This week I decided to blog a book review on this book that tied in to this week’s lessons, UnSlut: A Diary and Memoir by Emily Lindin. Lindin’s book is a compilation of her diary entries when she was in middle school, beginning in 6th grade in 1997 and ending with her experiences from 8th grade in 2000. She published this diary along with annotations from her present day self to add commentary to each diary entry. Her book describes the difficulties of being a young, attractive female in middle school with all the pressures of modern society’s young boys. Lindin, through the publication of her younger version’s diary, has shown young girls, and any woman willing to read it, that the way that we allow ourselves to be treated starts earlier than we believe, yet it will affect us for the rest of our lives.By choosing to publish her middle school diary, people, especially women, are able to read exactly what she specifically went through in middle school, learn from it, and hopefully be motivated to try and change the way society treats young girls in the future. Lindin published her middle school diary, UnSlut: A Diary and Memoir, through Zest Books in 2015. This book, all 272 pages of it, can be purchased on Amazon, or any other bookstore, for approximately $14.99.
In this book, Lindin published her diary from that she wrote her most intimate thoughts from the entirety of her middle school experience. She wrote intermittently almost every day, describing her most memorable daily events and activities. Her middle school experience consisted of school dances, middle school parties, phone calls, AOL Instant Messaging, passing notes at school, and her intimate thoughts and realities on boys and her fellow classmates. Her opinions on her female classmates changed as regularly as her thoughts on who she was “crushin’ on” in regards to her male classmates. Because of the pressures of her classmates on sexual activities as well as who to date, she was labelled a “slut” early in her middle school experience. She ended up being pressured to do sexual acts with a boy in her grade which she was not pleased about so he and his friend spread rumors about her around the school, where she was labelled a “slut” in the eyes of all her peers. Her experiences changed drastically at that point because of those rumors; some of them began to bully her or “ditch her” throughout different stages. She spent her rest of her time there trying to separate herself from the label she was given, blaming herself, accepting it as a course of life, when it wasn’t her fault at all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it was quite eye-opening. Reading Lindin’s diary made me realize that some of society’s sexual expectations have been around since before the 21st century. Some of her experiences mirrored my own later in life to a smaller extent, and I am sure that other young girls experienced similar experiences. Her book opened up my eyes, and I hope countless others, to the experiences that have probably happened at most middle schools, as well as high schools. Lindin added annotations to her diary entries which made it more relatable and entertaining with the added insight that her younger self, as well as ours, probably didn’t understand.
I believe that this book ties in well with this week’s theme of “sexuality” fairly well because of all the sexual issues Lindin faced in middle school with her classmates. She struggled with her decision of whether or not she was comfortable with sexual acts, as well as what others may think of her, especially at her age. Lindin’s fellow classmates bullied her into such sexual acts, as well as for falling victim to said bullying and actually performing them. They made her believe that being a “prude” was just as bad. At such a young age, she was being told to do so many conflicting things by kids she thought of as her friends, such as “be sexual,” “date so-and-so,” “kiss him,” etc. yet also making her feel bad whenever she did anything of the sort. Because of this, Lindin was able to create The UnSlut Project in 2013 as a pursuit to end slut shaming by supporting women and girls around the world in similar situations and promoting sexual education at all ages.
I think that this book should be part of a mandatory reading for all students entering middle school, with similar alternatives for those entering high school, through the country. I believe that this book, as well as others which portray a similar message, could be a stepping stone in having a more open conversation with children about sexual education and how bullying others, especially their peers, into acting on any of these urges, or bullying those with “prude” like tendencies, is unacceptable at any age. This book was so eye-opening and relevant to my own experiences throughout life that I believe it can help our society end the “slut shaming” mindset and to empower strong, intelligent youths in the future.
Lindin, Emily. “The UnSlut Project.” The UnSlut Project. N.p., 2013. Web. 16 June 2016.
Lindin, Emily, and Amanda Hess. UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir. San Fransisco, CA: Zest, 2015. Print.