Introduction to Memoirs

What, Briana’s talking about herself…again!? 

Listen folks, it’s what I do best.

(Also…bare with me through this post, I’m functioning on a whole 4 hours of sleep and 3 coffees)

And what better way to describe my overly complicated, extremely diverse experience with the male gaze, and as a woman of color in the LGBTQ+ community (hi! I’m the B!). I found that with each experiment cycle, my ideas started to become more and more narrow, as I found that a lot of my experiences and the theories I discussed overlapped (not to mention my dying love for SZA’s music and how it literally helped me get out all my frustration about a shitty relationship).

There are moments where I’m overwhelmed with my relationship to men, so much, that I want to delete every single one from my life. Like not in a “I want you dead way” but in a “I probably would not be bothered if you just fucked off right about now” way. And how that ties so heavily to my identity, how it shaped who I pursue, and how I’ve begun internalized all of it.

So what better way to do that than within a genre where my experience becomes the authority…within a ~memoir~?

Image result for its me gif

A memoir is a collection of experiences coming from an one individual’s perspective. Specific moments are described in great emotional detail, describing the moral or immoral conflicts the author had at the moment. Ultimately, they come to a resolution during some portion of the memoir, or frame it as though they are “still growing”. Think, like, Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. She reveals the difficulties of poverty through an emotionally narrow lens, since her life speaks to broader truths about poverty in America.

Often authors utilize creative writing techniques to evoke stronger connection to places and characters in their stories. By doing so, allows their audience to view them as human, rather than a writer. Unlike a autobiography, a memoir is not just summary of someone’s life, but specific moments are picked apart in order to find the bigger truths behind huge life events, and how they string together.

My story probably isn’t as heart-wrenching and tragic as Walls’, but it definitely would help others understand what it means to be a “victim” of the male gaze, whilst navigating the world as a minority. Julie helped me find a lot of great authors to base my piece around, as well as ones I could reference to give myself a bit more credibility. I enjoyed the passages I read from Brittany Cooper’s Eloquent Rage and believe that a more comical (or, I probably should say relatable), upbeat beginning to my story can show off who I really am, while providing a solid background for my personal accounts. By specifically doing so, I can lay the foundation to explain my dissonance between projection by self and perception by others, and how my race and sexuality effect how males view me, and how I view males.

3 thoughts to “Introduction to Memoirs”

  1. I think writing a memoir about your own experiences related to the male gaze would be a super interesting and engaging project. I know we were talking about how you were thinking of breaking up this memoir into distinct sections, with each section containing a different story. How might you begin the memoir? Would you jump right into the stories or would you have some sort of autobiographical introduction? What are you thinking about for length of the memoir?
    You seem to have three really solid ideas for this project between the video essay, op-ed, and memoir. I’m jealous!! I feel like choosing one comes down to whether you want to focus more on Rear Window and be a little more academic/analytical, or be more personal. I’m super excited to see what you come up!

  2. Hi Briana! I love the idea of a memoir to talk about your own personal experiences with the male gaze, and being able to talk about the male gaze from a unique perspective due to your intersectional communities. Will you be using romantic relationships with men as a springboard (which I think is what you meant in class?) or will you be also using other relationships with males in your life, like father figures, male friends, even male professors or bosses? I think it would be really cool to have different sections about your experience under the male gaze from men who play different roles in your life. I’m excited to see what you come up with!

  3. Hey Briana,
    I love the progression of your experiments, getting more personal and specific! I also think it is so brave for you to talk about your own experiences, but in the end I think it will be liberating and cathartic to do so! I hope our discussion in class was helpful, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with this!

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