Elizabeth Wurtzel, “solipsistic, self-consumed, bottomless emotional vacuum” and author of “incoherent screeds that no other writer gets away with” is dead at 52.

She was fearless, maddening and — in the ultimate feminist act — uncontrollable.

Mandy Stadtmiller
Jan 7, 2020 · 2 min read

Elizabeth Wurtzel was always a woman destined for punishment.

The second quote in this story’s headline is from a female-penned think-piece in response to Wurtzel’s unflinching (and incredibly generous to anyone who struggles with mental health) assessment of her “one-night stand of a life” in 2013.

The first is from a male writer with whom she had romantically tangled whose savagery went far beyond a subtweet—but then again Twitter wasn’t really a thing in 1998 — and so took his literary flamethrower to burn down the entire goddamned village of her voice, her existence and her trauma.

You may even know the guy who wrote the piece. He’s a bit of a renegade bad boy in lad-lit himself. Dude by the name of David Foster Wallace. Of course, he did not put her name in his manifesto. But everyone knew.

Elizabeth Wurtzel is dead.

Harvard- and Yale-educated, a writer and a lawyer, she was gorgeous and arrogant, complicated and cruel, slutty and sad and smart, and ultimately, allergic to euphemism and apology and performative prostration.

A perfect symbol for all of those feminists (especially the male ones — because they usually know how to feminism the best) determined to crush such an unpredictable, easily impeachable outlier who kept deviating from the fucking agenda.

Elizabeth Wurtzel let you know it was okay to talk about not being okay because that’s how we get okay.

She refused to listen to the lecturing ninnies on the mountaintop who continue to lay out in the most clear and reasonable terms exactly why such a woman should apologize, clean up the mess, apologize some more, pledge not to do it again and really mean it this time, and ultimately shut up entirely or go away.

But no.

Elizabeth Wurtzel lived.

Elizabeth Wurtzel was free.

Un Yourself

From the author of Unwifeable: A site dedicated to…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store