Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Date Read: June 23, 2019
Consider this a primer for young feminists.
Jennifer Mathieu drops us into Vivian Carter’s high school– and her high school looks a lot like high schools do– that’s not fiction. Trust me, I’ve been in high school for more than 20 years!
Vivian is tired of the singular focus on football, and the way it proffers entitlement for its boorish players. She is irritated by a dress code that focuses exclusively on what women wear, how they are targeted and surveyed by adults, and blamed for distracting their male peers. She is annoyed with the pervasive toxic masculinity that normalizes the sexual harassment of women: they yell out sexist comments at the girls (Make me a sandwich!) Which, as Vivian explains, insinuates that women best stay in the kitchen. They wear t-shirts with demeaning slogans (Great legs! When do they open?); play a game of bump n’ grab in the hallways (groping women’s bodies); and play host to a March Madness game where they rank and sort which of the girls is most fuckable.
So, yeah. Vivian is fed up with her small Texas town high school, and she decides to fight back.
Inspired by the momentos she finds in a box of her mother’s labelled: “My Misspent Youth,” Vivian starts a zine called Moxie in which she calls the girls in her school to action.
This book explores what it means to want fair and equal treatment; to feel safe in spaces; to be a good friend and ally; and to use our voices to speak up.
I expect to recommend this one a lot in the fall when I welcome ninth graders to my reading library. If you have young women in your life, give them a little moxie too!