When we want women’s stories, what is it exactly that we’re wanting?

Women are asked to speak about their terrible, shame-filled experiences precisely in order to refuse shame. Women are encouraged to recount and display negative experiences, even as those accounts are all too often disbelieved. Yet they are urged to tell their shame-filled stories, and to tell them with pride.

Women are asked, most often in the name of feminism, to be proud, defiant display feminist powers of transcendence, defiance, strength – I am not ashamed! – yet all the while they are constantly reminded that someone, somewhere, is only too ready to say: ‘You should be ashamed!’

There is still distaste and contempt for women’s ‘confession’, their stories – and a good deal of suspicion about it, too, particularly when it comes to accusations of sexual harm.

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