Bad Feminist eBook ↠ Paperback

  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Bad Feminist
  • Roxane Gay
  • English
  • 18 April 2015
  • 9781472119735

10 thoughts on “Bad Feminist

  1. Rowena Rowena says:

    25 starsEssays are one of my favourite literary genres and recently I've read some amazing essay collections that have introduced me to new ideas and new writing styles so perhaps I put overly high expectations on Roxane Gay's essay collection Overall I'd have to say I was disappointed but this might have a lot to do with my high expectations and perhaps that I am not this book's intended audienceThe book started off uite well I liked the introduction in which Gay discusses what it means to be a bad feminist an imperfect woman in a world in which women are expected to strive for unattainable perfection at all times I was able to relate to the sentiment a lot of women have of wanting to steer clear of the feminist title because of its often negative connotations and also because of not understanding what the theory was truly about There are a few reasons why this book didn’t do it for me1 This book is too heavy on pop culture which isn't really for me I'm probably the wrong audience for this book because after all I don't watch reality TV or any of the television shows Gay critiues I’m not interested in critiues of 50 Shades of Grey Gone Girl or Twilight at all so it's not a surprise that I didn't enjoy those particular essays2 I think I was confused by the main thesis of this book I expected all the essays to be on feminism an alternative and uniting for our diverse pluralistic society type of feminism This book was essentially a mixture of feminist essays loosely feminist essays essays on observations of race class and pop culture critiue and some memoir style essays I’m not even sure whether I can call the majority of them essays as they read like blog posts Although I've learned a lot from reading people’s blogs a paperback perhaps isn’t the right medium for this type of writing 3 I wasn't challenged enough I felt like Gay was trying to say look I’m an academic but I’m still cool I appreciate and admire postmodernist feminist writers when they write in their own styles and don’t feel the need to stick to conventional dry academic writing styles but this particular style just didn't engage me I read a lot of feminist literature and I guess what I always look for when I finish books like this are new realizations new ideas and things I didn't know before but this was simply a rehash of the last two years of pop culture discussion on Twitter 4 I was uite frankly uninterested in most of her essays Some of the essays ended too soon; I had no idea where she was going with some of them and when I had finally figured it out the essay had ended I can definitely see Gay's appeal and the idea of her appeals to me as well This is a world in which women are constantly being silenced or being called histrionic strident etc for having an opinion or talking about controversial issues that make people uncomfortable so I always support women who have found their voice and are able to express themselves Gay does bring up lots of important topics such as rape racismracial stereotypes and abortion and these topics still need to be discussed and dealt with With all that being said I did like uite a few of the essays The ones on race were decent Personally as a black woman in academia I enjoyed her discourse on the lack of black professors in academia and I have to say that it was not until graduate school that I ever had a black professor or even black classmates for that matter and that was a big deal for meGay is definitely a passionate and fearless writer It's too bad I didn't enjoy her essays as much as I'd expected to

  2. Roxane Roxane says:

    This writer certainly has a LOT OF OPINIONS I mean

  3. Julie Christine Julie Christine says:

    I became aware of the “I don’t need feminism because ” meme several months ago You know—those photos of young women holding up signs that read things like “I don’t need feminism because I am capable of critical thinking” or “I don’t need feminism because I am not a delusional disgusting hypocritical man hater” I shook my head rolled my eyes but still these weird declarations chilled me How did a socio political movement founded on the principles of empowerment and eual rights become reduced to “disgusting man haters”? Who are these ignorant young women who believe that feminism is a dirty word something to be ashamed of and how do they not understand what they owe to the generations before them and how much work there is yet to do?For the purpose of this review these uestions are purely rhetorical The answers are there they are complex and the subject of many a dissertation I am certain Which is probably why Tumblrs of anti feminist rants exist—we stopped talking about what feminism means on an every day cultural level Feminism removed itself to the alabaster towers of academe where concepts such as intersectionality essentialism Third Wave feminism and patriarchal bargaining are no match for the mainstream which is still shuddering over 80s shoulder pads as wide as an airplane hangar Well thank God for Roxane Gay and her collection of intimate generous witty and wholly accessible essays Bad Feminist Her voice is the first I’ve heard say “It’s okay to be messy to hold conflicting opinions to do things that don’t follow the party line to uestion and be confused and STILL be a feminist” As she says in the collection’s closing line “I’d rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all”First a few things you should know about Roxane Gay she’s a writer of novels short stories essays; a professor of English; a literary and cultural critic; a native of Nebraska the daughter of Haitian immigrants You will learn much about Roxane by reading her essays Some of what she shares will make you laugh Some of it will break your heart At some point she will hit a nerve and piss you off though not when she writes about participating in Scrabble competitions she's adorable and so so funny here She ruminates chats gossips but rarely does Gay conclude Her essays hinge on the ellipses of what makes us human our vulnerabilities our inconsistencies our flaws Like each of us she is “a mess of contradictions;” hence her admission her claim to being a “bad feminist”Don’t look here for an historical treatise or a modern exposition of feminism This is not a textbook It is not a uick and dirty “Feminism for Dummies” It is one woman’s thoughts many of these essays have been published previously giving to a loose and rangy feeling to this collection on a wide range of contemporary American issues political and cultural with the basic theme of how feminism can confound and inspire Gay is a pop culture enthusiast and many of her essays examine contemporary race and gender relations through the filter of current cultural touchstones She is an unabashed consumer of what are pointlessly referred to as ‘guilty pleasures’ I floundered a bit at times feeling like I was smushed into a corner booth with a bunch of girlfriends at brunch suirming and looking around the diner unable to contribute to the conversation I haven’t had television since 1993 and I don't read fan ficStill I soaked up what Gay had to say about the pop culture phenoms even if I couldn’t relate to the details She has this raw way of setting forth her opinion often pointed contrary angry or biting but without a hint of snobbery You get that she gets it’s opinion not gospel She makes many points that resonated deeply with this reader In the essay Beyond the Measure of Men Gay writes The label “women’s fiction” is often used with such disdain I hate how “women” has become a slur I hate how some women writers twist themselves into knots to distance themselves from “women’s fiction” as if we have anything to be ashamed of as women who write what we want to write I don’t care of my fiction is labeled as women’s fiction I know what my writing is and what it isn’t Someone else’s arbitrary designation can’t change that If readers discount certain topics as unworthy of their attention then the failure is with the reader not the writer To read narrowly and shallowly is to read from a place of ignorance and women writers can’t fix that ignorance no matter what kind of books we write or how those books are marketed”But in later essays The Trouble with Prince Charming The Solace of Preparing Fried Foods and Other uaint Remembrances from 1960s Mississippi Thoughts on The Help and Surviving Django she takes to task both the writers and readers of Fifty Shades of Gray Twilight and The Help and the film Django Unchained Gay draws the inclusive reading line at irresponsible writing of poor uality that celebrates the subjugation and abuse of women and at writing and film that craps all over the black American experience Gay also naturally discusses feminism from the perspective of a woman of color This opens worlds of opinion and perspective that this reader craves In light of this summer’s controversy over domestic abuse the NFL and the punishment Janay Rice suffered at the hands of her husband and the media as well as the killing of Michael Brown and the unrest in Ferguson MO I want to ask these young women of Tumblr “How’s that ‘I don’t need feminism’ working out for you?” For I do not believe that feminism is the purview of women It belongs to all who advocate for social justice and human rights Gay makes the point again and again in so many clever and self effacing ways that we have isolated ourselves in our narrow categories Feminism is not spared her scorn it has largely excluded women of color ueer women transgendered women it hasn’t dealt adeuately with fat shaming it doesn’t recognize privilege it offers up highly educated wealthy successful white women Marissa Mayer Sheryl Sandburg as proof that things have changed But what is most striking about Bad Feminist is to hear a strong wise accomplished vocal woman say “I’m still trying to figure out what feminism means to me”

  4. Molly Molly says:

    Trite trivial narcissistic and vacuous beyond belief There's nothing thoughtful or interesting here; the collection is one pretext after another for Gay to publicly exhibit her triviality and bad taste forgive herself for it and demand applause Readers are inveigled into service as Gay's indulgent confessors The repeated routine is a Gay admits to loving some god awful schlock b Gay ponders her own courage in making this disclosure c Gay discovers consuming this schlock is really both personally virtuous and politically salient which are indistinguishable You suspect I exaggerate? I understateOn Reality Television Reality television often gives the impression that like gender the whole of life is a performance The Los Angeles mansion or the tropical jungle or the fading rock star’s tour bus is the stage and what a stage it is brightly lit lurid encouraging us to see the garish spectacle of life at it’s most artificially real I watch it all the faux highbrow fare of Bravo the booze soaked MTV programming the glossy competition shows on CBS the sleazy exploitative fare of VH1 and even the off brand shows on lesser cable networks like Bad Girls Club and Sister WivesNo one shines luridly on this faux real stage than a woman Whether it’s a modeling competition a chance to compete for love a weight loss show or a look into the lives of an aging magazine publisher’s harem women are often the brightly polished trophies in the display case of reality television The genre has developed a very successful formula for reducing women to an awkward series of stereotypes about low self esteem marriage desperation the inability to develop meaningful relationships with other women and an obsession with an almost pornographic standard of beauty When it comes to reality television women often than not work very hard at performing the part of woman though their scripts are shamefully shamefully warpedReality Bites Back The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV by Jennifer Pozner is a very smart book that skewers reality television for its sexist racist and dehumanizing tactics in nearly every genre of reality television While I think of myself as media literate and a feminist I don’t know that any book I’ve read this year has made me as uncomfortable as Reality Bites Back for its incisive examination of what I have often thought of as harmless entertainment programming I had to uestion what it says about me that I take so much pleasure in the drama of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or the drunken weave snatching antics of Rock of Love or Flavor of Love that I like many others take pleasure in what Pozner brands “the cathartic display of other people’s humiliations” These shows exist because audiences need reminders of the wrong turns our lives might takeOn The Hunger Games I have found myself inexplicably drawn to these books the complex world Collins has created and the people she has placed in that worldI am not the kind of person who becomes so invested in a book or movie or television show that my interest becomes a hobby or intense obsession one where I start to declare allegiances or otherwise demonstrate a serious level of commitment to something fictional I had no hand in creatingOr I wasn’t that kind of personLet me be clear Team Peeta I cannot even 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 is what I am saying Peeta is a place of solace and hope and he is a good kisser In December 2011 I didn’t really know much about The Hunger Games Given my abiding interest in pop culture I’m not sure how I missed the booksI do most of my leisure reading at the gym I hate exercise Yes it’s good for you and weight loss and whatever but normally I work out and want to die I really do I knew I was in love with The Hunger Games when I did not want to get off the treadmill The book captivated me from the first page I wanted to keep walking so I could stay in the world Collins created More than that The Hunger Games moved me There was so much at stake so much drama and it was all so intriguing so hypnotizing so intense and dark I particularly appreciated what the books got right about strength and endurance suffering and survival I found myself gasping and hissing and even bursting into tears than once I looked insane but I did not care I was completely without shameDoes any investigation follow these displays of pleasure? Any inuiry into these effects of consumer ecstasy and the political aesthetic or formal aspects of the works that provoke them? Nothing Like a tween's book report the shallow analysis is limited to descriptive characterization; the one relation Gay has to these fictions is identification and fantasy Two centuries of political and aesthetic theorizing and literary criticism and nearly a century of the critiue of mass culture have completely passed Gay by and she remains in a critical infancy celebrating her own every impulsive and naive reaction to the prods and stimulations of these processed snack entertainments These products Gay exhibits herself consuming serve her as occasions and instruments for the most solipsistic autocommuning and self exploration tossing up an endless stream of clichés My love for these books at its purest is not really about Peeta or anything silly though still I love that a young woman character is fierce and strong but human in ways I find believable relatable Katniss was clearly a heroine but a heroine with issues She intrigued me because she never seemed to know her own strength She wasn’t blandly insecure the way girls are often forced to be in fiction She was brave but flawed She was a heroine but she was also a girl who loved two boys and couldn’t choose which boy she loved best She was not sure she was up to the task of leading a revolution but she did her best even when she doubted herselfThroughout the books Katniss endures the unendurable She is damaged and it shows At times it might seem like her suffering is gratuitous but life often presents unendurable circumstances people manage to survive Only the details differ The Hunger Games trilogy is dark and brutal but in the end the books also offer hope—for a better world and a better people and for one woman a better life for herself—a life she can share with a man who understands her strength and doesn’t expect her to compromise that strength a man who can hold her weak places and love her through the darkest of her memories the worst of her damage Of course I love these books The trilogy offers the kind of tempered hope everyone who survives something unendurable hungers forThis is all a kind of advertising doubling as promotion of personal brand; Roxane Gay is developed as a vendible celebrity attention magnet because of her consumption of these brands with a ostentatiously childish naive appetite and trembling excitement that is repeatedly declared delightfully naughty in an innocent way In turn the brands are re energized and valorized by the spectacle of Gay's uirky celebrity self regarding narcissistic enjoyment

