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Sex Object

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  9,817 ratings  ·  1,226 reviews
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 every day to the existential.

Sex Object explores the painful, funny, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescen
Published June 7th 2016 by HarperAudio
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,817 ratings  ·  1,226 reviews

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Ashton Kessler
I hate when people rate books before they have even come out, but to the guy who rated it one star: fuck you.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016, memoir
I've had a hard time parsing what I think about this book, because Valenti says so many important things that need to be said; I've wanted to support its project, and I've wanted to make sure my ultimate ambivalence to it isn't some kind of backwards blaming of her or it for her reporting of the revolting things done and said to her. Large parts of the book made me feel like I needed a shower, or like I'd walked out my front door: it's not so much that she's revealing uncommon experiences as tha ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Yeesh. I had a really difficult time with this book. I can blame some of my reaction to extremely high expectations...but only some. Other reviewers have been pretty articulate about the flaws of the book. I agree that it feels extremely haphazard and at the same time oddly flat. She presents her experiences without any kind of "big picture" element. Unfortunately, in seemingly letting her experiences speak for themselves, they end up feeling instead like an unrelenting litany of misery--of unha ...more
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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SEX OBJECT is an interesting book, partially because of what it contains but also partially because of how I think people are going to react to it. If you skimmed through it, you might say, "Oh, it's just another one of those self-effacing memoirs of a woman relating all of her sexual encounters." But that makes it too easy to dismiss this book - and it shouldn't be dismissed.

I know "microaggressions" is a loaded word with some people, but
Jenny (Reading Envy)
As a voice, Jessica Valenti is honest, unflinching, and insightful. As a memoir, this suffers a bit from a lack of cohesion and overall story arc. I almost wish it had been revised into a book of essays, because I think it would have worked better that way.

The first section has some candid remarks on everyday sexism, the long-ranging effects of sexual assault, and the conflict between trauma and empowerment.
"Despite the preponderance of evidence showing the mental and emotional distress people
Whitney Atkinson
This is my first book by Jessica Valenti, but hopefully the first of many! I've been interested in her writing since I found Full Frontal Feminism, but I was excited to read this book by her in particular because memoir is more familiar to me, and the first chapter of this is stunning.

I ended up reading this entire book in a few hours. I love Valenti's observations of sexual objectification and not only how it perpetuates misogyny, but it also causes women to devalue themselves and normalize ab
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like getting a chicken bone caught in your throat. It’s very uncomfortable, but points to a reality that needs to be understood and dealt with fast.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sex Object is a powerful memoir, worth reading/listening to.

Early on, Valenti lets us know that this is not an inspirational, motivational, "here's the silver lining" kind of book, that, apparently, women, feminists, in particular, are expected to bestow, otherwise, they're just "whiny" and/or "victims" and we can't possibly have that, can we? Valenti dared to be different, and just tell her story, in the form of essays. I liked that.

I personally related to some aspects discussed in the book, an
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The F-Word
I had been looking forward to reading this for a while, since it came out and made its way onto my radar, though with reservations. I like Jessica Valenti. I think she does a lot of good and has great things to say about contemporary feminism for the most part. I was excited to read a book on her thoughts about being a sex object, which, as she points out, is a role every woman falls into at some point in their lives, whether they choose to be or not. It's a role that is chosen for us. The fact ...more
Book Riot Community
This collection of essays about womanhood and the impact of living in a body that is constantly sexualized rocked my world. It is a heartbreakingly accurate portrayal of the daily experience many of us face while living in a female body, and felt especially relevant to read right about now. I listened to it on audio, and Jessica Valenti does a great job as a reader. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, because I think it sheds a lot of light on what are unfortunately not terribly ...more
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So. Hmm.

I read Lindy West's Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman breathlessly and ravenously. It feels unfair to compare these two books, because what is similar about these women? That they wrote a memoir and they happen to be awesome feminist women?

But the truth is, I couldn't separate the two books. And I relate to West in a way I just can't relate to Valenti. And those two facts made me like this book less than I liked Shrill.

It's possible that at any other time, I would have really loved this
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
[3.4 stars] This is an engaging, somewhat uneven memoir about growing up female and becoming a mother. I really appreciated Valenti's unflinching honesty about herself. I think she is incredibly brave - especially given the hostile emails and social media comments she shared at the end of the book. Valenti is proof that you don't have to live up to some impossible, superwoman ideal to be a feminist and make a difference.
Rachel Smalter Hall
I've really enjoyed Jessica Valenti's work over the years and was excited to check out her memoir. I was surprised by how uncomfortable and raw it is, but it's also fascinating!

If there's an underlying thread, I think it would be that Valenti, like most women, has been objectified her entire life, with a staggering number of disgusting anecdotes to drive home the point. The pervy stories in the book started to feel excessive, until I stopped to consider how every woman could come up with just as
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately I didn't care for this book. I don't know what exactly I was expecting but as a whole, I was left disappointed. There were 2-3 select statements in the book that I read and thought "yes!" but other than that... not sure what to say. I had a hard time seeing where it was going - it felt like the book should be building up to something, but that just didn't happen.

While I realize the author's interactions with men shaped her way of thinking and sometimes impacted her actions, a larg
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me angry. Or, rather, it reminded me the multitude of reasons why I SHOULD feel angry. Why I should feel frustrated and hurt by society’s treatment of women. Jessica Valenti refuses to sugarcoat what women deal with in a patriarchal society, and her feminism is a bitter pill to swallow. Here are concrete examples and anecdotes of one woman’s daily experiences with sexism, misogyny and microaggressions. This book was a difficult read, but a necessary one. Everybody (especially men! ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Jessica Valenti makes no excuses for the language she uses or for the principles in which she believes. From the stories she tells about her childhood and the years beyond, she's been dealing with chauvinism and men who are pigs for decades. She is not alone. I could absolutely relate to some, although not all, of her essays.

