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It’s Never Too Late to Speak Up and Find Your Voice

Speak Up and Find Your Voice

In this virtual talk, Elissa Bassist taught us how to:

  1. Reclaim your voice (and agency and sanity) in a world that dismisses women as “hysterical” for speaking their minds.
  2. Discover the power of your emotions, deepen your understanding of them, and use them as your compass.
  3. Unlearn how to use your voice as an apology machine and learn how to use your voice for you.
  4. Be emotional, be vocal, be hysterical—without shame or apology.
  5. Learn how to speak up amid the impossibility of speaking up.

Elissa Bassist

Elissa Bassist is an author, teacher, and editor of the “Funny Women” column on The Rumpus, an online literary magazine. She’s written feminist and personal criticism since 2009, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Mother Jones, LATimes.com, and more, including various bestselling anthologies.

Hysterical, published by Hachette, is her first book and a semi-finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Hysterical is a memoir of a voice, about how a woman’s voice develops—or doesn’t—in a culture that doesn’t listen to women. This expectation of a woman’s silence made Elissa sick. In Hysterical, Elissa shares her journey to reclaim her authentic voice in order to regain her health and sanity. It’s part medical mystery, part cultural criticism, and part rallying cry.

Hysterical covers how girls and women internalize hatred of the female voice, which makes it hard to “just speak up.” But then our silence hurts us more than anything we could ever say.

Her next book, a comedy writing craft book, is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing. Elissa teaches humor writing at The New School, 92NY, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and elsewhere. 

Elissa lives in Brooklyn and is probably her therapist’s favorite.

Learn More about Elissa Bassist

Title Description Author Content
Hysterical Women with Elissa Bassist
Hear the wider angle of the scientifically proven physical pain from silencing women and their self-silencing, in a culture that still nonchalantly disqualifies women’s opinions or their human emotions.
Wider Angle Podcast
Funny Women
Funny Women is a column for literary, feminist humor writing by non-men, curated by Elissa Bassist.
Various Contributors
On Silence (or, Speak Again)
Elissa Bassist breaks her silence about everything she’s not supposed to talk about and comes out alive.
Memoirland Substack
Why Do We Hate Women's Voices?
Men have a voice. Women have a body. In this essay adapted from Hysterical: A Memoir, Elissa Bassist discusses why women have to take the risk to speak out.
Elissa Bassist for Mother Jones
Timely Topics Committee and Contributors: Terry Rubin, Janis Pluss, and Jane Gwin