'Because My Life Is Not Exceptional': Chavisa Woods' Memoir Examines Pervasiveness Of Sexism
While many writers pen memoirs because of something particularly distinctive or unusual about their lives, the reason Chavisa Woods gives for writing hers is pretty much the opposite.
“I felt that it was incumbent for me to put this on the page ... because my life is not exceptional,” Woods, the author of “100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism,” said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And I think when people hear that you’ve experienced 100 formative incidents of sexism, maybe the first reaction is, ‘Oh, I can’t believe that it influences your life so much.’ But I think when most women stop and think about discrimination, harassment, groping, sexual violence and also microagressions, you’ll see that you could easily compile [such a list]. ”
More and more women have spoken out about their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault since the beginning of the #MeToo movement in 2017, sending a strong message that behavior like that of high-profile men such as Harvey Weinstein isn’t a one-off thing – it happens to women everywhere.
It also happens repeatedly, and Woods’ written illustration of that constant battle isn’t so much about calling out specific men by name (she doesn’t) as it is about her “hope that men will read [it] and come away with a greater understanding of how sexism shapes women, of the cumulative impact it has, that may otherwise remain invisible to many men.”
Now based in New York City and the author of three books of fiction in addition to the newly released memoir, Woods grew up in small-town Illinois and moved to St. Louis as a teenager. She’s speaking at Left Bank Books Thursday evening.
Listen to the full conversation between Woods and producer Evie Hemphill:
What: Chavisa Woods – "100 Times"
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2019
Where: Left Bank Books (399 N. Euclic Ave., St. Louis, Missouri 63108)
Producer’s note: If you or someone you know is affected by sexual violence and needs help, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is a great resource. The number is 1-800-656-4673.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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