Let's get personal! Our must-read personal essays in anticipation of AGAINST MEMOIR

On May 8, you'll be able to pop into your local indie bookstore and grab a copy of AGAINST MEMOIR: COMPLAINTS, CONFESSIONS & CRITICISMS by the brilliant Michelle Tea. Delivered with her signature honesty and dark humor, Tea blurs the line between telling other people’s stories and telling her own. In anticipation of this collection, we gathered our own beloved essays which explore self-care, relationships, happiness, travel, diet culture, and more. Dive in!

What's your fav personal essay? Tweet at us @FeministPress to let us know!


You are allowed to take a step back. You’re allowed to catch your breath. You’re allowed to take care of yourself.
— Mychal Denzel Smith

Alyea's pick: "It's OK to Sit One Out" by Mychal Denzel Smith, via Feministing

What’s striking here is not Solanas’s revolutionary extremism per se, but the flippancy with which she justifies it. Life under male supremacy isn’t oppressive, exploitative, or unjust: it’s just fucking boring.
— Andrea Long Chu

Hannah's pick: "On Liking Women" by Andrea Long Chu, via n+1

Before Kelly, ‘love’ always looked like fixing myself the right way, so someone could bring themselves to love me. Being perfectly shaved, perfectly thin, and perfectly presentable. Now, I know real love makes room for you to love yourself the way you are, and the way you want to be.
— Ashley C. Ford

Tenny's pick: "Seeing My Body With Fresh Eyes" by Ashley C. Ford, via Cup of Jo

In a few hours the world will resume itself, but for now we’re in a pocket of silence. We’re in the plasmapause, a place of equilibrium, where the forces of the earth meet the forces of the sun. I imagine it as a place of stillness, where the particles of dust stop spinning and hang motionless in deep space.
— Jo Ann Beard

Jisu's pick: "The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard, via The New Yorker

Now, when students address me as ‘professor’ in e-mails—even though I’ve told them to call me by my first name—it strikes an odd note, a plunk of mislaid fingers on a piano. I’m not a professor. If I disappeared at the end of the semester, the school would replace me without much trouble, having invested nothing at all in my career.
— Carmen Maria Machado

Sophia's pick: "O Adjunct! My Adjunct!" by Carmen Maria Machado, via The New Yorker

To travel along the Bosphorus, be it in a ferry, a motor launch, or a rowboat, is to see the city house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood, and also from afar as a silhouette, an ever-mutating mirage.

Neeti's pick: "Istanbul: Memories and the City" by Orhan Pamuk, via Random House

The thing no one ever tells you about joy is that it has very little real pleasure in it. And yet if it hadn’t happened at all, at least once, how would we live?
— Zadie Smith

Amna's pick: "Joy" by Zadie Smith, via The New York Review of Books

I can’t opt out of this culture, but each time that I choose what I want I know I’m one step closer to the freedom I crave.
— Virgie Tovar

Lucia's pick: "(Re)Discovering My Love Of Food After Dieting" by Virgie Tovar, via Ravishly

We must love the nature that does not make it on the Discovery Channel, on Animal Planet, we must love the nature that crawls up to our doorstep like spare-changers and scares us with the thickness of its feathers, its mutant feet, and orange eyes.
— Michelle Tea

Lauren's pick: "Pigeon Manifesto" by Michelle Tea, Against Memoir


Lucia Brown