  5. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    “Feminists are just women who don’t want to be treated like shit”Well Roxane Gay and I both have a favorite uote in common now and I'll also be calling myself a bad feminist because I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at allI went into this book not knowing much about the author I feel in love with her just with the intro I didn’t really connect with some of the stories especially the first third but things picked up towards the middle of this book and laughed out loud during the bits about Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey Overall I think it was hard to connect with some of the essays simply because I hadn’t read the books or watch the movies that were mentioned

  6. Oriana Oriana says:

    Well this was a huge disappointment I had such high hopes for Roxane Gay A Haitian American cultural critic with a master's and a nonperfect body type? Yes I was sure she would eviscerate popular culture and social injustice with an incisive eye and a uniue perspective But nope These aren't really essays; they're like unstructured wallowings ramblings that just flit from thing to thing and never get anywhere or lead to any new thinking Yes Gay takes stream of consciousness meanders through race and class and reality television and sexual violence and Twitter and respectability politics and Scrabble and The Hunger Games But there's no structure In one essay she'll talk about Twilight and then she'll talk about rape and then she'll talk about fairy tales without ever returning or making any broad claims that tie it all together In another she goes on and on about how bad Law Order SVU is for our society and perpetuating rape culture and then she says I've watched every episode of this show multiple times I don't know what that says about me You don't? Why not? This is a book of personal essays Why don't you ponder that a little bit and try to draw some goddamn conclusions? I never felt challenged by her ideas and I don't think she challenged herself to actually dig into them either In an essay about why the book is called Bad Feminist she rails against the idea of an essential feminism whereby all feminists can be grouped into one category that's defined by a fixed set of ideals and traits And then immediately after that she explains that she's a bad feminist because she likes the color pink and refuses to learn how cars work and wants to have a baby Did she not even re read her own work before sending it off to be put in a book?I think part of the problem plagiarizing myself from my own comments is that because of teh internetz publishers are conflating popular on Twitter with is able to write well They're tossing off book deals to anyone with an impressive following and not pushing writers to do harder work than they've already done online As if having a talent for snappy one liners is not the exact goddamn opposite of being good at thinking deeply about an idea and drawing surprising and interesting conclusions from itOn a personal note another issue has to be that I read this so shortly after the fall down stunning Empathy Exams Jamison's dazzling pieces—or really any essays done well—read like tightly constructed meditations beginning middle end investigations pursuing an attempt to solve a uandary or at least interrogating an idea and shaking loose some brilliance from it But Gay's essays are all basically unsophisticated blog posts They never got anywhere and just left me frustratedIn conclusion there are some really fantastic essay collections being published today This is definitely not one of 'em

