Jessica Valenti

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Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti
Valenti in 2007
Born (1978-11-01) November 1, 1978 (age 40)
New York City, New York, U.S.
ResidenceJamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater
Known forFounder of Feministing
Andrew Golis (m. 2009)

Jessica Valenti (/vəˈlɛnti/; born November 1, 1978)[1] is an American feminist writer.[2] 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.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Valenti was raised in Long Island City, Queens, in an Italian-American family.[1][4] She graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City in 1996[5][6] and attended Tulane University in New Orleans for a year, and then transferred to State University of New York at Purchase, where in 2000 she graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism.[7] In 2002, Valenti received a master's degree in Women's and Gender Studies with a concentration in politics from Rutgers University.[8]


After graduating from college, Valenti worked for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and for the Women's Environment & Development Organization. She wrote a blog for NARAL Pro-Choice America and also taught at Rutgers University from 2008 to 2010.[5]


In April 2004, Valenti co-founded Feministing with her sister and a friend while she was working at the National Organization for Women's legal defense fund (now Legal Momentum).[9][10][11] 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.[12]

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 involvement 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.[13]

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?"[14]

Valenti left the site in February 2011, saying she wanted it to remain a place for younger feminists.[15]


In 2007, Valenti wrote Full Frontal Feminism, where she discusses the ways in which readers can benefit from being feminists.[16]

In 2008, Valenti published He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.[17]

In 2008, Valenti was the co-editor of a Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape with Jaclyn Friedman. The anthology featured a foreword by comedian Margaret Cho.

In 2009, Valenti published (via Seal Press) The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, about the way ideals about women's sexuality are being used to weaken women's rights.[1] A documentary film based on the book, called The Purity Myth, was released in 2011 by the Media Education Foundation.[18]

In 2012, Valenti published Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness.[19][20][21]

In 2016, Valenti published Sex Object: A Memoir with the Dey Street imprint of Morrow.[22][23][24] The book was a memoir, a departure from Valenti's prior books.[25][26]

Also in 2016, one of the Podesta emails mentions, alongside Valenti's name, a column she was writing for The Guardian.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

Valenti's writing has appeared in Diane Mapes' Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness (2007), Melody Berger's We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists (2008), and Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan's book, Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists (2010).

Her work has appeared in Ms., The Washington Post, AlterNet, as well as other publications. Valenti wrote for The Nation from 2008 to 2014.[33] Since 2014, Valenti has written regularly for The Guardian, where she is a columnist.[3]


Valenti has been the target of online threats throughout her career.[26] In a 2006 blog article by Liz Funks at The Huffington Post, Funks wrote about online attacks made about Valenti after a group photo that included Valenti at a luncheon with former President Bill Clinton went viral, focusing on her outfit.[14]

In July 2016, Valenti announced she was taking a break from social media after receiving rape and death threats aimed at her then five-year-old daughter. On Twitter, Valenti denounced the harassment as unacceptable. Immediately after that, Valenti made her Instagram account private.[34]

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, Valenti married Andrew Golis, former deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo, and as of 2016, general manager of Vox Media.[4][35] The couple have one daughter, born in 2011.[36]


Works and publications[edit]



