Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Synopsis:

22032533“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Review:

Feminism is made out to be an ideal – there’s one way to do it, and if you deviate you’re bad at it.  Gay does a wonderful job pointing out that we can be less than perfect, dare I say even human?, and still believe and work for equality for all.

I highlighted passage after passage because her writing is full of truth and things I need to remind myself.

If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s nor your fault your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. Its okay for women to do it too.

Bwahahahaha.

I appreciate Gay’s message – no one is perfect, but we can all work to make things better.  Not just for women either, but for people of all colors and economic status and sexual orientations, too.  The informal writing style is easy to connect with

Many essays focus on pop culture and I’m afraid that even though the book is only a couple years old I was lost at times.  This is completely my fault – I’ve been living on the other side of the world for seven years now and I’m out of touch with the movies and music of my homeland.  I worry, though, that this timeliness will make the essays weaken with time as references are forgotten and societal moments pass.

There’s a lot to love here, and people newer to feminist thought will learn a lot of interesting and useful stuff.  While I have quotes that I’ll cherish forever I don’t think I’ll ever reread the book in full. And that’s fine – Gay has another book of essays on the horizon.

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2 thoughts on “Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

  1. I also really enjoyed this essay collection, but sometimes found myself lost by the pop culture references. I’ll definitely be looking forward to her next collection though :)

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