#WeToo

Women writing the first person plural

Gayle Brandeis
Gay Mag
Published in
11 min readJan 22, 2020

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Illustration by Christina Yoseph

W,W, the women who write in first person plural, come to this point of view from different angles. We want to speak for a group. We want to show the danger of group think. We want to feel solidarity. We want to expose fracture. We want to try something new. We find it’s the only way to tell the story we want or need to tell.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that not all of us are created societally equal. That this inequality is built into, perpetuated by, the language itself. That women and non-binary people should not have to fall under the label “men.” The first person plural can be a way to tell the truths we hold.

In 2004, Laura Miller wrote, “the communal inclinations of women, though often praised, are riddled with ambivalence, and that makes the first-person plural a particularly fraught choice for women writers” but our choice isn’t always fraught, our inclinations not always riddled with widespread ambivalence (at least not enough so to sway us). She wrote this long before the Women’s March, long before #metoo, long before more women started speaking out en masse, through hashtag, through political campaigns, through bodies on the street. Rather than fraught, we’ve found the first person plural can be fierce. It can be freeing. Sometimes it can even be fun.

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Gayle Brandeis
Gay Mag

Gayle Brandeis is the author, most recently, of Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in Chorus (A Testimony). www.gaylebrandeis.com