Enjoy this title right now, plus millions more, with a free trial

Free for 30 days, then $9.99/month. Cancel anytime.

Sex Object: A Memoir

Sex Object: A Memoir

Written by Jessica Valenti

Narrated by Jessica Valenti


Sex Object: A Memoir

Written by Jessica Valenti

Narrated by Jessica Valenti

ratings:
4/5 (129 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 7, 2016
ISBN:
9780062471642
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Author and Guardian US columnist Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a darkly funny and bracing memoir, Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes—from the everyday to the existential.

Sex Object explores the painful, funny, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti's adolescence and young adulthood in New York City, revealing a much shakier inner life than the confident persona she has cultivated as one of the most recognizable feminists of her generation.

In the tradition of writers like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, this literary memoir is sure to shock those already familiar with Valenti's work and enthrall those who are just finding it.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 7, 2016
ISBN:
9780062471642
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

JESSICA VALENTI is a columnist for The Guardian US where she writes about gender and politics. In 2004 she founded the award-winning Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.”? Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Nation, and Ms. She is the author of several books, including the national bestseller Full Frontal Feminism. Jessica lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.


Related to Sex Object

Related Audiobooks

Related Articles


Reviews

What people think about Sex Object

4.0
129 ratings / 15 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    The foundational question of this book is "Who would I be if I lived in a world that didn't hate women?" Valenti writes her memoir from the point of view of an object attempting to find the humanity is owed to her, but is inherently denied through the ignorance, aggression, and confounding logic of power systems. The stories within made me physically and emotionally sick. Obviously everyone should read it.
  • (4/5)
    A very honest depressing book. I couldn't read the devastating misogynistic hateful incomprehensible comments at the end - ones she had received from men.What is it with men who hate women? I just don't get it. Camille Paglia, outre as she is, has the only answer that has ever made sense to me: fear.And so that's my only complaint about this book - would have liked more of an exploration of this mystery.
  • (4/5)
    Powerful and revealing memoir. Valenti is brutally honest and bares her soul in this. I just have to shake my head when I see how hard it is for women to grow up in a world where men are assumed to have the right to hate and abuse women. All feminists need to read this, and those who aren't, should too, you just might learn something.
  • (4/5)
    I very much admire Valenti for being so honest and open about her life.
  • (4/5)
    Firstly, thank you for sharing your journey. Jessica has a way of telling a story like I was the one who needed to be heard. I will forever mourn the girl who lives in a world that feels she has no say in how she is looked at or better yet treated.
  • (5/5)
    Honest and eye opening!
    It’s sort of the fact that its slightly uncomfortable to read, that proves how important it is to read/hear about these sort of stories!
  • (3/5)
    She saw through in ways a lot people would be scared to. Thank you, J.V
  • (5/5)
    Powerfully written, and tore my heart out. I grew up reading Valenti’s works and they were a part of my studies. Listen only if you’re ready to get weepy and angry and kick ass.
  • (3/5)
    I get why this is called sec object but it feel like a lot of essays in one book that doesn’t follow a line
  • (4/5)
    It was good I guess but it did indeed show there actions
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Very satisfied with this first read by Valenti! Great insight to her experience with thought-provoking analysis and commentary. The middle was a bit aimless, but I like the message that she bookended it with.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    2.5/5

    This book was interesting in some parts, but overall it was kind of a superficial retelling of her life.

    Valenti recalls her experiences through like in this memoir, but never really goes into it. This happened, That happened. I made this bad decision, I slept with this guy, I was assaulted by that man, I had an abortion. And while these experiences could have been rather impactful, there was no development of the ideas. It was just a simple retelling.

    Maybe Valenti meant it to be that way, however, I don't think it made a great book. If she had spent time unpacking her experiences I think it would have worked better.

    The organisation of the book wasn't great either. She jumps around time a lot, swaps topic mid chapter, and then back again. It made it hard to follow, and furthered that feeling of superficial. It was like random blog posts had been put together from the tag #life, and pages got mixed up in the middle.

    Her title "Sex Object" held more promise than the book had. A stronger delivery was needed to hold up to what was promised. While the book was not bad, and her experiences were quite relevant, she just didn't grow them enough to really hit that mark.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    The day this book (which I had pre-ordered) was released, it was in the 80s out. I was walking home from work wearing two tank tops and covered with a sweater, because even though I was walking 1.5 miles home (uphill) in 80 degree weather, I have big boobs, and those of us with big boobs know that hot weather clothing and a large chest don’t mix well if one wants to make it through the day without leers and snide comments. Of course, that’s not a guarantee that such comments and looks won’t come, as evidenced by the fact that on my way home, a man blocked my path, hovered about a foot away, made a move like he was going to walk away, then turned back with his hand out, making to grab my chest. He didn’t; instead he laughed and kept walking, while I told him to fuck off.

