10. The definition of “slut” is just as loaded and confusing as the definition of “virgin.”
The word “slut” is more about shaming a woman and taking away her agency than actual sex. A woman doesn’t need to be having sex to be called a slut. If her sexuality or perceived sexuality deviates from the norm in any way, a woman can easily be labeled as one. Shechter explains in her film how confounding the term really is: “We’ve all been someone else’s idea of a slut. Even being abstinent doesn’t give you immunity.”
I remember reading a review of Something Like Normal in which I was called out for slut shaming. Except, no. Paige and Lacey are both girls who own their sexuality, but it’s Lacey who is considered a slut while Paige is not. And even Harper––like the passage above––wasn’t immune. She was labeled a slut even when she hadn’t done anything more than kiss Travis. Why? Because when he lied people believed him. I didn’t write Paige and Lacey to inflate Harper’s worth––she doesn’t need that because she’s excellent all by herself––I wrote them because this is the kind of shit girls go through all the time.
1. The audio version of SLN is available now on audible. I listened to the sample to see if the narrator sounds like the Travis in my head. He doesn’t, but he’s good. So I can’t wait to listen to the rest.
2. My friend Alli is an intern at The Gateway Center, a center for homeless veterans. She recently noticed that they had a pretty meager library and decided to do something about it. If you have books you’d like to donate (new or used) here’s the information. To sweeten the pot a little, I’m throwing in a free copy of SLN to the person who donates the most. But even without that incentive it’s a crazy excellent thing she’s doing and I hope you can help her.
3. Where the Stars Still Shine is a semi-finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Young Adult Fiction category. It’s up against some really wonderful books so no matter who wins it’s going to be great, but if you loved STARS and want to vote for it, I’d certainly not be unhappy about that.