Roxane Gay is not writing these essays to dictate what a feminist is or who a feminist should be, but rather the complex nature of being a woman and her own contradictions between the person she thinks she should be and the person she is. Her essays focus have a specific focus but build onto one another to reveal a complex woman. Gay does not write to tell us how we should be, but to make sense of the woman she is. Because of this her writing is personal and allows the reader to connect through agreement or disagreement, but also through exposure. While I may not be well versed in 90s teenage television/books or black films, I now know more because Gay used her personal interests to illustrate a point. This book is a conversation, and while you have a transcript of Gay's side of the conversation, if you're engaged you'll be responding with your own internal dialogue.
The essays cover a wide array of topics, and I finished the book feeling like I really know who Roxane Gay is. The ultimate message is that there’s no wrong way to be a feminist. Someone can be an academic and still write wistfully about the allure of Sweet Valley High books. It’s okay to like pink, and it’s okay to take Scrabble tournaments very, very seriously. The essays about pop culture may seem like they aren’t serious, but then Gay shows the very serious side effects of how gender and race are portrayed. All of these essays were very relatable.
I love Roxane Gay's writing. I read "Difficult Women" earlier this year and immediately felt compelled to read more of her writing. Sadly, "Bad Feminist" just misses the mark for me. There are a few notable essays (Blurred Lines & How to be Friends With Another Woman, as examples) but most of the other pieces in this book come across as regurgitated pop psychology rather than insightful ponderings. Would I recommend this book? Not a chance. Would I read more of Gay's writing? An emphatic YES!!
Gay's writing is AMAZING. I feel like I've known her for years or she's just another member of my family. She brings up some really excellent essays on Scrabble competitions that really spoke to me. I'm obsessed with board game/video game documentaries so that whole chapter was quite the treat. Well done! Highly recommended!
Smart, witty, insightful, and sometimes angry, Roxane Gay's collection of essays moves from the personal to the political to the cultural. Topics range from her own take on feminism and her racial heritage to popular films (Her chapter on Tarantino is particularly trenchant and necessary.) to the idea of privilege. These are essays for right now. She's also written a novel and a book of stories. I'd also recommend "The Argonauts" and "We Were Feminists Once."
Gay is a terrifically fun writer to spend some time with. This was the first book of hers that I read, and I look forward to reading more. She is able to be funny, warm, scathing, and unsettlingly honest all in one essay. Like all collections of essays written for many different publications, this collection has some unevenness. Some of the essays could have benefited from more careful editors who could have encouraged Gay to draw out some of the insights that are left implied, and who could have assisted in trimming more repetitive passages. But I'm interested to read more of Gay's work as she continues to focus her huge talent and intelligence on important contemporary topics.
Funny, honest, and always worth reading. If you're someone interested in the ideas and wordplay of a smart writer, here you go. Race, gender, movies, Scrabble and more. You might not agree with everything she writes, but she'll make you think.
A good collection; educating, enlightening, informative, inspiring. We have a long way to go - society.
Gay's writing is very insightful and intense, I felt compelled to read through this whole book almost all at once (which is strange because essays aren't normally a "suspenseful" format for me). I really enjoyed these essays and I also read a few other books she references/praises which were also very good. Time well spent!
Thought-provoking, intelligent , sometimes sad and sometimes funny. Because this is a collection of essays, it's perfect for reading bits at a time.
"I would rather be a bad feminist, than no feminist at all."
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