Essays About Working Women

Posting that work online holds me accountable to those thoughts and that reasoning.The responses are both challenging and affirming in ways that can be as informative as the experiences I’ve written.Bennett also suggests that the growing trend of pegging personal stories to the news of the day may compromise journalistic integrity.

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It feels insidious: Place one successful, gut-wrenching piece somewhere, and then hear “no” until you write another one like it, until you exploit personal trauma for a byline.

Often, like Bennett mentions, the pieces are tied to news of violence or discrimination due to race or gender.

No one’s paying us book advances to behave badly or to bare our souls—unless bad behavior involves trysts with married sports and music stars, as in the case of Karrine Stephens’s By the same token, some of the most compelling personal writing—harrowing or otherwise—the Internet has produced is the work of writers of color.

La Toya Jordan’s “After Striking a Fixed Object,” about life after a car accident that left her disfigured, is incredible for its ability to recreate a jarring, life-altering event and the way it chronicles the long process of coping that followed.

Publication of black memoirs and autobiography is usually contingent on prevailing over systemic bias, discrimination, or oppression.

In early summer, Think Progress published a short wish list titled, “If These 5 Black Women Wrote Memoirs, We’d Pick Them Up In A Second.” With the exception of Roxane Gay, no one on the list is known as a personal essayist.

It’s an experience Cord Jefferson wrote about last year in one of the personal essays Bennett commends, “The Racism Beat": Neither Irby nor Andrews-Dyers’s books marked the beginning of a renaissance in confessional memoir publications for young women of color.

Typically, the ones that make it to mainstream publication are written by authors who’ve already earned fame in other arenas.

But the driving force of her piece is the assertion that the recent proliferation of terrible, tragic personal essays online have lasting effects on the writers’ professional and private lives, and not necessarily favorable ones.

This is, more than anything, a labor problem—writers toiling at the whims of a system with hazardous working conditions that involve being paid next to nothing and guaranteed a lifetime of SEO infamy.


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