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Jessica Valenti in 2014
November 1, 1978 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Education||Master's in Women's and Gender Studies|
|Alma mater||Rutgers University|
|Known for||Founder of Feministing|
|Spouse(s)||Andrew Golis (m. 2009)|
Jessica Valenti (born November 1, 1978) is an American blogger and feminist writer, founder of the Feministing blog in 2004. She is the author or co-author of six books on women's issues: Full Frontal Feminism (2007),[a] Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (2008) with Jaclyn Friedman,[b] He's a Stud, She's a Slut (2008),[c] The Purity Myth (2009),[d] Why Have Kids (2012),[e] and Sex Object: A Memoir (2016).[f]
Her work has appeared in Ms., The Nation,[i] The Washington Post,[ii][iii] TPMCafe,[iv] Alternet[v] and The Guardian.[vi] In 2011, The Guardian, where Valenti works as a daily columnist, named her as one of their "top 100 women" for her work to bring the feminist movement online.
Valenti was raised in Long Island City, Queens in an Italian American family. Her father was a Buddhist. Valenti graduated from Stuyvesant High School.[α] She received her master's degree in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University.[β] On October 3, 2009, she married Andrew Golis, the deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo.
Writing and blogging
Valenti founded Feministing in 2004,[γ] while she was working at the National Organization for Women's legal defense fund (now Legal Momentum)[γ] Homa Khaleeli writes in The Guardian's top 100 women that the site shifted the feminist movement online, triggering the creation of blogs and discussion groups, creating a heyday for feminism just as its death was being announced, as Khaleeli puts it. She writes that Valenti "felt the full force of being a pioneer," her involvement with the site attracting online abuse, even threats of rape and death.
Kymberly Blackstock included Feministing in her review of feminist blogs, praising them for being "successful in giving a new generation the chance to engage with as well as begin to direct which topics will rise to the top of the feminist agenda". While she criticized Valenti for the blog's lack of involment in global issues. She also writes that blogs like Feministing are helpful in encouraging activism in young people, and allow them to see current events with a feminist lens.
University of Wisconsin–Madison law professor Ann Althouse criticized Feministing in 2006 for its sometimes sexualized content. Erin Matson of the National Organization for Women's Young Feminist Task Force told The Huffington Post the controversy was "a rehashing of a very old debate within the feminist community: is public sexuality empowering or harmful to women?"
Valenti decided to leave the site in February 2011, saying she wanted it to remain a place for younger feminists. Before this, she had been a contributing author to Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan's books Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists (2010),[g] Melody Berger's We Don't Need Another Wave (2008)[h] and Diane Mapes's Single State of the Union (2007).[i]
In 2007, Valenti wrote "Full Frontal Feminism", where she discusses the ways in which readers can benefit from being feminists. Melinda Lewism, of the University of Kansas notes how the book "gives women the license to feel great and do amazing things". She also compliments her in the way she presents feminism as accessible to men and women. In 2014 a second edition of the book was published that included a new foreword.
Valenti authored and self-published "The Purity Myth" in 2009 about the way ideals about women's sexuality are being used to weaken women's rights. A documentary film based on the book was released in 2011. The book also won Valenti an Independent Publisher Award.
In 2008 she co-authored a Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape with Jaclyn Friedman, in 2012 she published Why Have Kids, and in 2016 she published Sex Object: A Memoir.
In the October 2016 Wikileaks release of John Podesta emails, it was revealed that the Hillary Clinton campaign had said they were working with Valenti to write a post criticizing Bernie Sanders in his primary campaign against Clinton. Days later, Valenti began publishing anti-Sanders op-eds in her column in The Guardian, the first being titled "Bernie Sanders must deliver more than platitudes about abortion." In response to the email leaks, Valenti issued a statement saying there had not been collusion, stating: "Like many reporters, I talk to campaign officials but don't coordinate with them."
Valenti has been the target of online threats throughout her career. In a 2006 blog article by The Huffington Post, Liz Funks wrote about the small controversy that generated attacks toward Valenti, after being invited to a luncheon with former President Bill Clinton for bloggers like herself when she was still part of feministing.com. There, she took a group picture, which was subsequently criticized by commenters online due to her outfit. Valenti defended herself in a separate post calling out commenters for focusing on her outfit since she was a young woman.
