The myth of the SLUT

    very school had at least one. You know, the sluts, the tramps, the girls who would compliment the football team’s, um Š ball skills. There was always the myth about the girl who would shag anything with a pulse in a 30-foot radius ‹ or did she really?

    Is it any of our business whether she did or not? No. But, high school is a harsh place and to really make the most of it, there’s nothing better than a bit of juicy gossip, according to “”Fast Girls,”” by Emily White. White presents sociological insight into the myth of the slut ‹ who she was, who she wasn’t, what the rumors said she supposedly did and how those rumors got started. White explores the truth about every woman who was unfortunate enough to become high school’s favorite victim ‹ the slut.

    White’s narrative begins as a vague, fuzzy memory of a girl who was dubbed a slut in White’s high school. It then slowly shapes into as a full-scale analysis of who the slut actually is. Through interviews, conversations, correspondences and telephone calls with women of all ages across the country who identified themselves as high school sluts, White delves into American culture in its most deprecating, self-destructive and sinister moments. Closely examining the slut archetype, White links the creation of the ongoing myth to society’s views toward sex and the role of women.

    After the Columbine High School shooting, the media bombarded the public with the horrors of high school as full of severely divided cliques. While everyone took a few seconds to consider the consequences of the obsessive need to create cliques, there was little questioning of the slut as another one of society’s manifestations. Amidst the division and the hormonal minefield, it’s easy to single out the girl who developed earlier than her peers, who wears more makeup than others and who has more male friends than female friends.

    “”Fast Girls”” goes beyond an examining of the creation of the slut. It delves into the personal lives of high school “”sluts””, their experiences, if they have been affected them and, more importantly, how and why the myth of the slut has been roaming high school corridors and locker rooms for decades.

    Whether you were the slut or part of the vicious rumor mill, the examples presented in “”Fast Girls”” are all common in every high school and should be fairly recognizable.

    White’s debut book is a fascinating and a troubling read. One can’t help but feel a bit guilty and voyeuristic ‹ after all, it is reading material about certain girls’ most traumatic and private moments. While it may leave a few unanswered questions and is not up there with the likes of Simone de Beauvoir and bell hooks in terms of feminist theory, it is an insightful, thought-provoking read about a taboo subject.

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