I’ve written about Jessica Valenti before, mostly because her particular brand of feminism is so dark, it frustrates me. It’s also dangerous to a whole new generation of women that don’t understand, who can’t see what kind of brokenness Valenti brings to the table. She seems hip, popular, so worldly and wise, and I guess it’s easy to be deceived by her.
Jessica Valenti for those who don’t know, used to run a blog called Feministing, she’s a columnist for the Guardian, and she has written five books. Her newest book is called “Sex Object” in which she pretty much just chronicles her adventures as a sex object, lots of cocaine, lots of sex, lots of “let’s blame men and the patriarchy” for our own excessive wealth, privilege,and brokenness.
I don’t know what to say when you have two parents, when you get sent to all the best schools, when you don’t know what to do with all your money but indulge in drugs and relationships while lamenting your lot in life and wallowing in angst, misery, and woe. I guess you write a thesis about how oppressed you are?
Valenti makes me angry for a lot of reasons. One of her fans accused me of being jealous because I called her a pampered elitist. It’s really not quite that simple. She used her status and position to steer feminism away from things like preventing women in the Middle East from being beheaded, and into this bizarre land of perpetual female sexual empowerment, where anyone who questions what is being advocated is a “racist, sexist, misogynistic, bully.” She hijacked a movement that was capable of doing some good and transformed it into her own sexual pity party.
Jealous of Valenti? Perhaps, in the sense that there is so much injustice in the world, that Valenti never actually worked for anything, that she isn’t where she is based on her own merits and talents. She is a part of a world where one isn’t rewarded for what they know, but for who they know. It’s a plastic world full of people living in a bubble, and a vicious world too, at least for anyone on the outside of that inner circle. Those outside the inner ring have no seat at the table, no matter what talents they have, except perhaps as useful idiots towing the line. All Valenti really wants from the world is a mirror to admire herself in.
The culture we have created fills me with despair sometimes, too. People line up to read Jessica Valenti, to buy her books, to listen when she speaks, not because she has anything to say, not because she is wise, but because she is a brand, like a movie star or a celebrity. She is perceived as one of the Beautiful People and they are thought to Know Things.
Jealous, not really, there is something more akin to pity, to frustration because all these broken women, like Miley Cyrus riding by on her wrecking ball, are rewarded in our culture not for having survived and overcome anything at all, but for having what basically amounts to a perpetual public meltdown.
This is the culture raising our daughters and these are the women they will strive to become.