Selected publications[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Wood, Gaby; Valenti, Jessica (May 10, 2009). "The interview: Jessica Valenti". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Solomon, Deborah (November 13, 2009). "The Blogger and Author on the Life of Women Online". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Kolker, Gennady (March 12, 2014). "Feminist writer and author Jessica Valenti joins Guardian US" (Press release). The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b Lane, Dakota (October 15, 2009). "Jessica Valenti and Andrew Golis - Weddings and Celebrations". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Bussel, Rachel Kramer; Valenti, Jessica (May 15, 2006). "Jessica Valenti, Executive Editor and Founder,". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008.
  6. ^ Valenti, Jessica (October 6, 2017). "I graduated Stuy in 1996 and remember all of this and how badly they handled accusations. It was gross. I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing". @JessicaValenti. Twitter.
  7. ^ Valenti, Jessica (May 27, 2014). "How to end the college class war". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Alumni Profiles - M.A.: Jessica Valenti". Rutgers University. May 2002. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  9. ^ Valenti, Jessica (December 21, 2009). "A Big Think Interview With Jessica Valenti - Video" (Video interview, including transcript). Big Think.
  10. ^ Traister, Rebecca; Valenti, Jessica (April 24, 2007). "Tough titties". Salon.
  11. ^ Oliveira, Rebeca (September 23, 2011). "Feminist icon moves to JP". Jamaica Plain Gazette.
  12. ^ a b Khaleeli, Homa (March 8, 2011). "Top 100 Women: Jessica Valenti". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Blackstock, Kymberly (March 1, 2010). "Media Reviews: A Selection of Feminist Blogs". Women & Language. 33 (1).
  14. ^ a b Funk, Liz (October 12, 2006). "Feministing: Feminist? Or Just -Ing?". The Huffington Post.
  15. ^ Valenti, Jessica (February 2, 2011). "Farewell, Feministing". Feministing.
  16. ^ Colbert, Stephen; Valenti, Jessica (June 5, 2007). "Jessica Valenti" (Video interview). The Colbert Report. Comedy Central.
  17. ^ Schillinger, Liesl (July 13, 2008). "Reviewing 'Save the Males' and 'He's a Stud, She's a Slut'". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "The Purity Myth". Media Education Foundation. 2011.
  19. ^ Goudreau, Jenna (September 5, 2012). "Why Have Kids? Exposing The Motherhood Paradox". Forbes.
  20. ^ Sandler, Lauren (August 25, 2012). "Review of "Why Have Kids?" By Jessica Valenti". The Boston Globe.
  21. ^ Marcotte, Amanda (September 21, 2012). "Why Parents Need Childless People Like Me". Slate.
  22. ^ Bates, Laura (March 14, 2016). "Nonfiction Book Review: Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti". Publishers Weekly.
  23. ^ Zeisler, Andi (June 6, 2016). "Sex Object review – Jessica Valenti shares a story women know all too well". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Quinn, Annalisa (June 12, 2016). "Yes, All Men (And Everyone Else) Need To Read 'Sex Object'". NPR.
  25. ^ Schwiegershausen, Erica (April 3, 2015). "The Memoirs of a Sex Object: A Feminist Project". New York.
  26. ^ a b Tortorici, Dayna (June 13, 2016). "'Sex Object: A Memoir' and 'Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman'". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Vladimirov, Nikita (October 21, 2016). "Emails show Clinton camp's plans to work with writers to hit Sanders". The Hill.
  28. ^ Halper, Daniel (October 21, 2016). "Clinton camp coordinated with liberal bloggers on Sanders attacks". The New York Post.
  29. ^ Peterson, Lauren (January 20, 2016). "RE: "establishment"". Wikileaks.
  30. ^ Sources agree the column was: Valenti, Jessica (January 22, 2016). "Bernie Sanders must deliver more than platitudes about abortion". The Guardian.
  31. ^ Vladimirov cites Valenti's response: "@JessicaValenti 10:17 AM - 21 Oct 2016". Twitter (verified). October 21, 2016.
  32. ^ For background see: Benen, Steve (January 20, 2016). "Bernie Sanders takes a risky shot at the 'establishment'". MSNBC.
  33. ^ Valenti, Jessica (April 7, 2014). "An Appreciative Goodbye". The Nation.
  34. ^ Boggioni, Tom (July 27, 2016). "Prominent feminist writer drops off social media after rape threat against her 5-year-old daughter". RawStory.
  35. ^ Lichterman, Joseph (September 26, 2016). "This: hires Andrew Golis as its first general manager". Nieman Lab.
  36. ^ Valenti, Jessica (August 18, 2011). "Learning to love my baby". The Guardian.
  37. ^ "Announcing the Results of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards" (Press release). Independent Publisher. Independent Publisher. 2010.
  38. ^ Strauss, Elissa (April 20, 2011). "Sidney Hillman Foundation Announces 2011 Prizes Exemplary Reporting Fosters Social and Economic Issues: Awards Ceremony May 19th in New York City" (Press release). Hillman Foundation.
  39. ^ "PPFA Media Award Recipients 2014: Commentary". Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 2014.

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