Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

For years I have strayed away from the label “feminist”. Mostly, this was because in the conversations around me, the term/label “feminist” was associated with mostly undesirable attributes. Feminists were pushed into the category of being angry. Of never being satisfied. Of not being positive. Of not being “the right type of woman” (except, isn’t that what feminism is all about? That we don’t HAVE to be the “right” type of woman? That we should be able to be assertive or tough, like men, and not be thought of as horrible people? Right?). Anyway, I grew out of this. I embraced the term feminist, because, hell, that’s what I am. Feminists believe that women should have equal rights, including economic rights and reproductive freedom. Well, that’s what I believe in. So I’m a feminist.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay discusses most of my feelings about feminism. Gay presents this idea that there is no one way to be a feminist, and that we don’t have to fall into the rigid lines/expectations of feminists. This novel is a compilation of essays, which include topics such as: Roxane Gay’s life, gender and sexuality, race (specifically in the entertainment industry), and politics. Honestly, I expected this book to be more about feminism than the other topics, and it wasn’t, but that’s okay! I enjoyed reading about Gay’s life, and it allowed me to understand and appreciate her opinions even more. I also really enjoyed the category of race and the entertainment industry. I literally want to sit down with Roxane Gay and discuss the new Marvel movie, Black Panther. I believe that representation in media is important too. We share a lot of similar beliefs, so this novel was an easy read.

I totally understand the struggle of attempting to read a novel by an author who has an extremely different viewpoint from yourself. However, if you’re opposed to feminism, either moderately or diligently, I suggest you read this book. Understand that there is NO one way to be a feminist. Understand that mostly every single woman wants to be equal to men. And that’s what feminism is all about! Understand that it does not matter whether you’re a stay at home mom or a CEO, you should want to be equal. And whatever position a woman finds herself in (stay-at-home mom or CEO), is extremely important. Every woman should be validated! That’s the whole DAMN point!

Roxane Gay’s tone had me LOVING this book. She is funny, she is witty and she is very opinionated. I loved that though. No one should be half-assed when discussion topics such as feminism and race. She also allowed me to come to terms with myself. Slight spoiler ahead, but nothing big. She discusses some popular series such as The Hunger Games, Twilight, and 50 Shades of Grey. These are all series in which I have read, and honestly, have guiltily enjoyed. I recognize their HORRIBLE way of displaying gender and sexuality at times, especially in regards with what women should put up with in romantic relationships. But Gay reminds me that it’s okay to critique novels or movies and still enjoy them. It’s okay to find all the things wrong with a piece of media, but still find things about it to appreciate. Me actually not wanting to put down these books does not automatically revoke my “feminist card”. I am not less of a feminist because I love the color pink or dye my hair blonde or love makeup or really want to have kids someday. And I appreciate that point of view. A lot. I think more people should adopt the idea that feminism does not have to look one way, and it definitely does not have to be looked down upon. So thank you for presenting these ideas and sharing them with the world, Roxane. I appreciate you.

Rating: 4/5

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