As part of the course we are asked to choose between a list of books to do a report on. I made my decision to read UnSlut: a diary and memoir written by Emily Lindin. The book is a copy of Emily’s diary with comments about her struggling adolescent years. UnSlut consists of roughly 260 pages of journal entries. As years passed Emily made her diary into a book with commentary added as she reflects over her time in middle school in her now adult years. The book was published in San Francisco in 2015 by Zest Books. It is available to purchase on Amazon for $7.77. The purpose of publishing the diary was to shed light on the problems regarding sexual harassment and how it starts at a young age and how it can affect one’s development and self-perception. Emily’s story seems all too real for many individuals can relate and so she wanted to share her own experience as a learning tool in order to change the way we view and understand slut-shamming and why we must stop it. Emily Lindin continues to work as an advocate against sexual harassment and bullying with suicide prevention (“UnSlut”, 2015). I primarily choose to read this book because I knew from reading the synopsis that I could relate to Emily and her experiences as a middle school girl and I too would like to see society change and spread awareness about how detrimental slut shamming can be.
UnSlut is a word-for-word printed copy of the journal entries Emily wrote starting as a 6th grader and continuing through her middle school years. In her entries she shares detailed insight on her day to day life and keeps an updated report on relationships with friends and her boys she was interested in at the time. The main point of the book is to show what a common case of slut-shamming looks like. Emily shares how it all started by experimenting with boys and then being labeled as the school slut. Throughout the book there is evidence of Emily struggling emotionally and physically in response to the sexual harassment and bullying. There are various times where self-harm and suicidal thoughts took place, as well as a great amount of self-hatred thoughts.
The book was well written, especially considering it was written when Emily was in her middle school years. I found the commentary sometimes helpful and other times unnecessary but it was nice to hear some type of reflection she had over her past. When having contact with some of the other individuals in the diary after publishing the book there were some who did not remember the events that took place and to what extent the bullying had occurred. The book does a really good job of displaying how slut shamming takes place and how the small incidents build up and create a snowball effect. I think in many cases males do not realize how exactly slut shamming takes place and how their comments can constitute as sexual harassment. The book does share only Emily’s point of view on her middle school experience yet it you see the slut shamming coming from both direction as a victim and a bully. Though Emily suffered from a tremendous amount of bullying she also shares circumstances in her diary of times where she took part in the slut-shamming of other peers. This shows how emotionally unstable a young teenager really is, no matter what gender the emotions were all over the place for many of the people Emily talked about in her writing. This book does a good job shedding light to the notion of purity and the double standard it holds. In her detailed journal Emily shares a few incidents where not only did verbal harassment took place but sexual assault occurred. Both of these topics tie directly in with the lessons of this week.
I believe that Emily’s documented case of sexual harassment has and will expand awareness to the problem at hand and how common this phenomenon really is. Slut-shamming incidents may seem innocent at the time but can lead to very destructive and long-term effects. I would recommend this book to anyone of the age of a middle schooler, so around the age of 12 and above. Some of the details shared in the diary could be hard to read as a child that young but I think it would help to stop the harassment and bullying before it takes place. The slut-shamming started taking place as a 6th grader for Emily and I believe children of that age know what they are doing and should be able to read such material if that is the age they are making use of these actions. I think as adults this book provides a time for clarity of our middle school years and a new perspective of our childhood and find a way to process what happened. I could see how this could benefit the microsystem of said individual, whether they be the victim or perpetrator to find ways to provide support and or cease such behavior.
Lindin, Emily, and Amanda Hess. UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir. San Fransisco, CA: Zest, 2015. Print.
“UnSlut.” Zest Books. Zest Books, 23 Dec. 2015. Web. 19 June 2016.