off her legs] was her intention? Why does she not concede that she wanted to appear sexy?" I agree with Tannenbaum's main message - that the word "slut" should be abolished completely - and for that reason, I can't quite bring myself to add it to my hated it shelf. But it's about the only thing I didn't hate.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Lewis

    I spotted this book in the library and was quite intrigued. When I began to read, I found a well-written and insightful look into why the tag of "slut" has become a catch-all insult, the fine line young girls are corralled into walking between being "good sluts" and "bad sluts" and how easy it is to fall onto the wrong side, and an interesting selection of interviews about how the girls who are branded as sluts are often not doing anything different than any other girls their age. Tanenbaum also I spotted this book in the library and was quite intrigued. When I began to read, I found a well-written and insightful look into why the tag of "slut" has become a catch-all insult, the fine line young girls are corralled into walking between being "good sluts" and "bad sluts" and how easy it is to fall onto the wrong side, and an interesting selection of interviews about how the girls who are branded as sluts are often not doing anything different than any other girls their age. Tanenbaum also provides a step by step deconstruction of the common justification of slut-shaming: that it prevents girls from acting promiscuously. She shows how being branded a slut can actually cause a girl to try and live up to the label, while having no impact on her peers. She talks about how the Internet changed the mechanics of slut-shaming, letting a single bad decision or vicious attack live on for years, never more than a click away. She also examines the movement to reclaim the word "slut" and gives her opinion on why she believes it cannot work. There was only one point where I felt uncomfortable, when Tanenbaum went through a number of interviews, trying to determine what, if anything, the girls in question had done to be declared sluts. Although I realize she was trying to show that they had not in fact done anything to deserve the label, it still struck me as falling into the traditional mindset of believing it is possible to avoid being tagged as a slut and thus the girls who are so tagged must deserve it. To me, the insult of "slut" is rather like calling someone a witch in the Middle Ages. Once the attack is out there, it somehow falls on the victim to prove that they are not, which is usually impossible. The book was well written and is guaranteed to make people think about this casual insult in a new light.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Not sure I agreed with everything in this book, but I think it's an indespensible resource, particularly for parents/relatives of young girls and women, but also for teenagers in general. Maybe if more people read this book we could truly eradicate slut shaming/blaming. I waited so long to do my full review that I can't remember everything. I'm not sure I'm sold on needing a distinction between "slut shaming" and "slut blaming". Knowing the author coined the latter phrase, it felt a little like a Not sure I agreed with everything in this book, but I think it's an indespensible resource, particularly for parents/relatives of young girls and women, but also for teenagers in general. Maybe if more people read this book we could truly eradicate slut shaming/blaming. I waited so long to do my full review that I can't remember everything. I'm not sure I'm sold on needing a distinction between "slut shaming" and "slut blaming". Knowing the author coined the latter phrase, it felt a little like an attempt to keep her phrase in use. Additionally, I'm still not sure if I agree that slut can't be reclaimed. She mostly makes an argument that the time isn't right for it, which I might agree with, but at times I don't. I'm not sure what determines when it's the right time to reclaim a word. I do see her point that the problem right now is the connotation of "slut" is still so negative that when women try to reclaim it, it is used as some kind of "evidence" against them if they end up being sexually assaulted or raped. But will that ever really change? And if so, how? Maybe trying to make more of an effort to reclaim the word is what will start the change? I don't have answers to these questions, but this is what makes me go back and forth on the issue. It's true that most of the content of this book is anecdotal, but in areas like that I think that can often be the strongest evidence. You'd be hard pressed not to find a woman in real life who had never experiences slut shaming, whether as a concerted effort against them in high school or as a dirty word thrown at them when they react to catcalling. So I think sharing and considering these stories both singularly and collectively is an important step toward hopefully eradicating slut shaming and rape culture.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book was so good, I almost couldn't put it down. The chapters are arranged so logically that even though I initially disagreed with the premise (that we should not attempt to reclaim the word "slut"), and held it for most of the book while becoming better able to empathize with the other side, by the final chapter, I was firmly convinced. My one digression, was that I felt her commentary on student dress codes might be a little outdated. She does emphasize that the policing of dress codes h This book was so good, I almost couldn't put it down. The chapters are arranged so logically that even though I initially disagreed with the premise (that we should not attempt to reclaim the word "slut"), and held it for most of the book while becoming better able to empathize with the other side, by the final chapter, I was firmly convinced. My one digression, was that I felt her commentary on student dress codes might be a little outdated. She does emphasize that the policing of dress codes has to be equal in order for them to be fair, but I think she greatly underestimates the amount to which this is abused. If girls were being pulled out of school for their underwear showing, the movement would not have gained so much momentum, but girls are being pulled out of classes and exams and missing out on their own education for minor infractions, showing shoulders and knees, that will "distract" the males while we're all subject to the boxers and butt cracks of young boys. All the same, I understand so much more about how girls are pressured to dress and perform those ways in the first place. Her insights into the power imbalance still present in hook up culture was also very eye-opening. I want to share this book with all the women that I know.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Garber

