In the first twenty or so pages of American Girls the author, Sales, writes about extreme circumstances when social media has allowed for pornography to be shared exclusively over Snapchat stories, a social media and communication platform.She repeatedly points out how social media is created by young men and is vastly consumed by young women while also comparing life for young adults today to her experienc
e as a young adult. This splurge on pornographic images and videos being shared rolls into her first chapter Thirteen.
Thirteen is the first chapter of American Girls and boldly only talks about affects of pornography on girls the age of thirteen, hence the title of the chapter. Sales bounces around, stating the location she was whenever switching stories, between stories of young girls talking about their lives on social media, their social media attacks or that they’ve seen, and tangents of extreme affects of social media on young girls. Sales stays centered on pornography of the girls she interviews and the pornography they’ve seen of girls they know and otherwise. She collects information on girls, not only on their experience with pornography, but with their sexual encounters and how that has changed their perception of their community.
I was particularly interested in the interviews with three girls from Montclair, New Jersey speaking of how one of the girls, “Riley” was being bullied after a rumor was spread around that she had given he boyfriend at the time, “Danny”, a “BJ” (i.e. oral sex.) She describes how this rumor has stressed her into being in social situations with others from her school and how she has had an anxiety before walking into a coffee shop crowded with her peers after school one Friday. I was intrigued as I remember hearing of such situations when I was of that age, but never encountered them myself. It was hard to believe what I was reading as I classified anyone younger than I as a child, but clearly these “children” in my eyes were far more mature than I could ever expect. Although, I had not been exposed to such situations myself others have had first contact with rumors like these that had gotten out of hand. Thirteen year old Emilie Olsen had taken her own life after being cyber bullied and a rumor spread that she was homosexual. Sales builds on situation like Emilie’s and gives current social media a negative connotation as I read, and although I believe Sales should explore the good social media has brought to this generation I agree that it tends to play a bad role in situations involving pornography.
A passage that caught my eye was towards the end of the chapter and again about the interview with the three girls in Montclair, New Jersey. One of the girls, Riley, tells Sales how she had a sleepover at Danny’s house, her ex boyfriend. Riley tells that Danny’s parents even brought them breakfast up to Danny’s room in the morning when they woke. This passage made me cringe at the thought of a young girl’s parents allowing her to spend the night at a boy’s, let alone her boyfriend’s, house. I cannot imagine any thought or even brief consideration my parents would have when addres
sing the situation of me sleeping over or my boyfriend sleeping over at my house.
Another passage that I thought of quite hilariously
was a description of how young girls idolize a certain celebrity, Kim Kardashian. It tells about the craze of her book consisting of only selfies and nudes of herself, and how teen girlsview Kim as a role model with their mothers supporting their decision despite her repetitive posts of her naked in front of a mirror. This amazes me as it contributes to the stereotype that girls mindlessly follow anything popular such as the talent less celebrity
Throughout the first chapter Sales includes words used by young girls as slang in their interviews including words such “Savage”, “Fuckboy”, “Goals”, “Instamom”, and “Free.” These words’ meanings have expanded as social media has and has changed “Savage” into meaning someone, usually male, that is really cool or a “Badass” as Urban Dictionary describes it. “Fuckboy”, a term I am used to hearing around school, translates to a boy whose main goal is to “get into a girl’s pants” and is usually rude and sexist towards females. “Goals” can be used in multiple situations meaning that what is being described as “goals” is a life goal or a want of whomever is saying it. For example, “Lily, your hair is goals.” meaning that someone believes t
hat Lily has nice hair and wishes their hair wither looked like Lily’s or was as nice as Lily’s hair. “Instamom” is a newer slang which loosely translates to a mom that help their son or daughter, commonly daughter, gain fame through an instagram account. An Instamom may even manage their child’s account or buy their followers to recieve more likes on photos. Sales makes a reference to an Instamom, Angelica Calad, made an account for her daughter Taylen. Taylen had gained popularity from being on the show Toddlers and Tiaras which ultimately lead to her mom becoming an Instamom. Lastly, a “Free” is a term I was not so familiar with until reading American Girls which means a house which the parents aren’t home and where a party usually takes place. Free is a term commonly used with teens as most parties eighth grade through high school take place in a parent’s home not their own.