Guest Post By Jennifer Mathieu
When I wrote The Truth About Alice, a story about a young girl in a small Texas town who is ostracized because of her alleged sexual behavior, it was my hope that the story would spark a conversation among readers about why society often judges women and girls more harshly when it comes to what they wear or how they act.
Because this topic matters to me, I wanted to share a few favorites that also tackle the topic. I hope you’ll check them out after you give The Truth About Alice a read!
1) The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
This is a powerful book about a group of young feminists in the Pacific Northwest who band together to fight a sexist culture that blames the victim of a sexual assault – she “wanted it.” If you liked my novel Moxie, this book will be right up your alley.
2) Friday Night Lights
I admit to loving most things Texas, and that includes this television series, which tackled silly notion that some girls are “good” or “bad” based on sexual choices. The characters of Tyra Collette and Lyla Garrity face the pressures and expectations the town of Dillon places on them, especially in the terrific episode so aptly titled, “It’s Different For Girls.”
3) Story of A Girl by Sarah Zarr
Recently made into a made for television movie, this groundbreaking novel follows a young girl named Deanna whose actions in the back seat of a car brand her a slut in her small coastal California town. This book is one of my favorites, especially for the way it explores Deanna’s conflicted experience with her father.
4) Easy A
In addition to being incredibly hilarious, this modern film retelling of the classic novel The Scarlet Letter starring Emma Stone wittily comments on teenage life and rumors, but it also stars a kick ass protagonist who decides she isn’t going to be slut shamed without fighting back.
5) Slut! by Leora Tanenbaum
This work of nonfiction is an academic’s exploration of what being called a slut does to a young woman. It’s super accessible and, at times, heartbreaking, as the author includes interviews with several young women who were deeply scarred by the experience of being labeled for their sexual choices or their perceived sexual choices.
This website, started by a woman named Emily Lindin who was slut-shamed as a teenager, offers resources and shared stories surrounding the topic of slut shaming. There’s even information on a short documentary film.
7) The Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart
In the first of this quartet of YA fiction, Ruby informs us that she’s “became a famous slut” and is now a social outcast who’s been dumped by all her friends and her boyfriend because of vicious rumors about what she may or may not have done with certain boys. But Ruby won’t be defeated, and it’s so rewarding to follow her through her high school years as she triumphs in life and love.