Confessional Criticism

816 Words 4 Pages
There is an apparent notion across America that double standards and sexism are concepts that were left behind years ago. However, as I’ve analyzed different forms of media over the past few years, it has become glaringly obvious that this is not true. Despite what we’d like to convince ourselves, sexism and gender discrimination still dominate society. Whether through music videos, writing, or art, women are always judged more critically for their expression than men are. Often times, men make the same mistakes as women, yet the criticism is significantly more severe towards females. Therefore, in an era where women are facing oppression daily in regards to self-expression, I believe criticism towards confessional writing is gender based. …show more content…
If the problem with confessional writing is simply the confessional aspect itself, then many male written pieces would not be getting the praise they often receive. Elisabeth Donnelly’s "Why Does Women’s Confessional Writing Get People So Riled Up?" references two similar works of fiction, one written by male David Shapiro, the other written by female Emily Gould. While Shapiro received praise for his expression of emotions and “compelling” nature, Gould’s work was described as an “overshare.” Hence, when men express themselves, they are brave and courageous for possessing the ability to share deep emotions. However, when women do it, they are over sharing and looking for attention. Some may say that discrepancy in criticism between a male and female confessions are often unique circumstances, or infrequent occurrences. Though, I think that history has proved this to be wrong, and not just in regards to confessional writing. For instance, Taylor Swift is harshly criticized for writing about her romantic relationships, whereas male singer Ed Sheeran is admired for his vulnerable songwriting. Thus, gender plays a significant role in the amount of criticism a confessional piece …show more content…
For example, some people may be willing to ignore an artist’ abusive background, while others may be unable to take this dispassionate approach. Thus, I think this issue rests with not whether a dispassionate approach can be taken when viewing confessional work, because it often depends on the specific individual, but with the harsher reality women face for their life choices compared to men, and society’s tendency to judge them more intensely. In Nell Bernstein’s "WHEN MEMOIR ISN 'T BY A HERO, IT 'S EASY TO KISS OFF,” she provides disgustingly negative reviews of Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, which was written about her intimate relationship with her father. Reviews judged her for accepting abuse and New York Times’ Maureen Down described Harrison’s The Kiss, as “creepy people talking about creepy people.” These reviews never stopped to evaluate Harrison’s confessional work or its artistic nature, and instead focused on her life choices and criticizing her character. It’s ironic that critics were unable to focus on the artistic value for Harrison’s work in a society where people excuse numerous male public figures questionable actions for their artistic contributions. Specifically, for years Eminem, who is often described as a confessional rapper, is mostly praised by critics for his lyrics, even though they contain violent diction

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