Last night (3/19), I had the opportunity to see writer, blogger, and women’s rights activist Jessica Valenti speak at Bryn Mawr. I first heard of her a friend of mine mentioned the blog that Valenti had started called feministing.com. The blog’s aim was to create an informative and communal web space, focused on feminism and building off politics, personal experiences, popular culture, etc. What makes feministing.com remarkable, however, is the fact that it is staffed by and targets young women and approaches the topic of feminism far less formally, to dispel the myth that all feminists are ugly old women, who hate men and refuse to shave. The daily tidbits on the blog are there to simply make you stop, think, and react – whether it is through laughter, anger, confusion, or, as Valenti hopes, some personal form of activism.
Overall, 30-year old Valenti was funny, disarmingly self-aware, and walked the line between informative and unpretentious with much grace. She covered it all: from rape culture, to purity balls, from political legislation to anecdotes, recounting her own personal experiences growing up. She closed with a reading from her new book, The Purity Myth, in which she explores the newly emerged moral panic over young girls’ sexuality and what it will really mean for the future generation of women.