Book Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

In 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 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.

Rating – 2 Stars

I think about this book in the same way Gay describes Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, “competently written, blandly interesting, and it does repeat a great deal of familiar research.” But with a lot more pop culture thrown in to provide some levity.

I don’t understand her last essay about being a ‘bad feminist’. While I do think there are ways that women could behave in a way that doesn’t advocate for the feminist cause, I just don’t call them feminists. Everything that Gay outlined in her last essay about being a bad feminist are things she personally likes that she thinks others (the ‘good feminists’) would judge her for having. Maybe this labels me as a ‘bad feminist’ too, but none of the things she list make me think that she’s doing anything wrong or against the ‘feminist’ way. Who cares if her favorite color is pink? Who doesn’t want to be independent while also being taken care of? Who doesn’t like the feel of a shaved calf? What does any of this have to do with being a ‘good or bad feminist’?

Feminism to me is about equal rights for men and women. It’s a movement to create a world where women have the same rights afforded to men. It’s a movement that advocates for women’s health and procreation rights. It’s about accepting the different struggles women from all cultures and ethnicities and fighting for their right to live and strive for what they want out of life.

What does not liking pink have to do with being a good feminist? (Personally I love pink. While I also thought that it was probably a color that wouldn’t suit me (primarily because I was introduced to it as many others were, as a ‘girly’ and therefore inferior, color) I’ve come to find that I enjoy it very much. How does this make me a bad feminist?)

~ Lili


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