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Bad Feminist: Essays Kindle Edition
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“Roxane Gay is so great at weaving the intimate and personal with what is most bewildering and upsetting at this moment in culture. She is always looking, always thinking, always passionate, always careful, always right there.” — Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
A New York Times Bestseller
Best Book of the Year: NPR • Boston Globe • Newsweek • Time Out New York • Oprah.com • Miami Herald • Book Riot • Buzz Feed • Globe and Mail (Toronto) • The Root • Shelf Awareness
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched cultural observers of her generation
In these funny and insightful essays, Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). 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, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.
About the Author
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Inside Flap
One of our most indispensable writers . . . on everything that matters--Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00G2AGV14
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; 1st edition (August 5, 2014)
- Publication date : August 5, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 1279 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 339 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #96,672 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2019
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The more Roxane Gay I read the more Roxane Gay I want to read. Not because we're so much alike, but because we're so different. 'Because we took such different paths, I being a fifty-something privileged white man, to reach the same conclusions. As I consumed Bad Feminist I found myself literally nodding in agreement, raising eyebrows in occasional astonishment, laughing out loud at her jokes and shedding a tear or twenty in painful empathy.
Gay, much like Lindy West, gifts me a perspective I would not otherwise have had. Each essay, each bit, becomes a piece of the mosaic of my worldview.
I had this book with me for almost two years now. Why didn’t I read it earlier? Honest? Because I am a bad feminist too. I have lived a life with a love-hate relationship with (traditional) feminism. Feminism offered me a lot, but what it demanded in return, I was not ready to give up. So, feminism and I are not friends for a long time now. I had no intention of proselytized into a traditional feminist. Again. So I avoided the book.
Thank God, I was wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Gay’s intersectional feminism is the feminism I have been searching for. It’s an oasis. For years now, I have been gaslighted into questioning every single thing I do as an Indian woman. I was about to give up this whole ‘feminism’ bandwagon, when Gay brought me back in the fight.
Women (like humans) are not at the same place in their fights, to demand a one-size-fit-all (or let’s say— white) fight from half of the humanity is insane. Let us choose our fights. Let us fight for—us.
Let’s agree at least on one thing—feminine is subjective. Just like Art. Just like love.
Thanks Gay, for taking a stand for the subjective elements of feminism.
We see how just as there is one of WOMAN, there is one of FEMINIST. And these iconic figures are uncompromising, not taking into account the natures and complications of people. But the truth is no one could meet the standard of FEMINIST. We are all compromising at some point, in order to make it through our daily lives with any ease or joy, or just in order to be ourselves. So we may listen to music that doesn't hold women in high regard, or watch a movie with a particular actor whose politics we don't agree with; we may read romance novels that are not elevating our gender politics, we may have sex with the wrong men. But we must be who we are before we can be a feminist, whether we are a good one or a bad one. As the author puts it:
"Bad feminism seems like the only way I can both embrace myself as a feminist and be myself, and so I write....and with each new entry, I realize that I’m undestroying myself after years of allowing myself to stay damaged. The more I write, the more I put myself out into the world as a bad feminist but, I hope, a good woman—I am being open about who I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become."
And a bad feminist is more authentic than any unattainable icon, and is a lot more relatable and useful in the world.
In a world where people think increasingly in absolutist claims, such as We versus Them, and use increasingly simplified and stunted language that can hardly do justice to the many ways life is lived, Gay’s writing forces the reader to consider the infinite shades of gray that exist in the world beyond the black and white, and demands through her logic that people be allowed to thrive in a variety of lifestyles, modes, and cultures and be respected and loved—despite religion, skin color, gender, chosen life paths, and level of so-called femininity.
Isn’t this book about being a bad feminist? Yes, but Gay’s views of herself, what feminism means for her and what she thinks it should mean today are intertwined with her ruminations on literature and culture. There’s not just one right way to be a feminist; there’s the way of being who you are, plus feminism, and then you can be both, even if it doesn’t quite fit in the lines of what the perceived perfect feminist might be (for instance, Gay likes the color pink). As if sighing at the end of a lengthy conversation, she says in her last essay: “I am a mess of contradictions.” We are all; yet few of us are strong enough to admit it.
Top reviews from other countries
I've known for a long time that I was a feminist, albeit a bit of a bad one too, which is why I was drawn to this book. What I did not realise is that unbeknownst to myself, I'm actually quite racist. I'm not racist in any way I could previously control, but in the way that was embedded into me by growing up in a white middle class neighbourhood. I was aware of my privilege, but now it's like I can see it. Books and films that I thought served justice and were a great representation to black people, such as 'The Help' and '12 Years A Slave' are really not, and how could I not have noticed this before? Ideas such as the 'magical black person' will stick with me forever, and I realised that however far women still have to go for equality, black people of either sex are still trailing ridiculously behind, sometimes with a white man touting a gun not far behind them.
As for the feminist aspect of the book, you'll find that you agree with everything. I too have often sang along to 'Blurred Lines', I have referred to fellow women in derogatory terms, I have judged a fellow woman by the way she looks. Gay does her bit, where she can, with complete honesty, and this is so refreshing to see. She lays herself bare on the pages of this book, divulging her secrets, her flaws, and her loves and hates. 'Bad Feminist' is in places hilarious, sad, and sometimes brutal. As many of the discussions are around popular culture, films and books, I've now a massive reading list, which may or may not include Sweet Valley High. This book encourages you to do your homework.
I can't wait to read more of Roxane's work, and hope that through her teachings I can actually become the better person than I always thought I was. Everyone should read this book. You will learn things about yourself.
The self-given title ‘Bad Feminist’ is only necessary because today’s culture makes it so and I find that interesting. We do have to switch off our morals to enjoy popular music these days, for as long as they degrade us. We do feel some shame in being a feminist or in not being a good enough feminist. It’s all relative to privilege but Roxane lets us forget that so we can talk about some real topics and not think they’re fundamentally flawed by privilege. It’s just a really great book and we should all read it.