i am not a slut

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

I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet by Leora TanenbaumI Am Not a Slut by Lena Tanenbaum
Published by HarperCollins on February 3rd 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
Buy from IndieBound

 

The term itself hasn’t changed since Leora Tanenbaum wrote her 2000 book Slut!, but the environment surrounding teenagers and young women certainly has. In her new book I Am Not a Slut, Tanenbaum jumps back into similar territory, but this time examines how technology has impacted the sexual double standard set for young men and women and the dangerous use of slut as both a slur and attempted term of endearment. Through interviews with teenagers from a variety of backgrounds, Tanenbaum paints a clear picture of the delicate, and often stressful, balance of navigating sexual identity.

“Unlike their male peers, girls have to perform an exquisitely complicated and contradictory sexual role if they want to be regarded as ‘relevant’. Up to a point, they must be a little ‘slutty’, however they define the term. But they can’t be too much so. Girls and young women report that they constantly must prove that they aren’t too sexual, too promiscuous, too far off the grid of feminine normalcy, too slutty.”

While I appreciated Tanenbaum’s deep dig into slut-shaming, I didn’t see the shift toward “the age of the internet” I was hoping for. I Am Not a Slut does look at the way slut-shaming has changed with the rise of texting, Facebook and social media, but much of it seems very general and takes up a rather small portion of the text. I certainly understand the desire to keep a book about technology broad in hopes of keeping it relevant, but can’t help feeling like there was a missed opportunity to explore some of the more frightening instances of misogyny and the culture of slut-shaming that seems to be ingrained in the internet itself.

Though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting to read, I wish I could put a copy of I Am Not a Slut in the hands of every parent. Much of the behavior will be familiar, but the way it is framed and the suggestions Tanenbaum offers are truly priceless in helping young men and women stop the continuing cycle of slut bashing and shaming.

  • laura @ canido52

    HI… I haven’t read “Slut” either but it kind of sounds like something I would enjoy. What is the first book about? Should I read it first? Thanks

    • This is basically an update of information in Slut, so while you could definitely read both, Tanenbaum explains much of what she addressed in the other book and takes it a bit further here.

  • Kerry M

    Yes! I loved some parts of this and had issues with other parts. I completely agree about putting it in the hands of parents, though.

    • I think maybe I was just expecting something different (and hope someone writes that book), but it definitely still has a great purpose.

  • As a parent, I just might have to read this one. I’m fascinated (and terrified) by the way social media influences us these days, but especially for my kids.

    • I totally recommend it. There are several parts that are pretty eye-opening and there’s a great reference section at the back.

  • Sarah Says Read

    That’s disappointing about the lack of time spent on how technology is affecting things, but since I haven’t read her first book, I’m still pretty excited to read this. I want to give it to my boss… she’ll tell stories about telling her daughter to go take off some of her make-up b/c she looks like a hooker, and I’ve told her how damaging stuff like that was to me and other women I know growing up, but you know… in a way that wouldn’t get her mad at me. I’m so glad I’m not a parent.

    • Phew, yes…the boss totally needs it! And I definitely echo not being a parent, even teaching high school as every new social media site popped up (Instagram!) was insane.

  • Ah, too bad! I’m sorry to hear that technology wasn’t more of a focus. I’ll read this anyway because I think slutshaming is a topic that deserves discussion, but books about how technology are changing our lives are a particular interest of mine.