Year Published: 2015
My Rating: ★★★★☆
UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir by Emily Lindin is a published diary of Lindin’s time in middle school and how she, and many other of her female classmates, were labeled as “sluts”. The diary is accompanied by now-Lindin’s comments; explanations of the behaviors of those around her in the years of middle school, and explanations of how a young girl’s mind is warped into thinking that being a considered a slut is better than not being considered anything at all. This book was published following Lindin’s online success of the UnSlut Project; a project the allows girls everywhere to share and relate their stories to one another and bond against the fight that is slut shaming.
As a woman who has gone through the confusing time that is middle school, I was at first in disbelief at all the things Lindin and her classmates went through. Such events never happened to me and my friends at such a young age. However, when I thought about it, I couldn’t say that just because I didn’t go through it, that doesn’t mean my other classmates didn’t. In fact, I can distinctly remember rumors that would float around that were similar to those that floated around in Lindin’s time. I was just never directly involved in them. To realize that girls went through things like slut shaming, let alone in middle school, absolutely disgusted me. And the evidence that Lindin displayed of her younger self thinking it was all normal disgusted me even more.
Lindin’s published diary certainly showed the mistakes we make in raising boys and girls. To teach boys that it’s okay to grab a girl’s breast and then to have the girl feel like she needs to apologize to her boyfriend for it is really upsetting. The assaults these boys committed against Emily and her friends made them think that since they were labeled as sluts, they deserved it or that the boys were entitled to do whatever they wanted with the girls’ bodies. Girls begin to think and learn that their bodies are objects for boys to claim whenever they want since “boys will be boys”. To think that this was going on in the years I was in middle school, and in middle schools everywhere was horrifying to me.
That being said, Lindin’s account of her middle school days is an excellent example of how boys need to be taught that girls’ bodies are not for their pleasure, and girls need to be taught that their body is a sanctuary that is for them and only them; any verbal or physical assault made against them is not their fault. Teachers and parents should be more aware of what’s going on in the lives of the children they love and know.
The published account of Lindin’s diaries, however, could certainly have been shorter. There was no need to include every entry, only those that seemed important to the message she was trying to convey. The message certainly reached me, but as a reader, I recognized that there were some entries and some comments from Lindin herself that could have been left out.
Overall, however, this account of Lindin’s middle school days is an excellent example of the issues women face at any and every age. It is eye-opening, and certainly an important read; especially for girls AND boys who are at this age. As Lindin says at the end of the publication, we can only hope for a world where the word “slut” is no longer recognized. Working towards that goal is what’s most important.