Study Guide

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Femininity

By Carolyn Mackler

Femininity

What makes a teenage girl awesome? Unfortunately, it's not always the same thing that makes her popular. The name of the party Byron goes to, Virgins and Sluts, pretty much sums up the two things society allows women to be. It's the whole Madonna/whore thing, and no, we don't mean the "Like a Virgin" Madonna, though that song title adds a whole 'nother layer to the debate.

In The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, Virginia almost goes off the rails thinking she needs to be skinny and slutty to make boys like her, but two Ani DiFranco-lovin' feminists show her that the girls who make their own rules actually kick the most butts.

Questions About Femininity

  1. If Virginia's mom is a teen therapist, why isn't she more enlightened about how she raises her own daughters?
  2. Why does Virginia fall in love with Ani DiFranco after listening to her with Annie, but not with Anaïs?
  3. How does meeting Annie change Virginia's perception of—and dreams for—herself?

Chew on This

Virginia… La Vierge… Virgins and Sluts… The author named her protagonist after an archetype.

Dr. Shreves, a totally bright and accomplished woman, is an example of just how hard it is to be a female in this society and not get trapped by narrow and sexist expectations.

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