  7. Jessica Jeffers Jessica Jeffers says:

    It's not very often that a book causes me to weep uncontrollably in public but this book did Roxane Gay moved me in a way that I haven't been moved in uite a while with this collection of essays ostensibly umbrella'd under the topic of feminism In reality only about a third of the essays directly address feminism; Gay also addresses race culture and Scrabble competitions It's eual parts commentary memoir and critical analysis It's pretty phenomenal I don't even know where to begin when it comes to expressing how much I love the way this woman writes I could read her all day every day Even the essays whose theses I disagreed with I loved the way they were written Even the essays whose topics were beyond my realm of personal experience I loved the way they were written Then there's the fact that I absolutely fucking love her take on feminism in the 21st century I don't know if there's ever really been a time that feminism didn't have some form of dirty word connotations associate with it but we're currently living in a time where the Women Against Feminism Tumblr portrays feminism as a philosophy meant to raise women up at the expense of men The girls on that blog really need to spend some time actually reading feminist theory instead of just regurgitating what Rush Limbaugh tells them feminism is about because most of their claims so wildly miss the point but that's a rant for another day The problem with feminism today is that there's no coherent central focus other than the obvious euality for women There's different schools of thought under the umbrella of feminism that espouse different points of view and many of those schools are rooted in the cross sectional experience of being a feminist and Something Else whether it's a black woman a lesbian woman or a Jewish woman Unfortunately the voices that rise above the others and are seen as representative of all feminists are often white middle class women and those feminists don't represent Roxane Gay's feminism The ways that she expresses her feminism clash with what she calls Capital F Feminism in a way that's always made her feel like a bad feminist and that is where much of this collection springs from She writes about the myriad aspects of her personal identity combining race gender sexuality life as an academic I don't necessarily identify or agree with all of her points but when she hits a nerve she hits it HARD The series of essays on sexual violence particularly What We Hunger For in which she talks about strength in women and her own experience as a victim of rape were phenomenally moving The conversations that our country has had about the topic of rape in the last couple of years have been sickening and heartbreaking I wish the piece The Careless Language of Sexual Violence had been included as an afterword to her novel An Untamed State because it forced me to completely re think the way I thought about that novel and its representations of violence and sexual assault Those pieces reduced me to a blubbering mess sobbing on the terrace at my office building during my lunch break Roxane Gay is also the first person to make me want to read The Hunger Games series and the first person to make me feel okay for not liking Caitlin Moran all that much she's alright but doesn't seem to understand that her experience is not necessarily representative of all women Some of the essays are a little overly academic in tone and that my turn off some readers but this is a phenomenal piece of work It's great to be reminded that feminism shouldn't be about women doing certain things careers over domesticity blowing off patriarchal standards of beauty by not shaving or wearing makeup but about enabling women to make their own damn decisions about those things I just wish those things weren't widely seen as contradictory to feminism or bad feminism

  8. Diana Stegall Diana Stegall says:

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when people talk about Roxane Gay I went into this hoping to love this book hoping it would be revelatory as promised or that I would be better off for having read it But it was a slog to get through and I can't recommend it to anyone who's spent than a cursory 5 minutes on the internet reading cultural criticism It isn’t simply that she fails to offer nuanced critiue or that she contradicts herself it's that these essays are horribly written They're terribly sloppily constructed Fully half of the essays in this collection have my scribble in the margin What the hell is her thesis? Where is she going with this? There's no POINT to it all except to point out that racism and sexism still exist and are reflected and amplified by our pop culture artifacts No duh? I guess if all she did was rehash these issues in a coherent thoughtful and elegant way that would be enough I can recommend a beautiful piece of writing even when it adds nothing new to the discussion There's something to be said for elegant writing in its own right but this book doesn't offer such writing These read like the blog pieces they originally wereThis is a published essay collection This was her big spotlighted debut Considering the hype which preceded its publication this book should represent the very best criticism she can muster the most crystallized opinions the most exuisitely unfolded trains of thought If this meandering pointless collection of dressed up Tumblr posts is the best criticism she can offer to a publisher it's sorely disappointingEDIT Folks can take umbrage at the last third of this essay though I think if you're not ready to talk about your own history of sexual violence you're not obligated to but you can't mention that PRECISELY following an essay calling out other female writers for their failure to write explictly about their histories of sexual violence but there is no denying the rest of this review is spot freaking on 2 Two years later I'm knocking this book down to one star because it still makes me angry to see it on bookshelves I threw away my copy This book represents the worst that 21st century criticism has to offer thoughtless incurious lazy and ultimately devoid of rigor

