Summer is here and the sun is shining again, not only on our revived social lives, but also in the art world. After more than a year of interruptions, thanks to pandemic restrictions, museum exhibits and gallery openings have finally d full force. In fact, exhibition schedules seem more jam-packed than ever as many venues eagerly make up for the canceled shows of last year. At the MFA, you can see the work of Roxbury artist and activist Ekua Holmeswhose colorful book illustrations will be on view beginning in July, as well as the recently-acquired work of local artists — including Dana C. Chandler Jr.
The high school years can be difficult for any teen-ager, but for those girls who suddenly find themselves branded as the school "slut" they can be almost unbearable.
She visits The Early Show to talk about what she hopes readers take away from her book. Maybe this story begins in Portland, Oregon, in the fall ofwhen Anna Thomas enters Washington High as a freshman. She's one unit in a shipment of freshman girls.
She's one name on a list. Washington is a public school with a population of about five thousand students, mostly upper-middle-class white kids, except for those bused in from minority neighborhoods, or the random few who, through some accident of zoning, have ended up among kids of a different economic tribe.
Anna's presence at Washington is part of this accident of zoning. Though she lives with her mom in an apartment in the same zip code as the rich kids, she is by no means a rich .
She can't afford the clothes most girls at Washington wear. She wears the knockoff versions of deer jeans and she eats government-assisted lunches. In the midst of a predominantly white student body she's half Filipina.
She's exotic: her skin vibrates with the color of another world. Add to this the fact that her breasts have developed much quicker than most girls', that her mom is a waitress, that she doesn't have many girlfriends, and Anna's presence is a recipe for scandal.
Kids start spreading rumors about Anna on the first day of school, and by winter she's infamous. She is now called Anna Wanna. Anna wants every guy she can touch, Anna will do anything, Anna is the biggest slut ever born.
The rumors surrounding Anna are as elaborate and meticulous as fairy tales. Reliable sources claim she has lain down with boys or men in an infinite of places: graveyards, the empty lot where kids throw keggers on weekends, some guy's basement, some guy's car. Ask her to go into a closet or a bathroom and pull her shirt off and she'll do it -- she'll pull herself apart at the slightest provocation. She'll lie on her back saying, "I love you," no matter who the guy is or where he has come from.
According to what everyone says and writes on the walls, Anna is a monster of desire, a freak of nature, an aberration. No one knows her very well, but the idea of her takes up a lot of space. When she walks down the hall, a murmur takes shape, irrepressible in the throats of all the. Sometimes one distinct voice emerges, shouting over the tide of whispers: "Whore! Anna Wanna is a whore! For the most part Anna keeps her cool.
She continues her progress through the hall, staring straight ahead. Occasionally she swirls around, yells, "Fuck you," and then there's the inevitable comeback: "I already fucked you! From where I sit her hair seems darker than midnight. I am part of the same army of freshman girls Anna belongs to, but unlike Anna I'm not the kind of girl who attracts attention.
Even when you look right at me, it's easy to look past me.
I'm a well-behaved, unobtrusive goody-goody: on the honor roll but not too local up, involved in a Save the Whales club, one or two friends, pushing every symptom of rage or desire or wild ambition down past the throat, down past the heart, all the way down into my guts. I watch Anna swirl around and battle the catcalls and the predators; I boston it difficult to take my eyes off her.
Maybe because of my particular kind of invisibility, I become fascinated by Anna's infamy -- the teens of sex and abandon slutty inappropriate kisses. When she's absent, which is often, school is far more boring than usual.
Long after high school has ended, I still dream about her. Like a kid obsessed in the hallway, I can't let go of the question of Anna and her true nature.
The spirit halloween world
Through the lens of memory, she becomes representative of a more generalized sense of chaos -- moments when the good, orderly world you thought you knew falls away and a cruel reality begins to manifest itself. Anna and the rumors surrounding her seem to hold a clue to the past: Why did we want to talk this way?
Why did we so effortlessly and automatically create a "slut," almost as if she were creating us? And why did we need to banish certain girls, push them out beyond the pale? Sometimes, in those conversations about high school that people in their twenties and thirties engage in more and more frequently, I'd bring up the question of the slut.
Invariably, my Anna stories would be countered by stories of other versions of her: other girls whose alleged insatiable sexual appetites scandalized their school, girls whose bodies had no boundaries. All rights reserved.
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