Jessica Valenti takes Sex Object down an ambivalent route

Jessica Valenti is a US-based columnist for The Guardian, a mother, wife, author and founder of the long-running website If her fifth book, Sex Object: A Memoir, is anything to go by, the role she most publicly self-identifies with is “feminist”.

Sex Object is Valenti’s first foray into memoir. Openly trepidatious about the process of moving into the realm of the personal essay, she comes across as ambivalent, though it is a frustrated, careful ambivalence. Because rage, as she notes, is almost always considered negative when aligned with the feminist movement. While she may have been tentative and selective with her omissions and inclusions here, she’s definitely not shy in dropping the ‘‘loaded’’ f-word when referring to herself.

As the deliberately provocative title makes clear, Sex Object primarily focuses on Valenti’s experience as a sexually objectified woman. There is an assumption the reader is familiar with Valenti’s work (“as a feminist”), so is seeking insight into how certain elements of her life have shaped her.

Read the rest at The Australian.


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