Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Published August 5, 2014
Genres: Non-fiction, Essays
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I read this book on paperback.
“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows, is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.” Introduction, xi
Bad Feminist is a collection of essays in which the author Roxane Gay speaks genuinely about her personal and political fight against demeaning stereotypes inherently present in our society and culture.
For a full synopsis, visit Goodreads.
There has been no buzz on whether or not this will become a major motion picture.
The main reason why I love this book is because I find Roxane Gay to be one of the coolest people ever.
Exhibit A: She obsessed over the same book series I did during my teenage years: SWEET VALLEY HIGH!
“The Sweet Valley High books were extremely popular when I was young… Most of the people who knew me would assume I was an Elizabeth… In my head and in my heart, I was a bad girl: misunderstood and interesting . I was Jessica—a girl who was confident and sexy and smart, a girl everyone wanted to be around… I waited for the new Sweet Valley High books the way other kids waited for new comics or movie releases.” p. 64-65
Exhibit B: She played competitive Scrabble (like, are you serious? wtf?! #iwishididthat)
“I sat across from my first challenger. She was seeded nineteenth. My confidence swelled vulgarly… I felt an uncomfortable chill… She drew her seven tiles… I began drawing my tiles. Beneath the table, my legs were shaking. This is competitive Scrabble.” p. 31
Exhibit C: She, too, was whisked away by the world Suzanne Collins created in The Hunger Games series.
“Let me be clear: Team Peeta. I cannot fathom how one could be on any other team. Gale? I can barely acknowledge him. Peeta, on the other hand, is everything. He frosts things and bakes bread and is unconditional and unwavering in his love, and also he is very, very strong. He can throw a sack of flour, and he is a good kisser.” p. 138
Exhibit D: She has no tolerance for rape culture (the act of, songs & jokes related to as well the media portrayal of)
“We live in a society where the phrase “rape culture” exists because the culture itself exists. Rape humor is not “just jokes” or “stand-up.” Humor about sexual violence suggests permissiveness—not for the people who would never commit such acts but for the people who have whatever weakness allows them to do terrible things unto others.” p.182
Finally, Exhibit E: She recognizes her flaws as a feminist and takes ownership of them.
“Bad feminism seems like the only way I can both embrace myself as a feminist and be myself, and so I write. I chatter away on Twitter about everything that makes me angry and all the small things that bring me joy. I write blog posts… and with each new entry, I realize that I’m undestroying myself after years of allowing myself to stay damaged. The more I write, the more I put myself in the world as a bad feminist but, I hope, a good woman—I am being open about who I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become.” p.319
Bad Feminist is mainly about exploring what the term “feminist” really means because, let’s face it, the word “feminist” usually has a negative connotation attached to it. People either think you are a “man-hater” or “you’re too ideal and get off your high horse” or they place you on a pedestal and expect you to be perfect. This is precisely why Roxane Gay embraces the term “bad feminist” because she doesn’t agree with any of that. These ideas are too black and white. You can be a feminist and like the color pink or music that contains degrading lyrics, and if that makes you a horrible feminist then so be it. The important thing is you are aware that there is something intrinsically wrong with the gender stereotypes our society cultivates; furthermore, when it comes down to it, you understand the necessity of feminism. Ultimately, this book teaches its readers that good or bad, you’re a feminist if you don’t want to be treated like shit.
5 OUT OF 5 STARS
This book is motivational, enlightening and honest, not to mention witty as hell. And, you don’t have to be a woman, a lover of non-fiction or an advocate for the feminist cause to appreciate Roxane Gay’s writing, which is filled with spirit and grit. I know I cherished every minute of it. Seriously. Read. This. Book.
When asked this question in an interview, “‘who would you invite if you could assemble a dream book club?'” Roxane Gay responded: “‘Edith Wharton, Zadie Smith, Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah, Lena Dunham, Channing Tatum'” among others. (Source) Who would you invite to be in your dream book club?