Is there a Right Way to Talk About Personal Experiences?

3:08 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
You  may or may not have heard the latest controversy circulating the the blog circuit this week, but your about to!  27 year old Angie Jackson has been live-Tweeting her experience with the abortion pill RU-486 and it's sparking quite a discussion.

"Right now I feel like I have a tapeworm or some kind of horrible infection. "

I read about the story this afternoon on one of my favourite blogs, Woman Uncensored and I have to say that I was a little disappointed at the feedback I read there (and on the associated Facebook fanpage).  The overwhelming consensus was that Ms. Jackson is wrong in the way she is expressing her experience with her abortion, even amongst the pro-choice crowd.  When I Googled the story, I found much of the same.

One of the main criticisms I keep hearing is that her 'language and attitude' is inappropriate.  Can I just say that this rubs me the wrong way?  Ms. Jackson is simply sharing an experience and should be entitled, as we all are, to define her own experience as she sees it.  Is there a right way to talk about our personal experiences?

I am in the camp of 'No there is no right way to talk about our personal experiences'.  They are our experiences, we own them and should be free to express them in the language and tone we see fit.  To me, it is highly problematic to attempt to dictate how women share their experiences as it encourages them to simply NOT share them and invalidates how they feel about their experiences.

What about you?  Do you think that people talking/writing/blogging/Tweeting about personal experiences owe it to their audience to censor themselves or to present their experiences in a way that is more comfortable to the reader?
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Woman Uncensored said...

I certainly don't believe in censorship, but that doesn't mean I have to like or agree with what everyone else has to say. We can be in favor of free speech without simultaneously agreeing with everyone.

I similarly speak out about people who down-play child abuse, circumcision, etc. "Oh, its just a little smack" or "Oh, its just a little piece of skin". Sure, those are those person's feelings about those subjects, but that doesn't mean I agree with it.

Sarah said...

No I certainly don't expect you or anyone else to agree, I don't think I ever stated that we should all nod our heads along with Ms Jackson. I am merely pondering whether Ms Jackson was 'wrong' in sharing her raw and honest experience as many of your commenters suggested.

I really don't think child abuse is a fair comparison since abusing another person isn't really something that happens to you. If you wanted to make a fair comparison, I think it would be to the person who was abused, as the experience is theirs. Are you ready to tell an abuse survivor that the way they feel about their experience is wrong or inappropriate?

I am not saying that you or anyone else is wrong to feel the way that they do about the issue...but I do think it's worth considering that this is someone else's experience and they are entitled to feel the way they do too.

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