NPR Best Book of 2016
“Sharp and prescient… The appeal of Valenti’s memoir lies in her ability to trace objectification through her own life, and to trace what was for a long time her own obliviousness to it…Sex Object is an antidote to the fun and flirty feminism of selfies and self-help.” — New Republic
Author and Guardian US columnist Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a darkly funny and bracing memoir, Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes from the every day to the existential.
Sex Object explores the painful, funny, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City, revealing a much shakier inner life than the confident persona she has cultivated as one of the most recognizable feminists of her generation.
In the tradition of writers like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, this literary memoir is sure to shock those already familiar with Valenti’s work and enthrall those who are just finding it.
"I am deeply touched by these stories...Dear Zari should be read by anyone who cares and wants to know about Asia and Asian women." —XINRAN
"All the stories in Dear Zari illustrate the suffering caused by deeply ingrained Afghan traditions. But [the women's} bravery and resilience shines through and Kargar touchingly reveals how hearing others' life stories finally gave her the courage to share her own. " —The Independent
Moving, enlightening, and heartbreaking, Dear Zari gives voice to the secret lives of Afghan women. For the first time, Dear Zari allows these women to tell their stories in their own words: from the child bride given as payment to end of a family feud, to a life spent in a dark, dusty room weaving carpets, from a young girl being brought up as a boy, to a woman living as a widow shunned by society.
Intimate, emotional, painful and uplifting, these stories uncover the suffering and strength of women in this deeply religious and intensely traditional society, and show how their courage is an inspiration to women everywhere.
In Doing Harm, Dusenbery explores the deep, systemic problems that underlie women’s experiences of feeling dismissed by the medical system. Women have been discharged from the emergency room mid-heart attack with a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, while others with autoimmune diseases have been labeled “chronic complainers” for years before being properly diagnosed. Women with endometriosis have been told they are just overreacting to “normal” menstrual cramps, while still others have “contested” illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that, dogged by psychosomatic suspicions, have yet to be fully accepted as “real” diseases by the whole of the profession.
An eye-opening read for patients and health care providers alike, Doing Harm shows how women suffer because the medical community knows relatively less about their diseases and bodies and too often doesn’t trust their reports of their symptoms. The research community has neglected conditions that disproportionately affect women and paid little attention to biological differences between the sexes in everything from drug metabolism to the disease factors—even the symptoms of a heart attack. Meanwhile, a long history of viewing women as especially prone to “hysteria” reverberates to the present day, leaving women battling against a stereotype that they’re hypochondriacs whose ailments are likely to be “all in their heads.”
Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its sometimes catastrophic consequences, Doing Harm is a rallying wake-up call that will change the way we look at health care for women.