Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 5, 2014)
Reading Sara Rating: 7.5/10
This book of essays by Roxane Gay was one of the most delightful things I have read so far in 2016. Gay is honest, hilarious, and smart. She described throughout these essays many of my own thoughts and opinions – but in ways that I could never express so eloquently. I had multiple lines highlighted in almost every chapter because what she wrote resonated so deeply with me.
Gay takes the approach of being a modern woman, wanting to be a feminist, but not feeling like she is as good at it as she is supposed to be (whether it was her obsession as a youth with the Sweet Valley High books or her love of totally inappropriate rap music). Most women that I know struggle with this on some level. Yes, we want equal pay. And no, we do not think rape jokes are ever funny. But we like shaving our legs and we enjoy wearing cute dresses.
It makes me sad that feminism is the new “f-word” and that it comes with expectations and stigma. Reading these essays helped me to forgive myself for not fighting for women’s rights every single day, but reminded me of the importance of speaking up and speaking out – not being a bystander in the world today. In the United States, there is a lot happening in the political world that scares me – and it is a refreshing reminder that as women we have influence and voices.
Here are a couple of quotes from Gay that gets to the gist of this wonderful book, and I think expresses a lot of what women struggle with today and if you like this and agree, you’ll enjoy these essays.
“I bought into the grossly inaccurate myths about who feminists are – militant, perfect in their politics and person, man-hating, humorless. I bought into these myths even though, intellectually, I know better.”
“It’s great to remember that reading is my first love.”
“This may also explain why in high school I became utterly devoted to Beverly Hills 90210, which took the Sweet Valley High formula and elevated it to high art.”
“Like most people, I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman.”
“I am just one woman trying to make sense of this world we live in. I’m raising my voice to show all the ways we have room to want more, to do better.”