Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti
  • Born: November 1, 1978
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Writer

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Jessica Valenti is an American feminist writer. She was one of the founders of the Feministing blog, which she wrote for from 2004 to 2011. Valenti is the author of five books: Full Frontal Feminism (2007), He's a Stud, She's a Slut (2008), The Purity Myth (2009), Why Have Kids? (2012), and Sex Object: A Memoir (2016). She co-edited the book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (2008). Since 2014 Valenti has been a columnist at The Guardian.

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A huge part of keeping women in their place has to do with creating a really limited definition of what a 'real' woman is like. And a ton of that what-makes-a-woman nonsense is attached to motherhood. Apparently, by virtue of having ovaries and a uterus, women are automatic mommies or mommies-to-be. Women
As a kid, I wasn't sure that I would ever get married - I was not the kind of little girl who played at being a bride.
As I grew up and began identifying myself as a feminist, there were plenty of issues that continued to make me question marriage: the father 'giving' the bride away, women taking their husband's last name, the white dress, the vows promising to 'obey' the groom. And that only covers the wedding. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Women ;Families, Children & Parenting
Bra-burning never happened. It was completely made up by the media. A couple of women protesting a Miss America pageant threw some bras into a garbage can, and somehow that became this longstanding idea of feminists as bra-burners. Women
Child-rearing can be a tedious and thankless undertaking.
Dismissing socialization and gender roles as piddling compared to this amorphous idea of 'maternal imperative' is part of the reason progress is stalled for family-friendly policies.
Even the notion that women should have children at all is based on the idea that a woman's inherent and most important role is that of mother. Shockingly, men's 'innate' roles are a lot more fun than the ones bestowed on women. Women
Feminism isn't simply about being a woman in a position of power. It's battling systemic inequities; it's a social justice movement that believes sexism, racism and classism exist and interconnect, and that they should be consistently challenged. Power
Hearing the Beastie Boys speak out against sexism made me feel like if these men who had once sung about getting girls to 'do the laundry' and 'clean up my room' could understand, maybe the rest of the world would follow suit. It made me hopeful in the best way.
How insulting is it to suggest the best thing women can do is raise other people to do incredible things? Women
I grew up in Long Island City. When I was growing up, my parents owned a women's clothing store in Queens. It was for older women. I got my bras there, until I realized I didn't want those huge, taupe bras. Everything was beige, with massive amounts of hooks. Women
I hope that by modeling feminism in my own life, work and relationships that it will haut become an organic part of my daughter's life. But I'm also fully prepared for her to become a Republican as a way to rebel as a teenager - that would be just my luck! Life ;Hope ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I kind of love that there's not really a feminist canon; or maybe there is, but it's being changed, that it's a constantly moving canon in the feminist blogosphere. I love that. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I revisit old favorites like 'Buffy' and 'Battlestar Galactica' when I'm bored. I am obsessed with 'Scandal.' I love TV. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I think day care is terrific. Kids get to be around other kids, and they're playing, and they're teaching each other. When I was in college, my summer job was being a preschool teacher. I loved it, and after that experience, I said I can't wait to put my kid in day care because I could see how much they loved it. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I think talking is as casual as blogging, and sometimes writing can be as casual as talking. My informal writing style is a political choice, because I want feminism to be more accessible.
I think that the ideal of parenting can make people unhappy. It's that this lie that they're being told by society that parenting is one thing - and when parenting is something completely different - that's what makes them unhappy. Society ;Families, Children & Parenting
If feminism wasn't powerful, if feminism wasn't influential, people wouldn't spend so much time putting it down. Time
In 2008, I was one of the young feminist whippersnappers who voted for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries - or as many of my older counterparts called me at the time, a traitor. Time
In 'The Purity Myth,' I not only discuss what the purity myth is and reveal its consequences for women, but also outline a new way for us to think about young women as moral actors, one that doesn't include their bodies. Women
It's become impossible to enjoy most quality television shows because the hurt or endangered women device is so frequently used. Women
It's not always easy being a full-time feminist - especially as a young woman - when you're constantly being told that what you do is irrelevant. I'm on the defense all the time. Time
I've seen straight, partnered women explain their decision to stay at home by noting that childcare would have taken too much out of their paycheck - as if this cost was just theirs to bear! Women
My parents have a wonderful marriage, but they have been together since my mother was 12, married when they were just teenagers and are barely ever separated. They even work together. As a result, I have always thought of marriage as involving the loss of a certain amount of autonomy. Families, Children & Parenting ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
My problem with the wedding industry started when I studied in college and liked to have the television on in the background, and 'A Wedding Story' on TLC always came on, and I'd get irritated that the story of two people making a lifelong commitment to each other could be encapsulated in a half-hour show about the party they throw. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Once you get married, women are still implicitly expected to do the majority of the housework and take care of any future children. Women ;Future
One of the difficult things, especially about blogging, is that you put all of your personal out there, into the political. And what's been difficult, for me at least, is trying to keep some of the personal for myself.
