Nice Girl Doing Cheap Tricks

878950By Lexi White

Cruising East Palo Alto in a ‘97 RAV4, rappers cussing through blown out speakers, I’m strung out looking for a fix. I need to get high. My body beaten, black eye and bloody lip. Stringy hair and lackluster skin. I need to get high. My insides are empty and dark. My spirit is long gone. I need to get high. I am looking for a lonely John who wants a cheap trick. I need to get high.

But I can’t get high anymore. I am trapped in a miserable hopeless cycle and see no way out. I have written myself off. I am destined to be a dope fiend and I accept my pathetic short life because the occasional bliss that copious amounts of drugs give me keeps me handcuffed. I have faint whispers of something different…

It wasn’t always like this.

I grew up in Palo Alto, CA where my dad worked for a top Silicon Valley firm. I had it made: rich, white, Christian, upper-class family. I lived in a safe suburban neighborhood. I was destined for greatness. I had opportunities that some only dream of.

The American Dream, right?

But deviance drew me more than that cookie-cutter life.

My big brothers were cool and I idolized them. Snooping around their rooms I found drug paraphernalia and hardcore porn, which by fourth grade I watched regularly. I began to seek sexual attention. By age eleven I was sexually active.

In middle school I teased my hair, rolled up my skirt, stuffed my bra, smeared on tacky blue eye liner and waited to see who’d give me attention. Over time my boyfriends got bigger and badder.

I got drunk and high on a regular basis. I snuck out, stole, lied, cheated… Manipulation became my MO.

I heard truancy calls from high school on our voicemail.

My habits would have serious costs.

I had not one, not two, but three abortions.

I traded sex for drugs, showing up at my dealer’s house broke.

The porn industry and pop culture told me that a woman’s road to success and power was sexiness, so I’d better be good at it.

I didn’t see that as a sex object my power was one-dimensional. And so was I. Women were secondary; a man would determine my worth. Really, I had no self-respect and no self-worth.

Soon after my third abortion I showed up at my drug dealer’s house around 1 a.m. I knew the drill: sex for drugs. After clogging my nostrils with cocaine I could feel the sweet numbness dictate my body.

Three men appeared and two pistols. I was not healed yet from the abortion, I remember lots of pain, humiliation, molestation; I was less than human at that point. I drove home at four in the morning sitting in semen soaked panties as my high came down. I felt disgusting.

I finally found a way out.

Today I am sober and in school. Today I determine my own self-worth.

I can be pretty because it makes me happy and it makes me feel good. I am educated about who the media is targeting and the cheap yet effective tricks used to send messages to young women. I am still susceptible to pop culture and fall victim to my insecurities, but I now make informed decisions.

I appreciate strong men and I believe a strong man and woman who communicate respectfully are an unstoppable team. But a man does not define who I am. I define who I am though my actions and attitudes.

Now I spread the word that women have so much power and should be assertive and should not feel second to men. I am passionate about empowering women and sharing my experience, strength and hope.

This post was written by one of my students who used a pseudonym.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Wow, really well written post and great message! Keep going and good luck Lexi :)

    Rohan.

  2. Wow, amazing story. At first I sympathized with the fall, but then I was inspired by the redemption. Sounds like you changed a life with your class, Georgia. Thanks to you and Lexi for all you do. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    • Well, Lexi is the one who changed her life in order to get into my class. But my class probably helped her to understand more of what had happened, and helped her to see even more clearly what true empowerment is.

  3. This was a very sad story yet very empowering it shows me that even first class people go through the worst and its not just low class or middle class having values and self respect its an issue for many and it doesn’t only happen in a specific label of people. I find that being sexy and bad is what is portrayed in music ,media and people we see .Its impossible for all of us to ever be perfect . Although pornography may seem hot and kinky to the majority of people I personally think it makes a person a non-human with no shame or respect putting yourself out there and making guys think that that’s how sec is suppose to be is very wrong . Not only does it make the girls look like complete trash it also makes guys think its okay to call girl names because we are female . My point is that these drugs,partying,porn and all the other things that are considered cool are not ..they just end up influencing the young to think its okay but I hope that one day we all females can be looked up to and not just be a piece of ass .

  4. I feel really depress after reading this article. The mind and the self-value of the author had totally twisted by the pornography. As in the pornography, male are usually the dominance and female had to obey them and be sexy. I believe a lot of women had somehow twisted by this concept as well. They may feel like a woman should look sexy and pretty in order to attract male; if they fail to do so, then they will worth nothing and that is their own fault. However, the fact is that women are actually not sexual objects, they are human beings which deserve equal opportunities as men.

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