The V-Word is an honest and poignant collection of essays from seventeen women about losing their virginity in their teens. Five of the contributing authors had a little more to say beyond what they’ve included in the book and we’ve been sharing their guest posts every Thursday throughout March. This post is the third of five and comes to us from author Elizabeth Rusch.
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Ever since reading Amber Keyser’s The V-Word in draft form, I have been recommending it to everyone I know. Who do I mean by everyone? I mean everyone age 13 and up (and younger with parental discretion), female, male, transgender, gay, straight, teen and adult.
Yes, The V-Word is intended for teen girls to help them navigate their way through sexual maturity. But the book is beautifully written and says, through gorgeous, compelling true stories, what I think absolutely everyone should know about their bodies. Namely:
- Everyone is different.
- Everyone should have complete control over what they do with their bodies and what is done with their bodies.
That leads to what I think every child, teen and adult should be taught and should practice throughout their lives:
- Think about what you want and what you do not want to do with your body. Consider your preferences, your values, what you want out of life. Realize that your choices can evolve as you grow.
- Learn to say what you want and what you do not want to do with your body. This is “voice” and why the stories in The V-Word are so powerful. They show through real people’s experiences how important it is to develop your voice.
- Encourage people you are intimate with to share what they want and do not want to do with their bodies. How will you know what you can do, what someone else might like or dislike, if you don’t ask? (Check out this wonderful two-minute video on how consent is like a cup of tea.)
- Listen and respect what other people tell you, even if they change their minds.
Keyser’s collection subtly unscores all these principles and the stories are so nuanced, lovely, compelling, rich and textured that they will leave a lasting impression.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy for yourself, your friends, your daughters and your sons.
And what am I waiting for? The V-Word that captures men’s experiences. How will their stories be the similar? How different could they be?
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Elizabeth Rusch is an award-winning children’s book author and magazine writer. She writes both fiction and nonfiction in the areas of science, art, sports, waves, jokes, crayons, and mud — anything that catches her fancy. Find out about all her books at www.elizabethrusch.com.
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Read an Excerpt from The V-Word: