On the Liberating Power of Memoir
September 28, 2011 § 2 Comments
From Brevity’s Managing Editor Sarah Einstein:
Lindsay Miller, in her recent essay, “The Cultural and Political Power of the Personal Memoir,” writes about the way in which reading memoir connects us to people who are, well, not us, and how writing memoir can be an act of rebellion. Though we might quibble with her assertion that memoirs by women are, by definition, more rebellious or liberating than memoirs by men—both genders, after all, face repression, shame, fear, restrictions, and all of the other problems memoirs often address—we fully agree with what she says about the power of the genre:
These books have the power to undo just a little bit of the cultural conditioning that has us assuming we know people based on their gender, their ethnicity, where they’re from, or how they dress. Texts like these create a space for greater nuance, for women making bold and unconventional choices, finding paths to genuine happiness even through the restrictions in their way. They remind us that no obstacle is insurmountable, that even under the most brutal oppression, people fall in love, build families, create art.
Read Miller’s full essay at The Atlantic.