Confessional Writing – too much information?


Andie Fox blogs at and regularly writes opinion pieces for Fairfax.  Her view of feminist motherhood is often feisty, thoughtful and insightful.  Her posts regularly point me around the web to fascinating articles and sites.

One of Fox’s recent Fairfax pieces (read it here) caught my eye.  It’s about why women’s memoir writing is important.  Click through – it’s worth a look.

I’m inclined to go gently in condemning even this kind of women’s writing. That women should have been forced to specialise in domestic work, that this work should make women’s fates so precarious and that it should also be considered too private for writing about seems to me no accident … Just as we need to retire the accusation of oversharing from women’s personal writing we need to see the serious note in so much of what is considered trivial about women’s lives.

Fox builds on earlier opinion piece from online magazine Salon (also well worth a look).

These [examples] are all, of course, women who write about their personal lives, examining human relations, morality, sex and the self though an intensely personal lens. And some of these writers are very much deserving of critical skepticism. But the word “overshare” has become a too-easy signifier of a certain kind of self-exposure — and a weirdly gendered one. The label often seems designed to patrol the boundaries of female confessional writing; to level the accusation that a woman overshares is to indicate that she has crossed some invisible boundary of “acceptable” material.  Men who expose their personal lives online are rarely given the “oversharerer” moniker.



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