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book review:

She’s Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out and Fighting Back

This book is should probably prove helpful to a teenaged or ‘tween-aged’ girl who feels stifled by the corporate and cultural status-quo. With She’s Shameless, the founders of Shameless magazine (Nicole Cohen and Melinda Mattos) and its current publisher and editor (Stacey May Fowles and Megan Griffith-Greene, respectively) take aim at the incredibly unrealistic demands put upon young girls and women by the likes of popular fashion and style magazines like Vogue, Seventeen and Elle. Both the book and the magazine attempt to reassure young girls that there is something more to life than the standards of unthinking, apolitical, apathetic and beauty-obsessed consumption offered by the mainstream media. Above all, it seeks to rid young women of feelings of shame-for their bodies, sexuality, gender, outlook and so forth.

The short prose pieces that compose She’s Shameless are by both established (Catherine Graham, Zoe Whittall, etc.) and virtually unknown female writers. Quality is fairly high all around, but don’t expect any literary prose, or investigative journalism; it’s not really for an older audience (i.e., girls who are beyond the age of “growing up [and] rocking out,” or those who already grasp that there is an alternative). As the editors indicate, She’s Shameless is “pro-choice, queer-positive, sex-positive and most importantly, girl-positive.” You can’t really argue against this book. It’s probably a good thing for most young girls to read, and I’m sure there’s got to be something in it to which every struggling, intelligent woman can relate. (Spencer Gordon)

edited by Stacey May Fowles and Megan Griffith-Greene, $18.95, 123 pgs., Tightrope Books, 17 Greyton Crescent, Toronto, ON, M6E 2G1,

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