As a grandmother, I don't spend much time thinking about the times I've been groped or had men expose themselves to me. But it has happened multiple times. Listening to the
May 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has some good things to say about the horrible ways some men treat women and how women don't feel they have the right to stand up for themselves. Other than that, it's not really a coherent narrative and I didn't really get her point in the end.
May Watson
"I started to ask myself: who would I be if I didn't live in a world that hated women? I've been unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, but I did realise that I've long been mourning this version of myself that never existed."

Thanks to Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair review!

Jessica Valenti has been a prolific name in the online feminist community for over a decade now and her memoir does not disappoint. The title leaps right out at you,
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Men should be required to read this book, because we need to know. Women should read this book to compare notes. This book is full of pain. It will make you hate, but we have to get beyond hate if we will ever find enlightenment. Be careful of being judgmental when reading Sex Object, because you will regret it. If you are quick to judge others, turn to the back of this book first and read "Endnotes (2008-2015)" before starting it. The Guardian reports that Valenti was the #1 receiver of hate em ...more
I wish I could like this more because it seems like something I should get behind, but (here we go), it is so poorly edited it is hard to read. It seems like Valenti wrote a bunch of anecdotes down on separate pieces of paper, jumbled them in a pile, and then assembled them as one document in the order that she found them.

There's a section that starts with talking about how her parents had really violent childhoods, like when her dad chased a thief out of his house with a hammer and how her mom
"They called it an emergency c-section but still found the time to shave my vagina."

snazzy cover ✔
catchy title ✔
1.99 ebook deal ✔

The positives end here. Valenti tries WAY too hard to create shock value when it makes no sense and is not necessary. I'm not a fan.
Maggie Gordon
I've had to sit and think about this book for a few days. It's not very good. I wish there was an exact middle rating on Goodreads because I would stick Sex Object in the 2.5 star category. It's not a badly written book or an uninteresting book; but it's certainly a confused book.

Jessica Valenti starts by setting up Sex Object as a call-out against men's objectification of women. This is familiar ground for her given her background as founder of, and her previous books as well.
I'm really struggling with rating this one - I wanted to love it and give it 5 stars. And yet, it didn't quite meet my expectations so I'm giving the entire thing a 3 star but some of the content deserves something closer to 5 stars.

Jessica Valenti put to words a great deal of the things that women in general can relate to and have frankly experienced. She spoke to me in so many ways. She doesn't downplay the crude and disgusting experiences that we experience as women every day. She tells the
Julie Zantopoulos
I listened to this book in audio format and enjoyed hearing it from the authors own voice. That said, I didn't love this book. It was fine, it was good, but I felt like it could have been more. I didn't realize at first this was memoir more than a book about women being objectified when I first started it. I would have preferred the latter so it isn't the fault of the book or author that I didn't like it as much as I thought I would going in.

I found the sections to be disjointed. Jessica would
Vikki VanSickle
Whoo boy what a book. I devoured this is one sitting, feel alternately vindicated and horrified at Valenti's experience just being a woman in the world, not to mention a woman on the internet. She is candid, funny, self-deprecating, and angry. The afterward alone, a series of hateful tweets, emails and messages she has received is a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do as we stumble towards equality.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in about two hours. Very engaging. Wish I could require young men and women to read a few of the chapters. I've always loved nonfiction that follows Lester Bangs' dictum: "be honest and unmerciful."

Disturbing to read as a father but necessary, I think. Should help me raise my sons and daughters to be happier and healthier.
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short but potent - how would your life be as a woman if you didn't live a world that hated you?

Full review here.
Laura Noggle
~ Middle of the road pop-fem-lit-lite, stream of consciousness, NYT bestseller. ~

This was my first introduction to Jessica Valenti, and while I'm not sure if I'll continue on to Full Frontal Feminism, my interest was piqued enough to look up her articles. She is an active feminist writer, and founder of the award winning blog

Although not a bad book per se, it was rather rambly and disjointed, providing brief snapshots of Valenti's thoughts and experiences throughout the years.
Sex Object is a book that needs to be written. Why do we objectify women (and men)? What can we do about this?

This was not the book. When reading, I often felt like I needed to wash my hands. I cringed. I felt dirty and used, as much for Jessica Valenti as for myself.

The essays in the first part are repetitive – that's the point – only the names and places change. Valenti outlines the many ways that men – peers, strangers, teachers, dates – used and objectified her. She described the ways that
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biannual Bibliothon July 14, 2018 - July 20, 2018

Challenge #3 - Book that’s been on my TBR for over a year

This has important topics but I didn’t like how disjointed the stories felt.
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..: Sex Object | Discussion 9 71 Apr 18, 2017 05:02PM  
The F-word: January NON-FICTION selection SEX OBJECT 9 71 Jan 29, 2017 06:26PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #2 Sex Object by Jessica Valenti 2 5 Jan 24, 2017 08:47PM  
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Jessica Valenti is a columnist for the Guardian US and the author of four books on feminism, politics and culture. Her third book, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women, won the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award and was made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation. She is also editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual ...more
“Still, somehow, inexplicably, “man-hater” is a word tossed around with insouciance as if this was a real thing that did harm. Meanwhile we have no real word for men who kill women. Is the word just “men”?” 29 likes
“A high school teacher once told me that identity is half what we tell ourselves and half what we tell other people about ourselves. But the missing piece he didn’t mention—the piece that holds so much weight, especially in the minds of young women and girls—is the stories that other people tell us about ourselves. Those narratives become the ones we shape ourselves into. They’re who we are, even if so much of it is a performance. This” 19 likes
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