In June, I read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve been wanting to read Gay’s work for a long time, but I never had the chance before. I have seen her books at bookstores for a while, but there was always other books that caught my attention more. However, the last time I stepped into a bookstore, I bought a little Olive Edition of Bad Feminist, and I didn’t even wait to read it. I own a number of books I haven’t read yet, but this book I couldn’t wait for.
Bad Feminist centres around Gay’s personal and political views and experiences within feminism. It explores many topics from gender roles, reproductive freedom, occupation; the list goes on. Within the array of topics, there are many instances of humour and sarcasm. Gay doesn’t shy away from sarcasm, and it creates hilarious moments, even when the topic can be quite grim. I think these moments are essential in writing about the problems that women, and people who identify as women, face daily. Yes, I want to laugh 50 Shades of Grey because the story of a controlling egomaniac is uncomfortable. I want to laugh at the silliness of some of the problems in our society because being angry and sad all the time can be overwhelming. I think her humour is sprinkled throughout her essays as forms of punctuation. Every humorous bit is presented at the right moment, never feeling out of place, or unwanted. It provides a breathing, or relaxation. point that is well needed in the many issues mentioned.
Although I am knowledgeable of feminism, and many of the problems that plague feminists, there were still many things that I learned in this collection of essays. There were despicable things that have occurred that I never knew even happened. Some things that I needed a moment to close the book, and reevaluate the world that I live in. How can an 11-year-old suffer such atrocities when the men who did it to her are being pitied? It made me sick to my stomach, but it opened my eyes to the many evil acts that occur everyday. Even little facts and tidbits were shocking to me. I don’t live in America, so many American politicians I have never heard of. So, after reading these essays, I know exactly a lot of the things they have said, or think were okay to say to the public. Bad Feminist provided me insight to a topic that I already know a lot about. It’s always great to learn something new, and help better shape your perspective.
Gay’s perspective on feminism was very personal, but it never lacked substance. All of her essays provide evidence with her personal views. If she mentioned her hatred from The Help, she gave really damning examples as to how awful that movie really is. All of her essays intertwine personal opinions and facts that I felt like I was learning so much from a friend. I haven’t read any of Gay’s other work, so I don’t know if this is how she typically writes. But, I love it. I love this connection between the personal and factual because it provides a portrait of the human experience. We all have our biases, and our own personal opinions on varying topics. We all have this, and we have evidence, and examples as to why we think this way. Her essays read no different than talking to someone about why they hate a certain television show, and given you really good reasons why to avoid it.
I think what I loved most about Bad Feminist is the fact that Gay never claims to be the model of feminism. She shows how people can have contradictions, and how they can like things that can be grossly problematic. She likes the colour pink, and listens to rap music that degrades women. But that doesn’t make her less of a feminist. It felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders because I love listening to music, and watching movies, that are not 100% unproblematic. I understand the problems of the things I love, but I how can I cancel everything in my life? There’s hardly anything in this world thats completely perfect in any ideology.
If you have been interested in reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, I would highly recommend it. No, I would ask you to run to your nearest bookstore and buy it. (Or, library too). I think it’s an important collection of essays for people who are new to feminism, or someone who wants to further their learning in the subject. It’s a funny, informative, and challenging read. It’s worth every minute of reading, and I hope many people do.
I gave Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay a 5/5 on Goodreads.
What are your thoughts on the book? Let me know in the comments!