Tightrope Books

Tightrope Teaser Tuesday: She’s Shameless

By Tightrope Books | September 1st, 2009 | Print This Post | Email This Post | Leave a Comment

Welcome to a new edition of Tightrope Teaser Tuesday, where we give our readers the briefest of glimpses – teases, if you will – into our new, backlist, and forthcoming books. Today’s Teaser comes from She’s Shameless, a collection of essays edited by Stacey May Fowles and Megan Griffith-Greene.

Co-editors Megan Griffith-Greene and Stacey May Fowles have compiled an anthology of fearless and funny non-fiction about strong, smart and shameless young women. With wit and honesty, the writers share stories of their teen experiences (both positive and negative) on everything from body image to best friends, from pop culture to first times. The book is founded on Shameless magazine’s tradition of smart, sassy, honest and inclusive writing, and reaches out to young female readers who are often ignored by mainstream: freethinkers, queer youth, young women of colour, punk rockers, feminists, intellectuals, and activists.

This is a vital collection for teen readers that does not patronize or preach. Sometimes personal, educational, or political, sometimes fueled by humour, rage or sadness; the writing is always honest, accessible, and meaningful to teen girls. The result is a real and relevant dialogue about growing up female – a book that is pro-choice, queer-positive, sex-positive, and most importantly, girl-positive. She’s Shameless is available in bookstores now or on Amazon.

Enjoy “Oh, Go Eat a Hamburger” by Shaunga Tagore, one of the contributing essays in She’s Shameless.

Just because my ass is bony doesn’t mean I have an eating disorder.

Yeah sure, being this twig-thin has its drawbacks. My wrists are too flimsy to ever win a battle against a tight-lidded jar of strawberry jam. And I still cringe when I remember arm wrestling in elementary school gym class, everyone crowded around, betting how fast my opponent-of-the-moment could take me down.

But if you want to know what really turns my stomach, consider this conversation with Nellie, my middle school best friend. We were in the cafeteria at lunch, enjoying our mom-made sandwiches.

Nellie says to me: “You’re anorexic.”

“Whaaa?”I reply with my mouth full, lettuce caught between my teeth, bacon hanging out of the side of my mouth.

“You’re anorexic.”

I chew for a few moments, gulping down my sweet, juicy pig.

“No, I’m not,” I say.

“Yeah you are. You’re too skinny.”

“Buuut…I like eating. I eat all the time.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“But I just said…”

“I don’t care. You’re sooo anorexic.”

Really. How can you argue with that?

Of course, even if I’d had an eating disorder, this conversation still wouldn’t have been a divine eye-opening experience. You know, like:

“You’re anorexic. Eat a hamburger. Get over it.”

Or not.

Every single TV show I watch, magazine I flip through, or music video I groove along to, tells me that in order to be truly attractive and desirable, I need to be part of the tall, thin, big-boobed, small-hipped, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed masses. But instead of passing judgment on others, I would prefer to spend my time enjoying fresh-from-the-oven nachos with green onions, tomatoes, and cheese!

You want to know something crazy? Last year when I visited my family in India for the first time, I realized something: I am actually AVERAGE HEIGHT AND SIZE. I didn’t have to crane my neck to have a conversation with my uncle, and I could easily borrow my cousin’s clothes. I strolled down the packed, cluttered streets of Kolkata, and suddenly realized that I was no longer the scrawny, malnourished, poor, starving brown girl in a white-dominated Canadian high school. I wasn’t a freak or abnormal, I wasn’t automatically the subject of anyone’s pity. I was just me…and there was absolutely nothing wrong with looking like me.

I came home to Canada, beaming with newfound liberation. But soon enough, I had an unfortunate visit from a well-intentioned Avon lady.

“You could be really pretty, you know, you just need to eat more. You should love yourself, you know? Get rid of that low self-esteem!”

Low self-esteem? Lady, I wouldn’t trade in this brown skinny bod for some blonde Barbie-doll figure any day. When I’m fifty, I’ll probably still be able to find clothes in the kids’ section. My boobs will never be big enough to make it onto the cover of Cosmo – and I like it that way.

So, next time you tell me that I must be anorexic because I am simply too skinny for my own good, you better watch out. Because I’m going to sit on you. And with my incredibly bony ass – you bet it’s gonna hurt.

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