    Good times.

    Ms. Valenti’s memoir includes some similar stories, although her focus tends to be on her actions and reactions not necessarily to specific instances, but on how those instances are part of a larger, non-stop cacophony of shit that women deal with. Teachers who turn out to be creepers. Authority figures who don’t take threats to women seriously. Men who rape unconscious women but don’t really see anything wrong with it (*cough* Brock Turner *cough*), men who whip out their penises on subways or rub up against women on subways to get off (I, like Ms. Valenti, have experienced both of these things as well). Her own way of navigating this world involved drugs (mostly cocaine, and pot) and sex, at least as she has highlighted in this memoir. It follows her from youth through your daughter’s birth and beyond; however, I don’t think it actually really is fully chronological, although I could be wrong.

    I believe I understand what Ms. Valenti was going for in framing her memoir this way, but I’m not entirely sure this book is successful in that regard. Each individual essay is mostly okay, although they all jump around in tenses so often that I actually did find myself having trouble understanding them at times. The topic areas and what she said will likely stick with me, but the organization of this memoir made it hard for me to really feel like I was connecting to the material, or to the author. I adore Ms. Valenti’s writings – Full Frontal Feminism and The Purity Myth are two of my favorite books – but this one won’t be added to that list.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Sex Object is not at all the book I thought it was going to be but I'm not entirely sure what I expected either. I had read Valenti's book Full Frontal Feminism a while back and had a sense of her style of feminism and that how she feels about the way women relate to men. Of course, not all feminism is about men but they are the half of the population and we need them for procreation.

    Still, I'm pretty sure I missed the "memoir" part of this book for a long time and thought it was another feminist commentary on the titled subject, which I am very interested in. There is a lot out there about the way women are viewed as sex objects and Valenti does get into it a bit in Full Frontal Feminism but I figured she had just dedicated the whole book to it this time. She is one of those writers for me that I'm always willing to see what she has to say. I don't perfectly agree with everything she says (change your name if you want to) but I do get what she's saying in a lot of ways and appreciate her point of view.

    Nevertheless, this is a memoir, not a feminist commentary on being treated like we were created specifically for the male gaze and usage by men. In the book, Valenti recounts all the ways she was made to feel like a sex object by those around her. The problem with the book and the title is that her experience is not that unique among women. Pervy teacher who just wants a hug for a good grade? Flashed or catcalled on the street? Talked about as if your sole reason for being is how much someone wants to have sex with you?

    Yep. I have either had similar experiences or known at least one person personally that has had it. These are not little pieces of the universe that Valenti happened to stumble onto because she was a slut or something. These are all a part of the female experience and what makes it obvious that we are still sex objects in a lot of ways to a lot of men. Even men who don't really believe women to be just sex objects will refer to us as such when we've pissed them off. And apologize profusely to the women in the room that they don't mean us, in my experience. Because it's the worst thing they can call women and there's really something wrong with that. Why is my worth directly correlated to whether or not you want to have sex me and whether or not I'm willing to? And why does that only last insofar as it's appropriate for me to want to?

    This is why we feminists call it a rigged system against us so much. It is. The experiences Valenti talks about in this book are all reasons why I love the idea of the Slut Walk and Reclaim the Night. All those things about women that so directly correlate our value to someone's views of who we should be having sex with, who we should want to have sex with, and whether or not we will have sex with them need to be eliminated.

    Well, there are two ways to equalize any given number, though. We can lower the one number to the other (as in men can stop looking at us this way) or raise the lower number up to meet the other, as in we could constantly reduce men to sex objects. They say they'll like it, but just as Valenti points out in the book, they don't really know what they're talking about. They like it when an available, attractive woman ogles them a bit in a way that doesn't feel threatening. The problem is that we are constantly assaulted by the more threatening kind of gaze in these circumstances. It's the kind of look that makes men worry about what happens to them in jail. Yeah, I don't really want to do that either. I've seen it happen, though, and I've known plenty of guys who are not in the habit of doing this, so maybe it will equalize one day....

    I'm not really counting on it happening in my lifetime, but I have hope for the new generation. I borrowed the audiobook from my library, read by the author. Click on the cover to be redirected to Booklikes for purchase options or add it to Goodreads for later. While I think most women would enjoy the book, I want men to read it so they can see what we're talking about better when we say things like "women are treated like sex objects".

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)
    I always hate it when I read a feminist book that I don’t like, because I feel awful for rating it.

    I will say however that the reasons I didn’t like it is very likely because:

    a. The writing style didn’t appeal to me, and
    b. I just (luckily) couldn’t personally identify with anything of what she wrote.

    Reason I appreciate having read it:

    - I certainly gained insight into other female experiences (particularly the one of voluptuous girls using public transport in NY, that really had me both surprised and disgusted. There are some sick men out there.)