AWW2013 – Book 10
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Library Book, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries
Losing it is a story of four girls who make a pledge to lose their virginity before schoolies. The story, told in four different parts, charts their year as they dodge the obstacles of driving tests, parents, older brothers and questions of sexuality to ‘Do It’
To be honest, I didn’t like this book. I’ve read a lot of reviews on it which rave about how great it is to see female sexuality and teenaged sexuality treated so well, and it is a very sexually liberated book. However, throughout the whole book it felt like the characters were two dimensional, defined by only a few things – one of which was always their virginity. Zoe is boy-mad, scattered and a virgin! Mala is boy-crazy, has over protective immigrant parents and is a virgin! Abby has overly christian parents, a difficult brother and is a virgin! Bree is beautiful and cool and is a virgin!
The idea that there was something essentially wrong with girls who hadn’t had a sexual experience by the time they finished high school, also annoyed me. While it’s a convenient set up for the book, there’s something really wrong with the idea that a girl must make the choice to have a sexual experience during her high school years, or she might get drunk and loose on schoolies and ‘do’ someone she regrets. Virginity is seen as an inconvenience or a burden, something which has to be ‘got rid of’ so that you can enter womenhood. And these (apparently) very smart girls, known at the Geek Girls, all automatically buy into that, without one of them saying – oh wait a minute, I can make my own choices about my body without anyone dictating to me what I need to do to become a woman!
Then there’s the slightly unbelievable part where not one of the girls has any regrets about becoming sexually active, even when it goes a bit pear shaped or they don’t have any kind of romantic feelings for the other person involved. I realise that this is the truth for some people, but I find it a little hard to believe that not one of them had any regrets at all.
There’s also the very convenient plot point, where the girls promise each other that they will keep any of their sexual exploits secret. Of course, by doing this they remove a vital support network (good thing none of them had any regrets then, since they had no one to turn to if they wanted to talk about it) and set up a painfully obvious plot twist.
Being sexually liberated doesn’t mean that girls have to lose their virginity early. It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with those who choose to wait until they’re older or something wrong with those who choose to find a partner that they have a connection with or even (gasp!) love. By having all four of the girls in this book participating in sexual activities without hesitation or regret, it makes it look like this is the only acceptable way to behave – that girls should be so sexually liberated that they’re not allowed to have feelings that a) sex at that age may not be for them b) sex with people they don’t love may not be for them or c) sex might actually have consequences. I’d hate to think a teenaged girl would come to this book and think that she’s ‘wrong’ when she thinks about sex, because she doesn’t meet the ‘sexually liberated’ style that is the only way portrayed in this book.