People ask me a lot, 'Well, can you be pro-life and be feminist? Can you be conservative and be feminist?' And I think that, yeah, maybe personally you can be those things. But I think if you're advocating for legislation, or if you're fighting to limit other women's rights, then you can't really call yourself a feminist. Women
Social media is not just another way to connect feminist and activist voices - it amplifies our messages as well.
The implications of likability are long-lasting and serious. Women adjust their behavior to be likable and as a result have less power in the world. And this desire to be liked and accepted goes beyond the boardroom - it's an issue that comes up for women in their personal lives as well, especially as they become more opinionated and outspoken. Women ;Power
The only purpose of an engagement ring is to show you 'belong' to someone, and your man makes bank.
The stereotypes of feminists as ugly, or man-haters, or hairy, or whatever it is - that's really strategic. That's a really smart way to keep young women away from feminism, is to kind of put out this idea that all feminists hate men, or all feminists are ugly; and that they really come from a place of fear. Women
The truth about parenting is that the reality of our lives needs to be enough. Truth ;Families, Children & Parenting
The truth is that we don't need everyone to like us; we need a few people to love us. Because what's better than being roundly liked is being fully known - an impossibility both professionally and personally if you're so busy being likable that you forget to be yourself. Truth ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The widely held belief that the heterosexual nuclear family is best for children has long been used as a smoke screen for homophobia and as a talking point to quash marriage-equality efforts. Families, Children & Parenting
There have been women who stumbled across Feministing randomly, through a bizarre Google search or something, and had no idea what feminism was. They thought it was something older women do, or bought into the hairy bra-burning man-hating stereotype 100 percent. Anything that deviates from that is very exciting for them. Women
There is no public space for women; the whole world is a prison where you have to be constantly aware at all times that you're a potential victim. What's more terrifying is that it's not necessarily preventative. Women
There is something to be said for the power of figureheads. After Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, a record number of countries posted female ambassadors to the U.S. - some of whom have dubbed this 'the Hillary effect.' Power
There's no one right way to parent, and there's no magic combination of genders that produces the most well-adjusted child. We all do the best we can at loving our kids and building our families.
There's something really terrible about having your BlackBerry next to your bed or having your laptop in the living room when you're talking to someone. The biggest source of stress in my life is the screen, the blogging. Life
Wanting to be liked means being a supporting character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control. Life
Wedding fever is one of the scariest diseases I have ever seen. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
When I started blogging in 2004, I responded to every comment no matter how nasty the reader was. I was generally polite, believing that these critics would be so charmed by my professionalism that they would see the error of their misogynist ways and swiftly run out to read a bell hooks book. Ha!
When you ask most American parents why they want to have kids, it's to bring more joy into their lives. So, when you don't feel that all-encompassing joy, it must be that something is wrong with you. I think it's dissatisfaction that the expectation was different than the reality.
Whether it's repro rights, violence against women, or just plain old vanilla sexism, most issues affecting women have one thing in common - they exist to keep women 'in their place.' To make sure that we're acting 'appropriately,' whatever that means. Women
Women are brought up to believe you are going to be the better parent and you know what's best. I don't think that's necessarily true. As much as we have to ask men to step it up, we have to take a look at ourselves and be willing to give up some of that parental power. Women ;Power
You come to a point where you give up on holding yourself to a perfect feminist ideal - it just feels stifling.