“Laughing about all the nasty shit — or crying about it, kibitzing about it, whining about it, bragging about it, confessing it, writing about it, and most important, exposing it — it’s all the rage. Jezebel, the popular women’s offshoot of the Gawker empire, has been the leader of the oversharing crusade, with vibrant, aromatic and really graphic posts about everything from lodged tampons to yeast infection remedies to bloody period sex to female ejaculation. (The last, in Tracie Egan’s piece, “Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gush,” also includes Egan’s report that “I live my life perpetually suffering between either mild dehydration or a UTI, meaning that my piss is (ab)normally cloudy, stinky, and dark” ).
But Jezebel writers are not the only ones reveling in graphic female self-revelation. Other recent, mainstream expressions of the form have included Elle magazine’s brutal piece last summer by Miranda Purves, called “The Ring of Fire,” about how giving birth to her child tore her vagina asunder. An English translation of Charlotte Roche’s German bestseller Wetlands (“It is difficult to overstate the raunchiness of the novel,” read a story in the New York Times about Wetlands, “and hard to describe in a family newspaper”) is due in April. It opens with the sentence, “As far back as I can remember, I have had hemorrhoids.” And this month, a younger iteration of the lay-it-bare form: the publication of My Little Red Book, an anthology of more than 90 women’s stories of the first time they got their period. It includes contributions from well-known authors Jacquelyn Mitchard and Erica Jong and writers of popular tween novels Cecily von Ziegesar and Meg Cabot, as well as ruby red reminiscences from 1916 to 2007, by women who first began to bleed everywhere from Connecticut to Canada, Paris to New Zealand, India to Istanbul. Unsurprisingly, there’s an accompanying Web site where others can contribute their stories.” — Rebecca Traister via Salon.