Nice Girl Doing Cheap Tricks
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.
Posted on August 21, 2013, in feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex, sexism, women and tagged feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.