Saturday, October 5, 2019

Is the Dear Diary Tradition Dead?

Is the Dear Diary tradition dead?

What I mean to say is, how many women today keep a diary or a journal of some sort? And when I say diary, I mean a bound book with blank pages where you write down in pen and ink or pencil your reflections from your day, your week, your life, that sort of thing.

I was recently listening to a podcast (I can't remember which) where a gentleman was reflecting on how many women used to keep a diary or a journal, and so there was this written tradition of self-reflection that he thought was very beautiful. But now that folks have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, how many women actually keep a diary or a journal? Do women still take the time to reflect on their daily routine, their romantic excursions, their friendships, and their interior lives the way they used to?

This commentator was disinclined to think that women still kept journals due to the rise in social media, and he thought that this was a great loss to human contemporary culture.

Now, I think some women can and do use social media posts to share reflections on their interior lives with the world (and this is not a bad thing at all!), but how curated are these posts? How honest are these posts? Not everything should be brought out into the open and shared with the public in a post on Instagram or Facebook or an episode on a podcast. I think, because a journal or a diary has the potential to be more raw and honest, there is something special, beautiful, and private about it that can't be replaced by a post on social media.

A diary is almost certainly not as curated as a social media post, but it doesn't have to be, and that's okay. It is not meant primarily for posterity's sake (though it certainly can be), but rather as a place where a woman can sort out her thoughts and feelings on life, truth, her joys and sorrows, her triumphs and frustrations, and the world at large. It's a way of processing the world that can help a woman move forward, and invites her soul to be refreshed.

Social media has its place and its uses, and it can be a beautiful way to build a community, but it cannot replace the flesh and blood of a local community. Similarly, Instagram, Twitter, and blogs are a wonderful way for folks to share their thoughts, opinions, and reflections with the world. But if it is at the expense of the feminine tradition of keeping a journal or diary, then I think that is very sad and a great loss to the uniquely feminine tradition of hand-written self-reflection. 

No comments: