Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Paperback ~ Memoir
I read the paperback edition of Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti, which is a book that has been on my wish list for a while.

I first became acquainted with Jessica Valenti's writing when I read and reviewed her book, Full Frontal Feminism, (click on the link to the left to read my review of Full Frontal Feminism) back in January 2014. I think that Full Frontal Feminism is a good, basic introductory read for newbies wanting to know more about feminism... But for those of us with more knowledge of feminism, then please take a pass on Full Frontal Feminism.

"Sex Object" initially seemed like an odd title for a memoir for someone who isn't a super model or porn star... However, I fully understand that women are treated like sex objects in our society and I suppose for a book title, "Sex Object", is appropriate as any book title in this context.

I think the introduction of Jessica Valenti's memoir was probably the most enjoyable thing I liked about her memoir. The rest of Jessica Valenti's memoir wasn't good at all in my opinion. In fact, I am surprised that Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti was named 'NPR Best Book of 2016'!

Yes, unfortunately, women are and have been viewed as sex objects in our society, which is extremely dehumanizing and derogatory to women to say the least. 

I also feel that it was extremely brave of Jessica Valenti to come forward and describe her negative experiences of the various ways in which she was objectified by men in society. However, I wasn't completely sympathetic to her plight. I don't think Ms. Valenti deserved to be treated like a sex object or any other woman for that matter. However, there was behavior I felt Ms. Valenti did engage in at various points in her life as an adult that caused negative outcomes... I felt these series of negative outcomes could have been prevented or at least mitigated had she exercised better judgment on her part.

The following is the publisher's summary for Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti from Amazon:
New York Times Bestseller
“Sharp and prescient… The appeal of Valenti’s memoir lies in her ability to trace objectification through her own life, and to trace what was for a long time her own obliviousness to it…Sex Object is an antidote to the fun and flirty feminism of selfies and self-help.” – New Republic
Hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the most visible and successful feminists of her generation,” Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a memoir thatPublishers Weekly calls “bold and unflinching,” Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes on women’s lives, from the everyday to the existential. From subway gropings and imposter syndrome to sexual awakenings and motherhood, Sex Object reveals the painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City.

In the tradition of writers like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, Sex Object is a profoundly moving tour de force that is bound to shock those already familiar with Valenti’s work, and enthrall those who are just finding it.
I am giving Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. This sounds really interesting! I find objectification and our reaction to it really interesting. For example, you said that you sympathized and yet there were some situations where you disagree. I think it's really interesting how different people with different backgrounds have different standards. I'm really interested in reading this now and seeing how my opinions relate to yours! I also find it really interesting when the general readership community doesn't agree with the critics! When I watched Shape of Water, I felt it in full force: it seemed like critics absolutely LOVED the movie and the rest of us were like 'meh'.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I think this book was difficult for me to review. I wanted to LOVE it!!! I can't stand how women are objectified and was looking to see what Jessica Valenti had to say on the topic... Yes, I think it was horrible that as minor under the age of 18, the author had men flash their private parts at her or make lewd comments at her, etc... And date rape is never acceptable under any circumstance in my opinion, so when the author wrote about being date raped, of course, it was heartbreaking... Conversely though, there were life choices/decisions that the author made that I didn't agree with and it made it difficult to be objective/sympathetic about what she was sharing in those instances.

  2. This is a tough topic. I think women should be able to be comfortable with being women, with acting and dressing and going about in the world the way they want to. Without fear of being accosted by men. Just saying.

    1. Agree with you completely on this topic. Yes, women should be able to dress and act the way they want and not be afraid they will be accosted by men. All to often women are blamed for dressing a certain way or acting a certain as the reason they are raped (for instance) as if men are some wild animal not in control of their own behavior... I feel like this gives men permission to rape women without repercussion as rape frequently isn't reported... I think the statistic is something like 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, which is very sad.