In July 2016 Valenti announced she was taking a break from social media after receiving rape and death threats aimed at her 5-year-old daughter. In a tweet on July 27, 2016 Valenti recalled the event and denounced it as an unacceptable part of her job. Immediately after that Valenti made her Instagram account private.
- Valenti, Jessica (2007). Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters. Seal Press. ISBN 978-0-7867-5048-1.
- Valenti, Jessica; Friedman, Jaclyn (December 2, 2008). Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape. Seal Press. ISBN 978-0-7867-2705-6.
- Valenti, Jessica (2008). He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. Seal Press. ISBN 9781580052450.
- Valenti, Jessica (2009). The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women. Seal Press. ISBN 0-7867-4466-9.
- Valenti, Jessica (2012). Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth about Parenting and Happiness. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-547-89261-6.
- Valenti, Jessica (2016). Sex Object: A Memoir. Dey Street Books. ISBN 978-0062435088.
- Valenti, Jessica (2010). "I Was an Obnoxious Teenage Feminist". In Martin, Courtney E.; Sullivan, J. Courtney. Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-285-6.
- Valenti, Jessica (2008). "You're a Feminist. Deal.". In Melody, Berger. We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists. Seal Press. ISBN 1-58005-182-0.
- Valenti, Jessica (2007). "The Taming of the Threw". In Mapes, Diane. Single State of the Union. Seal Press. ISBN 1-58005-202-9.
- Valenti, Jessica (May 15, 2006). "Jessica Valenti, Executive Editor and Founder, Feministing.com" (Interview). Interview with Rachel Kramer Bussel. Gothamist.
- Valenti, Jessica (May 10, 2009). "The interview: Jessica Valenti" (Interview). Interview with Gaby Wood. The Observer.
- Valenti, Jessica (April 24, 2007). "Tough titties" (Interview). Interview with Rebecca Traister. Salon.com.
Contributions to websites
- Valenti, Jessica. "Jessica Valenti". The Nation.
- Valenti, Jessica (February 21, 2010). "For women in America, equality is still an illusion". The Washington Post.
- Valenti, Jessica (May 30, 2010). "The fake feminism of Sarah Palin". The Washington Post.
- Valenti, Jessica (November 19, 2008). "Anti-Choicers Switching Up Strategy?". TPM Cafe. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
- Valenti, Jessica. "Stories by Jessica Valenti". Alternet.
- Valenti, Jessica (August 21, 2008). "Jessica Valenti". The Guardian. London.
- Oliveira, Rebeca (September 23, 2011). "Feminist icon moves to JP". Jamaica Plain Gazette.
- Lane, Dakota (October 18, 2009). "Jessica Valenti and Andrew Golis". The New York Times.
- "Jessica Valenti". Women's Media Center. Archived from the original on January 1, 2012.
- Khaleeli, Homa (March 8, 2011). "Jessica Valenti". Top 100 women: writing and academia. The Guardian.
- Blackstock, Kymberly (March 1, 2010). "Blog Review: A Selection of Feminist Blogs". Women & Language. 33.1.
- Funk, Liz (October 12, 2006). "Feministing: Feminist? Or Just -Ing?". The Huffington Post.
- Valenti, Jessica (February 2, 2011). "Farewell, Feministing". feministing.com.
- Lewis, Melinda. "Book Review: Jessica Valenti Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2007. 256 pp. $15.95 (paper) ISBN 978-1580052016". Affilia. doi:10.1177/0886109910375186. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "Full Frontal Feminism". Goodreads. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "The Purity Myth". Media Education Foundation Online Store. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "Announcing the Results of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards". Independent Publisher - feature. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- Boggioni, Tom. "Prominent feminist writer drops off social media after rape threat against her 5-year-old daughter". www.rawstory.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- Chasmar, Jessica (July 27, 2016). "Jessica Valenti, Guardian columnist, quits Twitter over 'rape and death threat' against daughter". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2016-10-07.