Is “bad feminist” a pleonasm since humans are flawed? Roxane Gay may be flawed, but she certainly is an incredible writer who will lead you to call your opinions into question. If you think a book doesn’t have that power, just read Roxane Gay’s collection of essays. Essays? You think it’s boring? Just read Bad Feminist.
Depending on the meaning you give to “feminism”, this book is either about feminism and many other topics or completely about it. It is about being human in today’s world, about injustices, pop culture, politics, sexuality, gender, entertainment, race… And more importantly, it’s about equality.
At a time when we should all be treated as equals, too many people suffer because of the others. The others… This fascinating word reminds us that we constantly have to learn about, basically, everything, because we know nothing.
For example, I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett a few years ago and loved it. I thought it was great to have a depiction of Black people’s lives in the 1960s. I then read Bad Feminist and realised that I had read this novel from my perspective without trying to question the story the author was telling.
Roxane Gay enabled me to better understand the issues Black people still have to face, issues I usually don’t see and wouldn’t have thought about in my daily life. Bad Feminist is an eye-opener, but the author isn’t moralising and doesn’t want us to believe that she is perfect.
On the contrary, she claims to be flawed, she doesn’t hide her imperfections and contradictions, thus delivering relatable and insightful essays that will make you cry. Cry laughing but also cry with anger and sadness. Even the essays broaching seemingly light subjects are actually much more than that.
Bad Feminist will definitely have an impact on the way I watch movies and series, listen to music and watch the news. This book might not have transformed me, but it has enriched my worldview by enabling me to look for more diversity and inclusion in my cultural environment – even though I like to think of myself as an open-minded person. Sometimes, it’s good to be reminded that we should always try to go further in empathizing with others.
There are so many powerful quotes in this book that I’m sure I’ll find some more when I’ll reread it. Gay’s book definitely is a lesson on reading, reviewing and writing. She seamlessly interweaves personal experiences and broader, societal topics so that we enjoy a good time in her company while learning at every page.
Even though I do not agree with everything Gay says and did not connect with all of her essays – especially the ones that referred heavily to American culture, the majority of them were terribly interesting.
This books is definitely worth your time.
About the book
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication year: 2014
Page count: 336