  9. Kristina Kristina says:

    I fucking hate Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist It’s disappointing on every level and has nothing thought provoking to say about anything It’s full of obvious statements juvenile essays about YA books she loves and easy breezy criticisms of other books If you want to read about feminism don’t start with this book It was reviewed and marketed as a book about gender issues and feminism Aside from the introduction the topic of gender and feminism isn’t broached in any serious way until page 71 in a terrible chapter called “Garish Glorious Spectacles” I wish the title had reflected the reality that this is a book of general essays in which feminism is just one of many topics I’ve also learned that many if not all of the essays were previously published on the internet Had I known this I never would have bought it Anyone writing any kind of shit can be “published” on the internet Bad Feminist is a deliberately provocative title designed to grab media attention thus readers’ attention Don’t fall for the hype The writing is technically competent but not at a level I expected Gay often tries to be funnyshe’s not In fact in other essays she demonstrates a very amusing lack of humor and inability to see the joke—particularly when it’s on her She has an unusual background—daughter of Haitian immigrants often the only black girl amongst white girls and later the only professional black woman in her department if not the whole university—but her experiences do not translate into dynamic details Her writing is as bland and as unremarkable as the popular white girls she worshipped in school and the creepy perfect blond girls in the Sweet Valley High books that she desperately wanted to become While I suppose that Gay is intelligent and accomplished and an adult I suppose this because she tells me so that does not come through in her essays In the first chapter “Feel Me See Me Hear Me Reach Me” Gay discusses how hard she’s worked to achieve her successes and how much she wants to be liked She comes across as desperate to be liked—both in her younger schooling days and now This impression doesn’t hold true for all of the essays but she still seems to be that young girl and grad student craving acceptance and affection from popular white girls Her essays have no teeth; they do not shock me surprise me or offend me I was promised a bad feminist and Gay does not deliver The essays are grouped into subjects “Me” “Gender Sexuality” “Race Entertainment” etc The essays in her first section “Me” are a colorless summary of her childhood and schooling leading into her career as a professor My opinion of those essays she watches too much crappy tv and needs to get a life She also needs to get some self esteem and uit wishing for people to like her Like yourself first The essay “Peculiar Benefits” takes on the subject of “privilege” She repeats the word “privilege” so many times it begins to sound weird in my head Privilege privilege privilege She talks about how she is privileged how others are privileged and the different types of privilege eg economic gender religious racial We’re all guilty of being privileged in some way or another and we shouldn’t judge others She talks about Playing the Game of Privilege and that it’s mental masturbation I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about and who plays this game I understand that yes if you’re white you have a leg up over all the other minorities If you’re also white male and wealthy then you’ve hit the jackpot of privilege But she goes on and on about this notion of privilege and I can’t help but think she’s dancing around the subject of affirmative action She never says that but she alludes to it not in this essay If she wants to discuss affirmative action as a way to correct white privilege then why doesn’t she? Or if that’s not what she means then she should say that too It’s as if she’s saying look we all have some kind of privilege so stop judging the idea of affirmative action She’s defending it without being explicit That’s gutless Say what you mean for crying out loud That’s a good discussion to have and as a white person I’d be very interested to hear her thoughts on it But she hides behind the word “privilege” and avoids having a discussion that is worthy of having In “To Scratch Claw or Grope Clumsily or Frantically” Gay tells the reader all about her experiences competing in Scrabble tournaments I don’t give a shit about Scrabble tournaments After reading this trivial and not funny at all essay I give even less of a shit about competitive Scrabble I didn’t think that was possible but Gay with her 30 annoying footnotes and excessive details about the rules of tournament Scrabble proved to me it was I don’t know where this essay belongs but it does not belong in a book entitled Bad FeministIn the “Gender Sexuality” section the essays do not improve Her first essay “How to Be Friends with Another Woman” is a long list of mostly common sense items Seriously if you need to be told to be genuinely happy for your woman friends when they are successful and happy #5 then you’re probably an asshole who shouldn’t have friends Other items are so incredibly juvenile and immature #6B Begin serious conversations with an emphatic “GIRL” and #9 “Don’t let your friends buy ugly outfits or accessories you don’t want to look at when you hang out This is just common sense” 49—what the fuck Roxanne Are you 16? that I did a head smack when reading them This list completely undermines my efforts to take anything Gay says seriously That’s my biggest problem with Gay—I can’t take her seriously Her essays seem to have been written with barely any thought and very little research She wants approval for saying that yeah sexism is bad and racism is bad Really? That’s not much of a stretch She reminds me of an idiot former co worker who often described herself as a “different kind of Christian” because she didn’t say anything mean about black people and thought gay people should be allowed to marry I mean wow Please congratulate yourself on meeting the lowest expectation of human kindness That’s how I think of Gay She seems to want to be loved respected and applauded for saying the most obvious fucking things Gay has nothing of interest to say to me Nothing She often doesn’t seem to understand the books she reads and criticizes She uotes two sentences from Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman and completely misses the point of the text and the joke Caitlin Moran “All women love babies—just like all women love Manolo Blahnik shoes and George Clooney Even the ones who wear nothing but sneakers or are lesbians and really hate shoes and George Clooney” This is how Gay interprets that “Again this is funny but it is also untrue and to try to generalize about women for the sake of humor dismisses the diversity of women and what we love Moran undermines herself by privileging there’s that damn word again feminism as something that can exist in isolation of other considerations Her feminism exists in a very narrow vacuum to everyone’s detriment” 104 The joke of course is that Moran is being sarcastic—women are supposed to like those things even if it’s obvious they don’t I would guess since Gay very carefully picks out sentences to criticize that Moran’s greater theme is that women are viewed in a very narrow spectrum by someone The second joke is on Gay for being oblivious of Moran’s joke This seems to be the norm of Gay’s critiues of other books She is uick to form criticisms of the books and doesn’t put enough effort into digesting what