Street harassment is never out of season, of course, and is not restricted to any particular country; a recent survey by ActionAidUK found that three out of four women in the UK, India, Thailand and Brazil have experienced some form of street harassment. In tracing her life from early adolescence up to the present, Valenti connects the dots between her sexual self-image and her psychological one in an eminently readable voice that ranges from briskly self-critical to deeply frustrated to sentimental. This last is most in evidence when she expresses the desire to protect her young daughter from similar experiences. The guy on the subway pressing his erection on to you in a too-crowded-to-move subway car. The one who whispers what he wants to do to you as you pass on the street, an ephemeral moment that can cling like grime. But though her experiences may not align directly with those of, say, young women in India, or Russia or rural America, the central question she asks —what do we lose when we grow up believing sexual objectification is normal, unremarkable and expected?
In her honest and incisive memoir Shrill, Lindy West examines internet culture and body image through a feminist lens. Going with the idea that the personal is political, those involved with women's liberation often write first-person narratives of their lives and work. Author and journalist Jessica Valenti writes of the psychological effects of sexism in her memoir Sex Object. From her family history of abuse to the obscene things said and done to her on … more.
Jessica Valentin's memoir is a great addition to any feminist collection. It's fast paced with short chapters so one could easily read this in a weekend. While her experiences are valid, its hard say its good representation of women who struggle with being labeled as "sex objects". Her memoir goes from her learning about her mother's experience with sexual violence and then it goes into how naive she was about the topic in middle school and how she didn't think boys can like her for anything other than her personality. It hard to tell if this part was told out of order or if she completely ignored her mother as a child.