    A vitally important and disturbing book about the rise in shaming women in the digital media age. An updated version of author’s 1999 book Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, Tanenbaum points out that 'slut' language is only negative. It suggests to girls and women that their primary value is being sexually desirable, but paradoxically also decreases their worth. It leads girls and women into self-destructive behavior (such as eating problems and drug use). It compromises sexual heal A vitally important and disturbing book about the rise in shaming women in the digital media age. An updated version of author’s 1999 book Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, Tanenbaum points out that 'slut' language is only negative. It suggests to girls and women that their primary value is being sexually desirable, but paradoxically also decreases their worth. It leads girls and women into self-destructive behavior (such as eating problems and drug use). It compromises sexual health through inhibitions to use contraception or see doctors. She persuasively argues that slut-policing behavior online corresponds to Althusser’s concept of ideology – merely engaging in the behavior (like the person who answers a policeman’s call) is reinforcing the ideology itself. In commenting and responding, women are policing each other in the good slut/bad slut ideology. I read this book with my daughter in my mind and tears in my eyes, determined not to let anyone police women's behavior while ignoring damaging men's behavior. A must-read for anyone bringing up children in a digital age.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I found the book itself very interesting, fill of anecdotes along with statistics about the issues Tanenbaum was addressing. However the book is quite dense, so be prepared to put some effort in when reading this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saskia

    DNFed at page 153. So, to start of on something positive, this book did teach me some (in my opinion) valuable things. It pointed out that being sexy is a hard task that women are taught to do “effortlessly” and in consequence to that, make it seem like they actually are being sexy effortlessly when in reality, often there’s a lot of hard work behind it. It also shows that men and women are judged differently for their sexual behavior (shocker). And it evaluated why women Slut-shame. And that’s w DNFed at page 153. So, to start of on something positive, this book did teach me some (in my opinion) valuable things. It pointed out that being sexy is a hard task that women are taught to do “effortlessly” and in consequence to that, make it seem like they actually are being sexy effortlessly when in reality, often there’s a lot of hard work behind it. It also shows that men and women are judged differently for their sexual behavior (shocker). And it evaluated why women Slut-shame. And that’s where it begins. First of all, in my opinion there was way too much of a focus on women here. “Women bring each other down because they are jealous, because they are insecure, because the female victim is too confident/insecure”... there is a whole chapter about it and while that is interesting to see, why isn’t she barely talking about why men slut-shame? Why isn’t she putting that in relation to our patriarchal society? I at least didn’t find that nowhere in those first 150 pages. Right from the beginning I felt those “second wave feminism”-vibes, those “boomer”-vibes. She repeats an astonishing amount of time that and why women shouldn’t call themselves slut in a form of reclaiming that insult - and I didn’t even get to the chapter concerning this topic. I mean, I don’t like to be called a slut either, even if it was in a friendly or uplifting way, but in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with wanting to reclaim insults directed at a marginalized group. And most importantly, I don’t think that’s the main reason slut-shaming exists. That’s not primarily what we should talk about. So then I got to the chapter where she talks about women dressing “inappropriately” (hate that word in this context) for them to be “good sluts”. Of course all the women dress that way, all the women behave in a sexual way for the approve of men. I wished the author would have distinguished here, but I honestly believe she doesn’t see the need to distinguish. And when she even defended school dress codes, I was so done. So I don’t know if I completely misunderstood something here, but this, in my eyes, was really slut-shaming. She put the fault of women being slut-shamed entirely on them. Almost half the book through, and her main points are: don’t call yourselves sluts, don’t dress in a sexual out revealing way. I mean, what about the patriarchal system? What about men’s role in all of this? What I understand is that this is a form of victim blaming. Don’t want to be called a slut? Okay, so don’t call yourself that. Like, hello? There’s no empathy for the situation and history of the marginalized gender. I don’t think that women and girls dressing themselves in a sexual way is a problem here. The problem is society and their view of the female body. I know the author understood that. But what we see entirely differently is how to solve this. At least up until half of the book, the author wants the marginalized group to do so by limiting them in their way of dressing, talking and being. I don’t think that’s the solution.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Grills

