Jessica Valenti (born November 1, 1978) is an American blogger and feminist writer, known for having founded the feminist blog Feministing in 2004. She is the author or co-author of four books on women's issues, including Full Frontal Feminism (2007), He's a Stud, She's a Slut (2008), and The Purity Myth (2009). Her work has appeared in Ms., The Guardian, The Nation,The Washington Post, TPMCafe, and Alternet.
Valenti was named in March 2011 as one of The Guardian's top 100 women, for what the newspaper described as her pioneering work in bringing the feminist movement online and into the 21st century
Valenti was raised in Long Island City, Queens in an Italian-American family. Her father was a Buddhist, and her mother introduced her to her first pro-choice march when she was 13.Valenti graduated from Stuyvesant High School.She received her master's degree in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University. On October 3, 2009, she married Andrew Golis, the deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo.
Valenti founded Feministing as a source for feminist news and ideas by and for young feminists. It was created while she was working at the National Organization for Women's legal defense fund (now Legal Momentum), in response to what she described as "dismissal from older feminists." Homa Khaleeli writes in The Guardian 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.
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.In addition to her work appearing in newspapers and magazines, she is a contributing author to Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan's Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists (2010), Melody Berger's We Don't Need Another Wave (2008), and Diane Mapes's Single State of the Union (2007).
- (2007). Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-201-6.
- (2008). He's a Stud, She's a Slut ... And 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-245-0.
- with Friedman, Jaclyn (2008). Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-257-3.
- (2009). The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-253-5.
- (2012). "Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-547-89261-0.