Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist

Essays

Book - 2014
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A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. "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.
Publisher: New York :, Harper Perennial,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780062282712
0062282719
Characteristics: xiv, 320 pages ; 21 cm

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KatieD_KCMO Dec 03, 2018

So much has been written about Roxane Gay and her essays that I don't think I can add anything unique or new to the already existing commentary. This collection of essays, some long, some very short, was definitely ahead of it's time. While her pop culture and movie critiques are still satisfyingly relevant, I suggest foregoing some of the political essays in this collection and seeking out some of her more recent essays, post-Trump and #metoo movement, because Gay starts those conversation in some of these essays and surely has much more to say now that these issues have moved into the mainstream.

So much has been written about Roxane Gay and her essays that I don't think I can add anything unique or new to the already existing commentary. This collection of essays, some long, some very short, was definitely ahead of it's time. While her pop culture and movie critiques are still satisfyingly relevant, I suggest foregoing some of the political essays in this collection and seeking out some of her more recent essays, post-Trump and #metoo movement, because Gay starts those conversations in this collection and surely has much more to say now that these issues have moved into the mainstream.

AnnabelleLee27 Oct 25, 2018

A collection of smart, searing, and often funny essays. Gay brings her sharp intellect to explore aspects of American life in a culture which is in turns challenging, ridiculous, complicated, uplifting, and tragic. Her tone is conversational and deeply personal. Worthwhile and thought provoking read.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 06, 2018

While a lot has changed in a very few years, as a 2018 reader will notice, this is an excellent, smart look at pop culture viewed through an intersectional feminist lens.

PimaLib_ChristineR Jul 14, 2018

You should go into this book knowing that this is not a collection of essays about feminism. In fact, Gay clearly breaks the subjects up with subheadings, just to make it easy for you. So, if you're all in, only if this is a book about feminism, you're likely to be disappointed.

What I found fun about this book was that it covers a variety of topics, from the important to the trivial, a la David Foster Wallace. This is a non-academic work, by an academic, so she speaks about academia, and being a minority in academia, but she doesn't write from an academic perspective, but from the intensely personal. I don't share her interest in Sweet Valley High, or reality TV, but that didn't stop me from appreciating how well she wrote about the intensity of her feelings for particular pop staples that don't fit with the traditional idea of "feminism" and why she is not alone in feeling the pull of popular culture. Her essays can lure you in, and suddenly you find yourself at an overwhelming emotional and scary moment... after reading about Scrabble tournaments. Besides her humor, there are seriously dark moments that lead back to the idea that she'd rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.

So, in a way, even with the section headers, Gay is leading the reader in a specific direction which we may not see until it's on top of us. Her subheadings point out that the idea of "feminism" can only be a part of the conversation. That women are also a part of a culture, a race, a religion, a sexual orientation, that feeds into their views of themselves as women. By addressing these intersectional identities, Gay shows us her own view of feminism, and it isn't bad at all. If I had to pick one essay for the times we live in, I would recommend "The Careless Language of Sexual Violence."

e
Eosos
Apr 01, 2018

I liked this collection of essays, I liked how the author wrote, how she came across, her all too human thoughts and ideas. She's an interesting person with an interesting view of life. At least, I find it interesting as I come from a privileged middle class white background. I grew up and live is a largely middle class white religious area. I am not one of those people who can say "Don't worry my best friend is gay/black...." even if I wanted to use that pathetic excuse for saying something deeply homophobic or racist.
I can't say as I really thought this collection was much about feminism, I think it addressed issues on racism much more deeply then any feminist ideals. These were not new thoughts, not awe inspiring or revolutionary but they were heart felt and personal.
It is depressing to see how far we have to go to gain equality as a human race. Whether based on gender, race, religion; there is still so much we can't seem to solve, no matter how much money or resources we throw at it.
Nor does there seem to be any solutions to solve these massive differences in opinion or find a way to live with those opposing views.
I like to be positive and believe that humanity will learn to live together. There always seems to be hope somewhere. I choose to think it will prevail.
In the meantime.....I will educate myself, I will try to be a good example and maybe pay a little more attention to my daily choices.

u
Uchinaguchi
Oct 19, 2017

Roxane Gay is not writing these essays to dictate what a feminist is or who a feminist should be, but rather the complex nature of being a woman and her own contradictions between the person she thinks she should be and the person she is. Her essays focus have a specific focus but build onto one another to reveal a complex woman. Gay does not write to tell us how we should be, but to make sense of the woman she is. Because of this her writing is personal and allows the reader to connect through agreement or disagreement, but also through exposure. While I may not be well versed in 90s teenage television/books or black films, I now know more because Gay used her personal interests to illustrate a point. This book is a conversation, and while you have a transcript of Gay's side of the conversation, if you're engaged you'll be responding with your own internal dialogue.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Aug 22, 2017

The essays cover a wide array of topics, and I finished the book feeling like I really know who Roxane Gay is. The ultimate message is that there’s no wrong way to be a feminist. Someone can be an academic and still write wistfully about the allure of Sweet Valley High books. It’s okay to like pink, and it’s okay to take Scrabble tournaments very, very seriously. The essays about pop culture may seem like they aren’t serious, but then Gay shows the very serious side effects of how gender and race are portrayed. All of these essays were very relatable.

m
mslighthearted
Aug 19, 2017

I love Roxane Gay's writing. I read "Difficult Women" earlier this year and immediately felt compelled to read more of her writing. Sadly, "Bad Feminist" just misses the mark for me. There are a few notable essays (Blurred Lines & How to be Friends With Another Woman, as examples) but most of the other pieces in this book come across as regurgitated pop psychology rather than insightful ponderings. Would I recommend this book? Not a chance. Would I read more of Gay's writing? An emphatic YES!!

o
oheysteenz
Oct 26, 2016

Gay's writing is AMAZING. I feel like I've known her for years or she's just another member of my family. She brings up some really excellent essays on Scrabble competitions that really spoke to me. I'm obsessed with board game/video game documentaries so that whole chapter was quite the treat. Well done! Highly recommended!

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info_crush
Mar 01, 2015

"I would rather be a bad feminist, than no feminist at all."

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