Sex Object

Sex Object

A Memoir

Book - 2016
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"Guardian US columnist Jessica Valenti has been leading that national conversation for over a decade and is widely credited with sparking the new wave of the women's movement. When Jessica launched in 2004, it quickly became the most popular feminist site online not just because of Valenti's news acumen and analysis, but because of her humor, frankness, and willingness to open up about her own life and struggles. At the Guardian US, Valenti's wildly popular column currently garners over 1M monthly views and she is frequently their most "shared" author. She is frequent commentator on national television and a heavily requested speaker. With Sex Object, Valenti moves away from politics and policy focusing instead on funny, painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments from her life that tell a broader story about modern womanhood. Structured in three acts to follow the arc of a woman's life, BODIES, BOYS, BABIES, the stories that highlight the book are about drugs, sex, harassment, assault, bad boyfriends, too-nice boyfriends, abortions, birth, class anxiety, impostor syndrome, death threats, resistance, and family. Valenti has authored a few books with smaller presses including Full Frontal Feminist (46k LTD) but this is the first time she is being published by a major publisher. With its controversial subject matter (there is a highly detailed chapter about getting an abortion), Sex Object is bound to make waves the same way Fear of Flying did in the '70s; We keep hearing the feminism is "having a moment"- luckily, we are publishing the leader of the pack"--
Publisher: New York, NY :, Dey Street, an imprint of William Morrow Publishers, , [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062435088
Characteristics: 204 pages ; 24 cm


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Jul 26, 2018

I believe I saw this book on a list of "books feminists should read" (but there's a possibility that isn't the case, so don't hold me to it), so I figured I'd grab it from the library. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn't exactly it. It is a memoir of Jessica's life, but I guess it just didn't go where I thought it would. She was promiscuous, she was assaulted, she questions what society would look like if we didn't live in a world where men hated/ lorded over/ trumped women, but it didn't sit well with me. Maybe it was because it felt a little too surface-y or like it didn't really dive in and make you think as much as I hoped it would. I wanted to like this book, but it didn't really make me "feel" anything. It just seemed a little random or haphazardly thrown together for me. I definitely believe objectification is an important topic and one that needs to be discussed more, but this book didn't hit the nail on the head for me. (One positive was it was short so I was able to finish it with not a ton of time devoted to it.) I would give it a 4 out of 10.

ArapahoeKati Mar 29, 2017

Blunt. Funny. Awkward. Honest. Important. Eye-opening. And definitely not sugar-coating how men treat women in our society.

KateHillier Mar 13, 2017

A series of essay by one of the US's prominent feminist voices. It's an uncomfortable read that reminds me just how lucky I am to either have not been exposed to or not noticed what a lot of women do experience daily. The things there that I have experienced or relate a bit more directly to make me angry and this is probably the first book of this type that allows the reader to feel hate and resignation. It's certainly not as upbeat as other works but that's okay and just as necessary.

There are several powerful essays here. The final third perhaps having the most. The book's end inclusion of a sample of Valenti's emails and twitter mentions is also horrifying and rage inducing. It's hard out there being a woman, on the internet or not, and no one deserves that kind of vitriol thrown at them.

JCLMELODYK Sep 28, 2016

Five fat stars for honesty. Her experiences as an adolescent in New York City makes me ever so grateful for my small-town childhood. New York - you can take your culture and energy and fantastic food and all of it along with the disgusting subway experiences and street harassment. I'll stroll down main street in my little village of 1000 people and read all about you at my public library.

What unites all women though are our experiences with men who think women exist for their convenience and pleasure. I was reminded of things in my youth - the inappropriate comments from that one creepy dad, the much older, equally creepy dud that asks you out the month after you turn 18.... but what separates me from Valenti is the intentional relationships with deplorable men or at the very least uninteresting men. Was this because of her struggles with mental illness? Is there some parallel between substance abuse and these pitiful relationships? It made me very sad. And after reading Sweetbitter and Love Me Back, two memoirish novels, Valenti isn't the only young woman deserving of so much more than they themselves allow.

Sep 14, 2016

"All women live in objectification the way fish live in water."-Catherine A. MacKinnon
I hesitate to review this because as a white, straight male, my collective voice is too often drowning out conversations on race, gender, sexuality, and just about everything else. So please take this review with a grain of salt. I had decidedly mixed feelings about "Sex Object." Jessica Valenti wrote "Full Frontal Feminism," is a columnist for "The Guardian" and founded the website Her new book joins a growing number of feminist memoirs/essays, which also includes "Shrill," "Bad Feminist," "Men Explain Things to Me," and "The Argonauts." Of those, Valenti's is the most autobiographical (It is billed as a memoir) and also the most flawed. As someone who is not really a fan of the memoir, perhaps I'm not the right audience. I appreciated her insights about gender and the constant and noxious sexism she's dealt with, but I was less interested in some of the graphic details of her sex life and drug addiction. Despite its flaws, an important read for anyone concerned about these issues.

ArapahoeAlison Sep 08, 2016

A must read for every woman or girl. I loved her humor as she discussed growing up as a teen in the wilds of NYC. It tackles big subjects like harassment, objectification, and motherhood with humor, candor, and originality.

Aug 19, 2016

Reading it but found nothing remarkable so far; sex is sex, not particularly rewarding when used as a bargaining chip later on. Use of the "F" word makes me think the author's angry about something, could it be sex while still a child? Would love to read her memoirs when in her 70s especially.

May 14, 2016

Though parts of this book are clearly copy/pasted essays (a lot of chapters just end without any real resolution), most women will find this too relatable. Expect to see this on many must read lists.

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