Oversharing As A Form of Feminist Resistance
I’m going to share below some words I posted on instagram this week about oversharing (maybe you already saw it?! Don’t worry, there’s more…)
Below them, I’m going to talk about the presence of psychological risk in this activity. These are the sorts of explorations that will take place inside Mindset… But Make It Feminist where we will bring together a feminist lens for our behaviours and norms, and developmental coaching tools to navigate them. Because I guess the mainstream mindset response would probably be like, FUCK WHAT THEY THINK. But that’s ineffective and not very interesting.
Let’s make it feminist.
“Oversharing” may be a form of resistance of systems of oppression.
In the moment, maybe it felt right. Or perhaps you had it framed as a behaviour you knew you shouldn’t really be engaging in, but you couldn’t help it.
When you’re alone, the replay lands in your mind and you wonder, DID I OVERSHARE?!
What do we mean by it?
“The disclosure of an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life”.
I have some questions for your consideration.
Who decides what is appropriate?
What is the gendered nature of this?
How does us being limited to “appropriate” conversation serve the status quo?
White supremacist, patriarchal capitalism has us framed as workers & producers & consumers, rather than human beings.
We are permitted to share the actual details of our experiences of our lives with only a tiny proportion of the people we live in community with, ensuring it remains barely a community at all.
We perform politeness and contain ourselves inside a version of “consumer conversing”.
I believe that perhaps when we “overshare”, we break character.
We turn to someone else and we say, “I am real. This is real. We are real. Life is happening now. We are together here.”
Perhaps it is not an irrational anxiety that drives it, but a wholly valid, deep awareness that our regulation, our joy, our healing, our hopefulness, our futures lie within one another.
But we can’t just ‘fuck what they think?’, can we? That bit about psychological risk…
“Oversharing” in a society like ours might threaten our need for belonging.
Whilst we might be able to bring ourselves steadily round to a perspective that oversharing could be a neutral, or even good thing, we remain aware that there are others around us who are likely to deem it impolite, odd, attention seeking, inappropriate, etc.
Psychological risks you might recognise in this knowing could include rejection, disappointment and/ or judgement. Sensitivity to these risks will depend on the context of the moment (perhaps most importantly how power is distributed), your lived experiences to this point, and the wider context of your life inside systems of oppression.
It’s completely understandable if your Inner Protector, the part of you that only wants you to be safe, is telling you in the moment, or on reflection, that taking this risk was a mistake.
Threats to belonging aren’t just about losing out on some sort of cosy likeability. In late stage capitalism they may be connected to losing access to resources and connections that you require.
We have been so utterly separated from one another, our sense of community so destroyed, that it can seem the state of every potential relationship is weighty. And also fragile.
If you are a middle aged, middle class, straight white man, first of all, what are you doing here? Secondly, yes- you are subject to threats to your psychological safety just like anyone is. But thirdly, your opportunities to build alternative connections, to survive rejection, to be framed more favourably (eg eccentric rather than odd, forthcoming rather than attention seeking, brave rather than babbling), these opportunities mean the actual terrain you are navigating is less hostile.
All of this context should be included in our considerations if we want to
- understand our own behaviours better
- cultivate greater self compassion
- actually expand our self belief
IT TAKES TIME to unlearn all the ways we’ve been told there’s something wrong with how we move through the world. It takes tools. It takes togetherness.