First Person Feminism

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 08:16
Submitted by Marisa Black

Many a writing teacher told me to limit my number of sentences and paragraphs beginning with "I." Since posting here and on my own site, I've tossed that directive aside, embracing I-statements wholeheartedly.

When people in my life learn about my writing here, the reactions are mixed. Some think I'm incredibly self-absorbed. (Why don't you write about something other than yourself and what's between your legs?) Some consider this blog a prime example of oversharing. (Seriously, who wants to read about your yeast infection?) Some caution me of the consequences. (You are shooting yourself in the foot, putting this all out there. You can't take it back. You may regret this.) A few tell me I'm brave. Most think I'm slightly mad to disclose what I do here, especially since I gave up a pretense of anonymity.

What I do here may indeed be oversharing. And apparently I'm comfortable with that. Given the extreme proclivity in our culture to undershare, to shield, to hide oneself from others and even from self, I write here at D&R as an exercise in truth-telling. I am looking in a mirror, and rotating so that you can see me looking, watching me watch myself.

In a recent YouTube video, Betty and Carlin described first person feminism, telling our own truths, speaking from our own experiences. That practice is at the core of feminist consciousness-raising that began in the 1960s and 70s. We continue to do this, to tell our truths, to share experience and perspective, and to be open to shifting those perspectives, and gaining new experiences. It's vital to my sense of well-being. It's also vital to connect and share the stories of others, to see where the overlaps and divergences occur, to gain a fuller sense of our lives in a wider context.

Since revealing my name, and since revealing my face and my cunt and my body on the Bodysex documentary, my words have become less frequent. Part of that is related to concerns for the privacy of other people in my life. I make efforts to gain permission of those mentioned in my writing, particularly since coming out with my real name. Tempering their privacy with telling my truth is a balancing act that I'm constantly trying to navigate and assess. It's not impossible, however. It's a balancing act that is well worth the effort.

But to silence myself unilaterally is something I refuse to do. I'm here, muddling along, telling truths, listening for the truths others are willing to share, and altogether engaging in first-person feminism.

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I love this, Marisa. It's a

Thu, 03/29/2012 - 13:39
CEL (not verified)

I love this, Marisa. It's a wonderfully well-written reminder of those important feminist roots, the power of the sharing of experience, the life-enhancing connection that happens when we dare to be real with each other. You do it so well. Not least in the BodySex Documentary. I've been meaning to comment more on your blog posts but other things tend to get in the way. This time, though, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you. You're a true inspiration.

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