    This book is a very thorough analysis of the word slut, including and not limited to reclamation of the word "slut," an exploration on the topic of what it means for young women, an exploration of what It means to be a slut, who is affected by the word, and whether or not the word is approved by society. The truth is, the word "slut" is one that is prominent in society and, as a slur, it operates in a different way than many epithets typically do. Some people even laugh at the prerogative; the w This book is a very thorough analysis of the word slut, including and not limited to reclamation of the word "slut," an exploration on the topic of what it means for young women, an exploration of what It means to be a slut, who is affected by the word, and whether or not the word is approved by society. The truth is, the word "slut" is one that is prominent in society and, as a slur, it operates in a different way than many epithets typically do. Some people even laugh at the prerogative; the word has very deep roots in society as it was first used to describe unkempt men and slowly progressed to be a gendered epithet that affects, mostly, young women. The book uses the stories of various young women and the author, Leora Tanenbaum, interviews them in ease. What I noticed about her role as an interviewer is that she doesn't really try to persuade the girls to feel any differently; instead, she simply asks them questions about the word and their life experiences related to it. Most importantly, the book uses relevant data that supports the author's thesis statement: reclamation of the word is a bad idea and we should, instead, encourage young women to not contribute to the sexist double standard by using the world. Instead, we should eradicate it completely and destroy it from our vernacular. As an intersectional feminist, this was a very crucial read for me, especially because the book goes into details about how race commonly plays into the word slut and how young white women have an easier time reclaiming the word (ala SlutWalk) than women of color. Tanenbaum's exploration of identity, outside of just woman, is remarkable; I'm still not one hundred percent sold on the idea that members of society can't reclaim the word, but her thesis, points, and data are introduced carefully to the reader. Everything inside of the book falls into place; the more you read, the more you learn about the word and its affects on society. This book is a MUST READ for any intersectional feminist looking to expand her or his views and/or a critical source for anyone interested in the topic. The book also includes a very good resource for parents of young women that seems helpful. "I Am Not a Slut" could also serve as an invaluable educational tool for its descriptions of interaction between the internet and slut-shaming.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    So, heres the deal. This was a great book... very good insight into the younger generation and the use of social media. Also very good analysis of the whole "taking a word back" methodology. it was interesting to see the social dynamic between being a prude or a slut with nothing in between. Words have power and the assumption of taking a word back doesn't change the negative connotation of that word or the implied meaning good bad or indifferent. A slut by any other name is still a slut... sadl So, heres the deal. This was a great book... very good insight into the younger generation and the use of social media. Also very good analysis of the whole "taking a word back" methodology. it was interesting to see the social dynamic between being a prude or a slut with nothing in between. Words have power and the assumption of taking a word back doesn't change the negative connotation of that word or the implied meaning good bad or indifferent. A slut by any other name is still a slut... sadly. What I really liked was the review of the social stigmatism that comes along with being a woman and how no matter what you do, you're never going to be right. What was more impressive was that its women who perpetrate this crime on each other. Men benefit from our ostracizing of each other and use that as a form of entitlement against us. Here's the only complaint. I felt like I'd already read it all by the time I was 44% into the book... it was the same thing over and over from different perspectives. I think it could have been shortened to be less onerous to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lady V.

    A substantial work on the matter with plenty of stats and personal anecdotes to back it up. A good analysis of the problem, and mostly reasonable conclusion. The faults however, are two fold. The first is that I both got the sense that the author herself was slut-shaming in some instances of her work, and the statement that women (and girls) have no other reason to 'dress slutty' than to gather male attention, especially in the face of accounts of women who desperately disagreed with such a noti A substantial work on the matter with plenty of stats and personal anecdotes to back it up. A good analysis of the problem, and mostly reasonable conclusion. The faults however, are two fold. The first is that I both got the sense that the author herself was slut-shaming in some instances of her work, and the statement that women (and girls) have no other reason to 'dress slutty' than to gather male attention, especially in the face of accounts of women who desperately disagreed with such a notion. Not listening to women is a particularly nasty way to approach a problem that is brought about specifically because people refuse to acknowledge us and listen. I found it very offensive, and in total her analysis seems incomplete, and not explicitly pro-women and feminist. Some very good critique and resources are to found in it, but some problems too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christina Hall

    I thought this book was really good. Reading it allowed me to look at slut-shaming in broad context and examine the common patterns of behavior that make up this phenomenon. Slut-shaming can ultimately lead to a victim-blaming, bullying and isolation. Although this book is aimed at examining slut-shaming among high school and college aged women, I've seen it happen amongst adult women and believe it operates in much the same way. I thought this book was really good. Reading it allowed me to look at slut-shaming in broad context and examine the common patterns of behavior that make up this phenomenon. Slut-shaming can ultimately lead to a victim-blaming, bullying and isolation. Although this book is aimed at examining slut-shaming among high school and college aged women, I've seen it happen amongst adult women and believe it operates in much the same way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    This is an important book to read. I highly encourage everyone to take a look at it. The book ties into all the current conversations around sexual assault, misogyny and rape culture.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle

    This is super easy to read and has a snappy pace!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deidre

    I feel like she says the same exact thing over and over for 300 pages. And not particularly well. Slut-shaming is a problem, but this book is not a particularly strong response to that problem.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leah (Books Speak Volumes)

    Being a teenage girl has never been more complicated than it is today. For generations, adolescent girls and young women have dealt with slut-shaming and sexual double standards in school, but today’s Internet culture has added an entirely new element for them to navigate. Never before has it been easier to record and distribute evidence of “slutty” behavior on cell phones or to bully classmates within the anonymity of social networks. In I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet, Being a teenage girl has never been more complicated than it is today. For generations, adolescent girls and young women have dealt with slut-shaming and sexual double standards in school, but today’s Internet culture has added an entirely new element for them to navigate. Never before has it been easier to record and distribute evidence of “slutty” behavior on cell phones or to bully classmates within the anonymity of social networks. In I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet, Leora Tanenbaum interviews adolescent and college-age girls as well as journalists, academics, and other professionals who work with them to provide fresh insight into the lives of young women today. I was absolutely fascinated by this book. It shines a light on how slut-shaming is used by both boys and girls to police the activity of their female peers, how sexual double standards create a toxic environment for young women, and whether the term “slut” can be reclaimed. But I also had some trouble with how universal Tanenbaum’s arguments seemed. When she says “almost all” women have been called a slut at some point, I wanted numbers. Reading this book painted a picture of high school and college very different from my own not-too-far-removed experience. Although it’s sad and awful that ANY girls have had the experiences these women did, I couldn’t help but wonder just HOW typical their stories were. However, this book isn’t about the girls who kept their noses down and didn’t talk to boys or go to parties. It’s about the girls who have been called sluts, regardless of their actual level of sexual experience or their agency in those experiences. (And those seem to be the only choices a girl has: to be ignored and seen as a prude, or to express her sexuality at the risk of being labeled a slut.) I Am Not a Slut is a fascinating, important book about how slut bashing (overt bullying), slut shaming (a more subtle form of policing women’s behavior) and the sexual double standard damage young women, especially in a culture in which images, videos, and taunts can be spread with such ease and impunity. I had some objections to how she portrays slut-shaming as something that happens to nearly every woman, and I wished Tanenbaum had written at more length about slut-shaming on the internet more broadly (rather than focusing only on how it affects young girls), but I thought it was a thought-provoking book that’s definitely worth a read. I would highly recommend this book to parents and educators. In addition to the great information in the body of the book, I Am Not a Slut contains appendices with “Dos and Don'ts for Parents of Teenagers and College-Age Children,” a “Slut-Shaming Defense Toolkit,” and resources for further reading. It’s flaws aside, this is an excellent book about the complex sexual pressures young girls and women face. Read the full review on Books Speak Volumes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie G

    Writing I haven't read the author's previous work, so I started this feeling like I was at a bit of a disadvantage. Fortunately, I don't think the first work is required reading for this one, although they'd probably read well together. I found the author's arguments to be well-founded and largely unbiased as far as politics are concerned. She makes a great case for refusing to "take back" the word "slut" and for how it can be particularly harmful for girls to slut shame each other in the age of Writing I haven't read the author's previous work, so I started this feeling like I was at a bit of a disadvantage. Fortunately, I don't think the first work is required reading for this one, although they'd probably read well together. I found the author's arguments to be well-founded and largely unbiased as far as politics are concerned. She makes a great case for refusing to "take back" the word "slut" and for how it can be particularly harmful for girls to slut shame each other in the age of the internet, where everything is permanent and may haunt the affected party for life. It's obviously very "of the moment" and is something that may need to be changed and amended again as trends and technology change, but I think has real value for the present. Entertainment Value I enjoyed the book and I think it contains a lot of great information, particularly in the quotes and stories from young women who are currently in high school and college and are dealing with the issues the internet has created in regards to slut shaming. I did think parts were a bit repetitive. There's certainly enough information on the topic for a full book, but I felt like the author focused on certain aspects repeatedly rather than presenting the full spectrum (I would have loved to have seen some discussion of women who are doxxed, trolled, harassed, and threatened online). Much talk was given over to youth culture and how women in college and girls in high school are slut shamed, but I think the same pressures also apply to adult women and would have been interested in more on that aspect. Overall This one is definitely worth your time. I read it over the course of a week or two and found that a chapter a night made for good pacing. It could also be read in one sitting as it avoids being overly academic in tone. The frequent quotes from girls who have experienced slut shaming were moving and kept my interest. Thank you to Harper Perennial for providing me with a copy to review.

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