A belated Lit Thursday today, and I’d like to talk about one of the books I read on my vacation “Sex Object” by Jessica Valenti. This short nonfiction is a feminist memoir discussing instances in the author’s life when she felt objectified.
Valenti grew up in New York and so her experiences are quite severe, from having teachers hit on her, to being masturbated on in the subway. She also goes into depth about motherhood and discusses her struggles as a mother raising a young daughter.
Overall I liked this book, but I had some issues with it. I grew up in an average sized Canadian town, so I found some of her experiences very hard to relate to. I’m not saying her perspectives or experiences are any less valid, but reading about such intense objectification I can’t help but read it like a novel and not like a memoir. I identified a lot when she discussed catcalling and how she experienced more catcalling as a young girl, but her discussion on motherhood was another aspect I had a hard time relating to.
My other issue with this novel is the way Valenti discusses these instances. Each chapter is chalked full of instances of objectification that read almost like a checklist of times in her life she has been objectified, but after and instance she doesn’t really discuss it, she simply moves on to another experience. I would have loved to have some sort of discussion or question posed at the end of a chapter, or perhaps a discussion of how she thinks her experiences are different than those around the world.
All in all, as my co worker said “it’s a good intro feminist novel”, and I agree with that. Don’t expect a detailed discussion, but this book will for sure get you thinking.
Have a great day!