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.— Jessica Valenti
The most astonishing Jessica Valenti quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual
Value yourself for what the media doesn't - your intelligence, your street smarts, your ability to play a kick-ass game of pool, whatever. So long as it's not just valuing yourself for your ability to look hot in a bikini and be available to men, it's an improvement.
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.
Men take what women make and claim it as their own.
Men don’t love childrenThey kill them in a heartbeat to hurt a woman
Men in their hearts hate women. It doesn’t matter how much we love them. They hate us”
Yes, the more successful you are—or the stronger, the more opinionated—the less you will be generally liked. All of a sudden people will think you’re too braggy, too loud, too something. But the trade-off is undoubtedly worth it. Power and authenticity are worth it.
It seems odd that we continue to worry about the reputations of men who are accused of sexual wrong-doings.
If your husband is cheating on you, it doesn't mean that you need to get prettier -- it means he's a scumbag.
Present-day American society-whether through pop culture, religion, or institutions-conflates sexuality and morality constantly. Idolizing virginity as a stand-in for women’s morality means that nothing else matters-not what we accomplish, not what we think, not what we care about and work for. Just if/how/whom we have sex with. That’s all.
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.
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.
Given the reality of unintended parenthood and parental unhappiness, one would think that women and men who make the decision not to have children - who are deliberate and thoughtful about the choice to bring another person into the world - would be seen as less selfish than those who unthinkingly have children. Yet the stigma remains.
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.
If you don't identify as a feminist, you're missing out on this whole community that's out there that could really help you with your work, help you with your personal life, and just give you support.
The Internet is the new public space.
And because women are out in public, people don't like that in much the same way that if you're walking down the street you get harassed. I think the same kind of thing happens online, and I think that's why a lot of women are hesitant to put their voice out there.
If there's an article about sexual assault, if there's a video about feminism on YouTube, you're going to get the most horrible, disgusting comments ever. And sometimes the comments are pornographic, and sometimes the comments are really harassing. So I think that it's kind of a difficult place for women to write sometimes.
I think that almost all traditional institutions are sexist, and they're probably racist and homophobic, and they're all of these things. But a lot of them, like marriage, are too embedded into the culture to give up.
Once you get married, women are still implicitly expected to do the majority of the housework and take care of any future children.
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.
I think it is effective when activists work from the margins, and I think that's the best way to go about it. And I do think that it's increasingly being more effective with the work that's being done online, that it is a bit more democratized, that whatever kind of activism is being done, it's not necessarily coming from one centralized place.
Wedding fever is one of the scariest diseases I have ever seen.
People aren't comfortable thinking of women as people.
Like we're not people, we're women, and that means something completely different, especially when you have power.
Making women the sexual gatekeepers and telling men they just can't help themselves not only drives home the point that women's sexuality is unnatural, but also sets up a disturbing dynamic in which women are expected to be responsible for men's sexual behavior.
And really, how insulting is it that to suggest that the best thing women can do is raise other people to do incredible things? I'm betting some of those women would like to do great things of their own.
Child-rearing can be a tedious and thankless undertaking.
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.
My informal writing style is a political choice, because I want feminism to be more accessible.
It used to be that if someone was to get involved in feminism, it was probably because they were already interested. They were already interested in feminism; they were already interested in being an activist, and they found their way to like a NOW meeting or to a consciousness-raising group or something like that.
The less obvious hurdle is that of preparing parents emotionally and putting forward realistic images of parenthood and motherhood. There also needs to be some sort of acknowledgement that not everyone should parent - when parenting is a given, it's not fully considered or thought out, and it gives way too easily to parental ambivalence and unhappiness.
If you go to places like YouTube, it's a cesspool, and a lot of the comments are really horrifying and misogynist and harassing.
You come to a point where you give up on holding yourself to a perfect feminist ideal — it just feels stifling.
People are not going to give up marriage.
But we can try to make it more fair. We can try to change that institution and make it more equal.
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.
You know, 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.
At the end of the day, though, the entire basis for consent laws doesn't make sense. We're not old enough to decide if we don't want a baby, but we are old enough to have one?
I'm really aware of how feminism and feminist rhetoric has been appropriated by the right.
I think my biggest career mistake has been taking on too much.
And I think this is kind of - I think it's related to the Internet world, where you're always multitasking and you have a million windows open and you feel like you can do a lot at the same time.
People seem to think, because of the way that the media has appropriated third-wave feminism or young feminism, that all young feminists are about is like pole dancing and girls gone wild and how empowering it is. Like they'll start calling anything feminist.
Sex for pleasure, for fun, or even for building relationships is completely absent from our national conversation. Yet taking the joy out of sexuality is a surefire way to ensure not that young women won't have sex, but rather that they'll have it without pleasure.
I certainly wouldn't be writing books if it hadn't been for the feminist blogosphere, and I think that's a really amazing thing.
I think motherhood has made issues all feel much more urgent than they did before. So it didn't necessarily change how I feel about certain things - it just fired me up to be even more active on behalf of my daughter.
I do think that more people are feminists than they realize.
Small blogs are starting up big campaigns.
I think people resist feminism because they're scared.
I think for women, they're scared of being picked on or of being called out.
When are we going to realize that hating other women - no matter how much money they have or how far they've fallen - is just as bad for ourselves as it is for anyone else?
I saw an article where the manager of the Pussycat Dolls, which is kind of this like striptease band, girl band, said, oh well, the girls are totally third-wave feminist. This is what third-wave feminism is about. Like you don't get to use that word. You don't get to say that something is feminist as a way to sell back sexism to women, as a way to further consumerist ideas.
I always go with the dictionary definition of feminism, which is just social, political and economic equality for women. And that's kind of a strategic thing on my part, because I think that it's the hardest definition to argue with. You know, who doesn't want that? Everyone wants equality for women.
Because there's no accountability on line in the same way there is in real life, all of a sudden you can say like, yeah, I hate women; I want to kill women. And you can say that online, and not only will you find a place to say it, but you'll find a place to say it where people are like, yeah, me too.
Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.
Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough.
Women get raped because someone raped them.