Thursday, May 29, 2008

She Writes Tell-Alls, Right?

Rebecca Traister has a great essay up at Salon today about how women who write personal tell-alls are often viewed as media darlings. She notes that this phenomenon isn't uncommon among men, but it's important to remember that women writers are a little more versatile than the trope of sex-driven memoirist leads us to believe.

We have to remember: There is nothing wrong with women writing about themselves, their youth, their indiscretions, their habits and values and personal development. Men have been writing about this stuff for thousands of years; they call it the canon.

And like their male contemporaries, a lot of this writing disappoints. When it does, there is nothing wrong with criticizing it. The thing that is wrong -- really wrong -- is when we forget that these kinds of stories are not the only ones that women have to tell.

I couldn't agree more. As a young women, I was often lead to believe that it was acceptable for me to write "human interest" stories or "service journalism" listings, but I often questioned whether I was good enough or serious enough to write about more male-dominated topics. As long as such kinds of writing by women are the only kind glorified, we'll continue to see a slew of Candace Bushnells and Emily Goulds but an absence among many other kinds of writing.

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