Published: August 5th 2014 by Harper Perennial
Source: Local Library
Format: Adult, Nonfiction, Essays, Feminism
Synopsis: 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 of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. 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.
Spoiler Free Review:
I feel like when most people look at the cover of this book, they might expect a misandrist piece of work about how men are trash and how women need to be put up on a pedestal and be recognized of their greatness and how they’ll soon takeover the planet, leaving men in the dust. How I wish that could be a reality. But I don’t think they actually took the time to really look at the title, Bad Feminist. What does Roxane Gay mean when she says bad? What Bad Feminist offers is a nuanced image of gender and what feminism means to her. Feminism means something different to each individual and it’s both a controversial and divided topic among people, feminist or otherwise. But what I think makes this piece of feminist lit different from the rest is in the title itself. It shows the many imperfections behind feminism and its true meaning.
Through a series of essays, Gay brings up a variety of issues while bringing her personal story in to it as well. She talks about her as a college professor, at a weight loss camp, her own experience with sexual assault. There’s analyses on other works of feminist literature and literal book reviews. Some essays were sardonic, while others were painful to read. In particular, there was mentions of trigger warnings and how it represents people wanting to hide underneath a safety blanket and not face whatever fear they’re hiding from. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Gay was discussing, it was interesting to get a perspective on trigger warnings I hadn’t realized before. Trigger warnings are meant to protect those who may have traumatic experience(s) attached to the topic until they feel ready to confront it if they want to. While I do understand the importance of trigger warnings and I do condone them, it was intriguing to get another point of view.
While reading these essays, some may seem completely unrelated to the main topic of feminism. However, feminism at it’s core is about equality and all of these deal with some form of inequality. In particular, I loved when Roxane Gay discussed how she was a bad feminist, her flaws and others flaws in feminism. How she doesn’t hate men and finds them quite interesting. How gender is much more gray than society realizes, just as gray as feminism itself. I think these are the kind of things I would love to see more of in feminism, the gray areas that no one seems to talk about.
To me, Bad Feminist is a staple in feminist literature because it represents what I love about feminist and what I’d love to see in feminism. Though I didn’t necessarily love every essay, it still definitely serves as learning material in exploring feminism, and even if you aren’t a feminist, I would still try reading it. Feminism isn’t the only thing explore in this book so I would recommend, feminist or otherwise. Trust me when I say Roxane Gay’s honest truth will not disappoint.