First Advisor

Sally McWilliams

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors






Authorship, Autobiography -- Women authors, Self




When I set out to write about my body and what happened to me, I knew I was going to have to sit with parts of myself I had long silenced, overlooked, maybe even abandoned. When I first took a class on women's memoir writing I was struck by the power of the stories we read. I felt like a door had been opened for me, as I witnessed the importance of sharing one's personal lived history. Reading the words of women with different identities and experiences than mine taught me how memoir can inspire, challenge, educate, rewrite, heal, and enact feminist change. The feminist effort of memoir lies in the radical acknowledgment of our truths, truths that challenge and complicate the one-dimensional and linear narratives that systems of oppression have build around our bodies and our identities. In my case, embracing a journey of healing and acceptance of my past and my body, motivated me to write about my own experience as a woman. More specifically, I was interested in reconciling with my body after a sexual assault and an eating disorder created an internal schism that alienated me from my embodied self. Through this process of life-writing I had the chance to analyze the taxing experience of regulating and monitoring my body after I felt it was taken from me. I got to explore and uncover the unconscious and conscious practices crafted for my disempowerment as a woman.


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