It is seldom that I get or make the time anymore to read- usually, I'm faaaar too busy with everything else to sit down and really get in some leisure time with a book. Despite the looming doom of finals the week after next, I found it impossible to quench my curiousity about this book we sell at the bookstore called Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen. And so, I picked it up. Some things just must be done.
If you're lookin' for a happy-go-lucky joy ride kind of book, this isn't it. It's autobiographical and deals with the incredibly serious topic of girls, their self worth, and sex- more specifically, girls trying to find self-worth through sex. I think that this book probably began as a method of therapy for the author, and then it turned into a nationally noteworthy read.
Don't worry, I won't spoil it for you, and it's definitely something that people should read. I started to say that parents especially should read it, but on a second thought, I recommend everyone should. This is a topic that is often seriously overlooked and brushed under the rug of society. There are millions of people out there that self-medicate using sex and drugs and alcohol, and while I have no real problem with any of those things (to a certain and great degree), I do believe that they should be recreational activities and NOT the main reason you get up in the morning (whatever time your morning may be). It's terrible to say that no one recognized that this woman had a problem, that she wasn't just a 'loose girl'.
It saddened me to read this story, mostly because I know she's not one in a million, but one of millions. There are so many girls out there that go along the get along just to avoid the stigma of being different- whether it's drugs, alcohol, blow jobs, or jumping off the top of a waterfall. I see girls all around me that reciprocate the sexual pressures put on them by society at large- women and girls that are beautiful and have beautiful bodies that still obsessively diet, teenage girls who only wear enough clothing so as to avoid getting a public indecency charge for the attention, women who feel that they must wear make up and act like a complete dumbass in order to 'get a man'. I want to tell those women and girls that they're failing miserably. The women who are obsessively dieting are failing to set a good example for other women, girls, their daughters, and nieces- it is not good to be at constant war with oneself , to be constantly dissatisfied. In this instance, ladies, take a cue from the men- you don't see them dieting constantly and counting calories. They have the attitude that they are what they are, take it or leave it. They value themselves just as they are, and they're not going way out of their way to fit some airbrushed stereotype. The girls and women who are wearing little more than fig leaves, listen up: you're getting what you want, you are definitely getting attention, but it's not the kind you want, nor is it from anyone who's really going to give a damn about you. In fact, you are also attracting the attention of men/women who intend to prey upon you. Put on some damn clothes, the crack of your ass is not sexy. Oh, and please, please, please, women of all ages, creeds, sexual orientations, ethnicities and religions: if you wear a size 12, please, for the love of God, don't try to wear a size 8. This is NOT sexy- it creates the dreaded muffin top effect. Wear some clothes that fit you, and you will look faaaaar more attractive. And finally, ladies who feel that they absolutely can not and will not leave the house without makeup on their faces, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: It's false advertising. You don't look like that when you wake up or when you clean your shower. Any man who falls in love with you and you with them will eventually see you without make up. Just be up front and honest, and be proud: you are what you are.
I've saved the topic of women who think they need to be dumb to get a man for last because I consider it to be the worst of all societal offenses perpetrated. If you play a dumb woman, you're going to get a dumb man. It's as simple as that. Someone has to have brains, someone has to take care of you and your business, and it might as well be you as anyone else. Ignorance is a state of bliss until the real world comes to smack you upside your box-of-rocks head. And if this doesn't convince you, then let's point out the long run of this behavior. You meet a man and you and he end up together for a long time, get married, do the mortgage, dogs, and kids thing. You can't be dumb and deal with those things, and imagine the surprise of the man who finds out his wife, the mother of his children, isn't who he thought she was at all- he liked the dumbness because it helped him feel like more of a man in a fucked up caveman kind of way (i.e. damsel in distress meets hero). He starts to feel inept in the wake of your amazing skills at managing life- which magically showed up the moment you had responsibilities- and this throws a monkey wrench in your marriage. It's not just your fault- you totally did lie about who you were- but it's also his for never dealing with his masculine insecurities. The bottom line is this: if you are totally up front and honest about who and what you are, regardless of your gender, you have more worth and your life is of a much higher quality, than of one that's built on dissatisfaction, desperation, and sheer dumbassery. Do not fall prey to what everyone else thinks, because everyone else will not live your life. You live your life, you do so by your own terms so that it is truly something, at the end of the day, that you can be satisfied with and fills you with pride.
And please, if you know someone who's self-medicating, try to get them to help themselves, and support them along the way. It was probably easy to fall into such a pit, but it's terribly hard to drag out of it.