she’s readGay is clear about one thing her enthusiastic consumption of popular media Anyone over the age of 25 who has such fangirl reactions to reality tv The Hunger Games “Let me be clear Team Peeta I cannot fathom how one could be on any other team” 138 and the Sweet Valley High series has lost my respect Not that an intelligent woman can’t enjoy these things But her essays about these topics smack of school girl fervor Plus she included them in a book titled Bad Feminist a book I expected would be full of thought provoking essays on feminism not suees over Peeta Her essay about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is way longer than the subject deserves Gay makes the mistake of taking the books seriously She knows they are based on Twilight fan fiction correction they are fan fiction—James basically just changed the characters’ names however she feels the need to point out the obvious the books are sloppily edited poorly written and unrealistic Despite how incredibly silly and ridiculous the books are she criticizes them for “flagrantly pathologizing the BDSM lifestyle as strictly a way for fucked up people to work out their emotional issuesit is not an accurate portrayal of the community It sends a wrong and unfair message about kink” 200 Gay let’s keep some perspective It’s fucking Fifty Shades of Grey Anyone who takes anything in the books seriously is already a lost cause Plus it’s a fictional book Based on Gay’s logic any author who describes her serial killer character as a blue eyed blonde is also “inaccurately portraying” blue eyed blondes After all not all of them are murderers She continues “The books are essentially a detailed primer for how to successfully engage in a controlling abusive relationship” 201 As if men and women although really men need a “primer” for how to control women Yes I’m sure that men who decide to be controlling think to themselves “HmmI’d like to be able to completely control and dominate my woman but don’t know how to go about it I guess I’ll read Fifty Shades of Grey because it’s recommended as the perfectly detailed primer for how to successfully engage in controlling abusive relationships” What’s even dumber is that Christian Grey never does control Ana the idiot If anything she controls him with her whining her tears and her often unintentional slow response to answering his texts and emails Ana makes her own choices She chooses to stay with him He doesn’t force her Gay even unwittingly undermines her own “Mr Grey is an evil controlling asshole” assertion by writing he “tries” to control her; she “inexplicably” signs an agreement if she had no choice in the matter there’d be nothing “inexplicable” about it; he “offers” to travel with her; and “Time and again she chooses to sacrifice what she really wants for the opportunity to be loved by her half assed Prince Charming” 203 Ana wasn’t in a controlling abusive relationship He warned her about the kind of “relationship” he wanted She thought she could turn him into the perfect boyfriend That’s it What’s so amusing disgusting irritating about this essay is that one she put way fucking thought into it than she did her supposed feminist essays and two she says we cannot dismiss the flaws of the trilogy just because the books are fun and the sex is hot giggle Oh no “The damaging tone has too broad a reach That tone reinforces pervasive cultural messages women are already swallowing about what they should tolerate in romantic relationships about what they should tolerate to be loved by their Prince Charming” 204 Those aren’t the flaws of the books The “damage” of the books is that they are poorly written shoddily if at all edited and yet they were published and made a lot of money These books demonstrate that the reading public easily embraces shitty books—that’s as far as I’m concerned the real damage of these books At the end of this horrible book of essays Gay finally explicitly revisits her supposed main thesis in “Bad Feminist Take One” and “Bad Feminist Take Two” The first essay is a whole lot of privilege bitching about Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In The second essay explains that she is a bad feminist because she apparently doesn’t fit the very narrow definition of a feminist that Gay herself decided upon She likes the color pink She likes reading Vogue She likes dresses She shaves her legs sweet Jesus say it isn’t so She doesn’t know anything about cars She listens to music that has sexist lyrics She commits the unpardonable sin of liking men having sex with them no and wanting babies that’s it kill her Who is her audience? Who the fuck is she speaking to? It’s as if she’s trying to differentiate herself from Andrea Dworkin who probably would have throttled her for liking pink and wearing dresses but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Gay has not one fucking clue who Andrea Dworkin was So what is her definition of a feminist? This is what she says “My favorite definition of ‘feminist’ is ‘women who don’t want to be treated like shit’ This definition is pointed and succinct but I run into trouble when I try to expand that definition I fall short as a feminist I feel like I am not as committed as I need to be that I am not living up to feminist ideals because of who and how I choose to be” 303 So what ideals is she not living up to? Why does liking pink listening to misogynistic rap music and liking babies make you a bad anything? Why does the definition she cites have to be expanded to include arbitrary conditions and limitations? Basically Gay calls herself a “bad” feminist because she is gasp a human woman full of contradictions Just like I guess every other human woman on the planet She likes shitty reality television shows obsesses over YA novels and enjoys music with non PC attitudes towards women Gay admits this in her essays proclaims that these interests are bad for her feminist soul then pats herself on the back for being so so brave to admit all this to the world Now we the reading female public should wipe the tears from our eyes and thank her for showing us the way—we too can be brave and admit our love for shitty tv and garbage novels Thank you Roxanne Gay If you like all that stuff and still have the courage to call yourself a feminist albeit a “bad” one then we must be strong enough to hang out our feminist flags too Give me a fucking break Gay has absolutely nothing to add to the conversation about feminism As a black woman she has nothing to add to the conversation about racism either All her indignation is of the most obvious kind I’m angry because I believed a very polished and misleading marketing campaign and bought this book I’m angered by the sophomoric writing and juvenile essays and her complete lack of understanding regarding feminism To narrowly define feminism by the shallow guidelines of your favorite color your preference in entertainment and whether you shave your various body parts is fucking ridiculous and an insult to intelligent women and men who actually do call themselves feminists and actually do fucking think about what the word means A feminist is a person who demands to be treated as a human being A person who wants control of her body who refuses to be ashamed for being a sexual being who wants to be respected and receive eual pay for her knowledge abilities and accomplishments A feminist does not limit the idea of feminism to only professional women to only heterosexual women to only white women Gay is a bad feminist not because she likes pink or reads Vogue She’s a bad feminist because she thinks those fucking things even matter

