Book Club: Bad Feminist
I have always been interested in Roxane Gay since I heard her TED talk years ago. I had her book, Bad Feminist on my "to-read" list for years before I finally decided to download the audio book. I agreed with a lot of what she was saying and also disagreed with some of what she was saying. When I finished, I felt so many different emotions that I had to sleep on it before even giving it a star review on Goodreads. This is rare for me. By the time I'm done with a book, I know if I liked it or I didn't and with Bad Feminist, I just couldn't really say anything definitive. Now that I've had a few nights to sleep on it and think about it, I'm ready to write my review.
Bad Feminist by 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 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.
I consider myself a feminist. I don't think that the term feminist means "man-hater" or "shrew" or many of the other negative connotations out there when it comes to feminists. I am a feminist because I see the inequality of men and women in the world (and in my personal life) and I acknowledge it and I want to help fix it because I think society as a whole could benefit from it. That's it - not a radical concept. I also consider myself a bit of a "bad" feminist for the exact same reasons that Roxane Gay lists for herself. She's all for the empowerment of women and is against the objectification of women but... she also listens to gangster rap or reads 50 Shades and the like that makes her beliefs seem hypocritical, for example. I get that because we also live in a world that's not black and white. I was all ears.
Most of the essays in this book were written about subjects I completely agreed with, but not all. There were some I completely disagreed with and felt her arguments were based on a flawed logic. That said, all of the essays were extremely well-written and well argued which was why I couldn't nit pick on her writing or her style. I LOVED her style and I adore her voice. Even when I disagreed.
For the record, I don't think Gay is a man-hater or an extremist. She's a logical person who points out a lot of flaws from a feminist standpoint on a lot of the things we enjoy in pop culture. She never tells us to stop enjoying the things we like but she simply makes her opinions known on these subjects. That's it. Her critical eye has helped me open mine on a few things that I (used to) enjoy and as exhausting as it is sometimes, I don't think it's a bad thing to be open minded about things that may be harmful to society and our systemic injustices. If you consider yourself a feminist or are interested in feminism (even for the sake of debunking it, if that's your cup of tea), I would totally check this book out. It's most definitely worth it.