Feminism Book Tip: “sex object” by Jessica Valenti

In her essay collection, sex object tells the American feminist Jessica Valenti as it is, as a woman in a society to grow up, who despised women. And shows, what power have personal stories.

To make it clear: sex object is not a book that you should read if you want – relax on the beach, evening before going to bed. Sex object is in places that pretty angry, stunned, sad. And that makes this book so good.

Sex object is a collection of Biographical essays of American Jessica Valenti. She has founded the well-known American blog Feministing in 2004. Valenti worked for a women’s organization and found that young feminists were excluded from the feminist discourse. So, the idea for Feministing, a blog by and for young feminists. Today, Valenti is a sought-after speaker, writes as a columnist for the American edition of the guardian, and has published several books on feminist topics. Sex object is so far most personal work and sits for what it means to grow up in a society that despises the women apart. Right at the beginning, Jessica Valenti asks: “Who would I be if I didn’t live in a world that hated woman?”

Represent things as they are

An answer is not the book. Also, how could it? Valenti told loosely chronological assault-teachers, erect penises, which presses on the subway back to them, to be worthless – abortion and motherhood, by the feeling, and a sexual encounter that was clearly a rape. The relevant chapter is simply grilled cheese: “I have never called this assault,” writes Valenti, “I’m not really sure why. “As a feminist writer i’ve encouraged others to name the thing that happened to them so our stories can be laid bare.” It adds: “I know that if any young woman told me the story same I would not hesitate to call it what it is. I don’t know why I don’t allow myself the same courtesy.” The rape would have made it another human being, says Valenti. She was just something that happened and was hooked by it. Shows the description: the victim role must not be at the cost of an identity, she can be the result of facts also easy. The chapter is exemplary for valentis approach. Their goal is not to provide answers, figures and Statistics analysis. She wants to find, hold, to represent things as they are — without theoretical base.

“Who would I be if I didnt live in a world that hated woman?”

Valentis experiences are personal, and she repeatedly stressed that she do not want to assume, to generalize. Nevertheless, sex object raises questions which women worldwide can identify with. Especially the after effect of the daily sexism, then, what is it with girls and women if them time and time again is mediated, that they are not subjects, no people. What is it with us if this dealing with women as normal and inevitable. There’s more: If not of men is that they change – but careful girls and women, that they avoid these dangerous situations, are expected. For Jessica Valenti, which ever is the biggest myth: that sexual harassment, sexual violence, and a generally derogatory use is avoided with women, if women are only learning to respond to it properly. Men, so Valenti, would not understand how it is to live “that attracts a particular kind of attention with magnetic force” in a body.

Feminists know not automatically “better”

Valentis sound is often melancholic, resigned. In several places it is clear how much she struggles with her being a feminist. So, what it means to be with expectations to deal, in particular by other feminists and women a feminist standing in public. Valenti thinks he’s in many ways a “good feminist”: there would be for example the thing with the rape or their need to be of men liked. There would be the humor with which she met long trolls and sexist insults on the Internet – Yes not the stereotype of the Bitch Feminist use, always in a good mood and be accessible. Sex object makes it clear that a feminist consciousness is not immune to sexism that feminists just don’t automatically “better know it” – they are just part of this society and as such often helpless.

Sex object is not a book that gives hope. On the contrary. Sex object offers no solutions, no ‘girl power’-slogans, all somehow set can. It is a book that tells what it’s like. And just that makes it so moving and important. Too often women said their stories were unimportant, I-related. The strength of sex object is exactly such supposedly individual stories to tell. Because the personal is still political.

To the pure trial: the guardian has published an excerpt of sex object. Sex object is available in Germany only on Amazon.

Collage: book cover „ sex object “ and illustration Feministing.

Julia Korbik (* 1988) lives as a freelance journalist and writer in Berlin. 2014 published her book stand up. Feminism for beginners and advanced (Rogner & Bernhard). Julia is founder and competent editor of mind the gap, the gender section of the six-speaking Europe Online Magazine Café Babel. On her blog Oh, Simone is all about the French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.

All articles by Julia at a glance.