  10. Nat Nat says:

    I've been on the look out to read feminist books but most of the ones I tried reading before focus heavily on either privileged males and or sexual assaults which then leads to me feeling terrified to leave my homeHowever Bad Feminist focuses on Gay's opinions about “misogyny institutional sexism that consistently places women at a disadvantage the ineuity in pay the cult of beauty and thinness the repeated attacks on reproductive freedom violence against women and on and on” And I felt strongly included Roxane Gay's wit is so sharp and on point I couldn't help but be instantly swept away into her writing voice Her essays reached me made me feel like I was a part of something “I am a bad feminist I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all”In Bad Feminist 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 cultureThere were so many great essays that it was simply too tempting not to share my favorites uotes from each and every one of them Feel Me See Me Hear Me Reach Me “So many of us are reaching out hoping someone out there will grab our hands and remind us we are not as alone as we fear”Exactly how reading this collection felt like “ I learned about how ignorant I am I am still working to correct this” Peculiar Benefits “Privilege is a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit advantage or favor There is racial privilege gender and identity privilege heterosexual privilege economic privilege able bodied privilege educational privilege religious privilege and the list goes on and on At some point you have to surrender to the kinds of privilege you hold Nearly everyone particularly in the developed world has something someone else doesn’t something someone else yearns for”Going into these essays it was very important for me to get educated about certain kinds of privileges and Roxane Gay did so in the most informative way “You could however use that privilege for the greater good—to try to level the playing field for everyone to work for social justice to bring attention to how those without certain privileges are disenfranchised We’ve seen what the hoarding of privilege has done and the results are shameful” How to Be Friends with Another Woman When I read the table of contents I was so damn excited to get to this essay And it was just as great as I had hoped it be“Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy toxic or competitive This myth is like heels and purses—pretty but designed to SLOW women down”“If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women consider that maybe women aren’t the problem Maybe it’s just you”“Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy”My mother’s favorite saying is “ui se ressemble s’assemble” Whenever she didn’t approve of who I was spending time with she’d say this ominously It means essentially you are whom you surround yourself with”This saying thanks to my mom also educating me about this when I way younger turned out to be one of my favorite sayings too I Once Was Miss America “Nostalgia is powerful It is natural human to long for the past particularly when we can remember our histories as better than they were Life happens faster than I can comprehend I am nearly forty but my love of Sweet Valley remains strong and immediate When I read the books now I know I’m reading garbage but I remember what it was like to spend my afternoons in Sweet Valley hanging out with the Wakefield twins and Enid Rollins and Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman and Todd Wilkins and Winston Egbert The nostalgia I feel for these books and these people makes my chest ache”I'm so glad that Gay captured this feeling because uite a few books make me feel the same “Books are often far than just books”And since we're on the topic Roxane gave so many great recommendations throughout this collection I have now thanks to her promptly added Dare Me by Megan Abbott Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins She made them sound so compelling and intricate Not Here to Make Friends “My memory of men is never lit up and illuminated like my memory of women”—MARGUERITE DURAS The LoverThis essay talked about unlikable women in literature and what likability exactly means And it completely shifted my worldviewGay features a phenomenal uote from a Publishers Weekly interview with Claire Messud about her novel The Woman Upstairs “If you’re reading to find friends you’re in deep trouble We read to find life in all its possibilities The relevant uestion isn’t “Is this a potential friend for me?” but “Is this character alive?”And in her own brilliants words Roxane adds “but the ongoing uestion of character likability leaves the impression that what we’re looking for in fiction is an ideal world where people behave in ideal ways The uestion suggests that characters should be reflections not of us but of our better selves”She has incredible last sentencesAlso I uickly want to mention that throughout this collection I could actually feel Roxane's passion for literature and storytelling I could feel how reading really is her first love as she mentioned through her great book recommendations Reaching for CatharsisGetting Fat Right or Wrong and Diana Spechler’s Skinny I still cannot stop thinking about this essay “I don’t think I know any woman who doesn’t hate herself and her body at least a little bit Bodily obsession is perhaps a human condition because of its inescapability”It was so deeply personal and detailed that I was moved than once And it was ultimately honest and breathtakingly alive “Sometimes a bold sort of callous person will ask me how I got so fat They want to know the why “You’re so smart” they say as if stupidity is the only explanation for obesity And of course there’s that bit about having such a pretty face what a shame it is to waste it I never know what to tell these people There is the truth certainly This thing happened and then this other thing happened and it was terrible and I knew I didn’t want either of those things to happen again and eating felt safe French fries are delicious and I’m naturally lazy too so that didn’t help I never know what I’m supposed to say so I mostly say nothing I don’t share my catharsis with these inuisitors” A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories This piece talked about people with high public profiles and the boundaries they do don't receive “This is in part a matter of privacy What information do we have the right to keep to ourselves? What boundaries are we allowed to maintain in our personal lives? What do we have a right to know about the lives of others? When do we have a right to breach the boundaries others have set for themselves?People with high public profiles are allowed very few boundaries In exchange for the erosion of privacy they receive fame andor fortune andor power Is this a fair price? Are famous people aware of how they are sacrificing privacy when they ascend to a position of cultural prominence?”“We tend to forget that culturally prominent figures are as sacred to those they love as the people closest to us We tend to forget that they are flesh and blood We assume that as they rise to prominence they shed their inalienable rights We do this without uestion”“Heterosexuals take the privacy of their sexuality for granted They can date marry and love whom they choose without needing to disclose much of anything If they do choose to disclose there are rarely negative conseuences”“The world we live in is not as progressive as we need it to be”“For every step forward there is some asshole shoving progress back”“There are injustices great and small and even if we can only fight the small ones at least we are fighting” The Trouble with Prince Charming or He Who Trespassed Against Us As the title might suggest this essay confronts the trouble with prince charming in fairy tales and literature “I enjoy fairy tales because I need to believe despite my cynicism that there is a happy ending for everyone especially me The older I get though the I realize how fairy tales demand a great deal from the woman The man in most fairy tales Prince Charming in all his iterations really isn’t that interesting In most fairy tales he is blandly attractive and rarely seems to demonstrate much personality taste or intelligence We’re supposed to believe this is totally fine because he is Prince Charming His charm is supposedly enough”Then she offers a detailed view on the Disney princes and I was living for this “In The Little Mermaid Prince Eric has a great woman right in front of him but is so obsessed with this pretty voice he once heard he can’t appreciate what he has In Snow White the prince doesn’t even find Snow White until she is comatose and he is so lacking in imagination he simply falls in love with her seemingly lifeless body In Beauty and the Beast Belle is given away by her father to the Beast himself and then must endure the attentions of a man who essentially views her as chattel Only through sacrificing herself and loving a beast of a man can she finally learn that he is in fact a handsome prince”“The woman in the fairy tale is generally the one who pays the price This seems to be the nature of sacrifice” Holding Out for a Hero “There’s a great deal about our culture that is aspirational—from how we educate ourselves to the cars we drive to where we work and live and socialize We want to be the best We want the best of everything All too often we are aware of the gaping distance between who we are and whom we aspire to be and we desperately try to close that distance”So much YES to the last sentence “In theory justice should be simple Justice should be blind You are innocent until proven guilty You have the right to remain silent You have the right to an attorney You have the right to be judged by a jury of your peers The principles on which our justice system was founded clearly outline how our judicial system should functionFew things work in practice as well as they do in theory Justice is anything but blind All too often the people who most need justice benefit the least The statistics about who is incarcerated and how incarceration affects their future prospects are bleak” “Trayvon Martin is neither the first nor the last young black man who will be murdered because of the color of his skin If there is such a thing as justice for a young man whose life was taken too soon I hope justice comes from all of us learning from what happened I hope we can rise to the occasion of greatness where greatness is nothing than trying to overcome our lesser selves by seeing a young man like Trayvon Martin for what he is a young man a boy without a cape one who couldn’t even walk home from the store unharmed let alone fly”One of the most important essays Bad Feminist Take Two “I am supposed to be a good feminist who is having it all doing it all Really though I’m a woman in her thirties struggling to accept herself and her credit score For so long I told myself I was not this woman—utterly human and flawed I worked overtime to be anything but this woman and it was exhausting and unsustainable and even harder than simply embracing who I am” Simply put Bad Feminist completely captivated meI enjoyed the fact that as I read this collection I didn’t feel like I was really reading I felt like Roxane Gay was talking and discussing with me Her voice is distinct throughout this collection And while some essays left a profound mark on me others were simply entertaining to read in the moment There is indeed something to admire in each pieceAnd it all comes down to this Roxane Gay brings intelligence gravitas and heart to her words so that even reading about her winning tournaments in competitive Scrabble read like the most fascinating piece of writing She's talented and powerful beyond measure in my eyes455 stars Note 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Bad Feminist❮EPUB❯ ✺ Bad Feminist Author 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 ironic 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 issueIn 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 cultureBad 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 betterIntroduction Feminism n plural Me Feel me See me Hear me Reach me Peculiar benefits Typical first year professor To scratch claw or grope clumsily or frantically Gender sexuality How to be friends with another woman Girls girls girls I once was Miss America Garish glorious spectacles Not here to make friends How we all lose Reaching for catharsis getting fat right or wrong and Diana Spechler's Skinny The smooth surfaces of idyll The careless language of sexua l violence What we hunger for The illusion of safety the safety of illusion The spectacle of broken men Beyond the measure of men Some jokes are funnier than others Dear young ladies who love Chris Brown So much they would let him beat them Blurred lines indeed The trouble with prince charming or he who trespassed against us Race entertainment The solace of preparing fried foods and other uaint remembrances from 's Mississippi thoughts that help Surviving Django Beyond the struggle narrative The morality of Tyler Perry The last day of a young black man When less is Politics gender race The politics of repectability When Twitter does what journalism cannot The alienable rights of women Holding out for a hero A tale of two profiles The racism we all carry Tragedy Call Compassion Response Back to me Bad Feminist take one Bad Feminists.

About the Author: Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories Best American Short Stories Best Sex Writing A Public Space McSweeney’s Tin House Oxford American American Short Fiction Virginia uarterly Review and many others She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times She is the author of the books Ayiti An Untamed State the New York Times bestselling Ba.