Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut
Emily White

Big breasts? The girl's a slut. Exotic features? Again, a slut. Maybe she moved to town mid school year, or comes from the wrong side of the highway. Maybe she's had sex with every boy in school or she could still be a virgin, though cursed with a 36D bra. Emily White, in her brilliant book, Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut brings a wonderful patience and rationality to her examination of one of the more irrational and controlling dynamics: the high school social swim and rules of conformity.

In some ways, this is a book about the social ramifications of bra size. Starting with that uncontrollable, natural development, White reveals rigid, unspoken societal assumptions. She writes, "Breasts and their associations of fertility become warped in the rumor mill; for the kids making quick, panicky associations, fertility is equated with the sex act, and so the girls whose bodies look like the bodies of mothers, of grown women, are assumed to be doing the things women do. Because their bodies have moved from childhood to adulthood so fast, these girls are assumed to be fast girls. The quickness of the body is extrapolated into a general quickness, a belief that she will go to bed with anyone in no time. The assumption is that the acts of the body create the body.... This kind of logic prevails in the slut story: kids feel certain just by looking at her that they know what she's up to; they can just tell."

"Faced with this unflinching and irrational certainty, a girl might begin to wonder if the kids are right... Listen to the rumors long enough and you will start to believe they are a sign of something. You will start to believe they're basically true." White's book cuts through a lot of long-standing bullshit and offers a complex clarity in its place.