Roxane Gay has been having her moment this year and her book has been on my list for a while. A writer and blogger who writes about being a lady, being a feminist, being critically engaged with tv, and movies, and books, and politics. Oh, hmm, I wonder who might have some interest in reading about these things? Moi? Why, yes, now that you mention it I was so verra verra excited to read this one.
Bad Feminist is essays, and as it is with most collections of essays, there were ones that were good, some that were fine, and others that didn’t do much for me. It’s hard to find a collection of this type where every last one knocks your knickers off. The essays are all super short which was good when they packed a wallop but frustrating when I wanted to delve deeper. I was especially moved by Gay’s commentary on rape culture and her readings of race and racism in popular culture (especially The Help and Django Unchained, both of which she convincingly tore to itty bitty shreds, and Fruitvale Station which she convincingly lauds). I have to say that most of what Gay writes about are ideas that weren’t new to me, but then again I am virtually dipped and saturated in these issues and love to read/think about them anywhere I can, so maybe that’s why I felt that way. It didn’t make me like the book any less. There were still things that made me think, and things I wanted to argue with Gay about, and things I loved, and things that drove me crazy. It was like having good conversation with a friend who gets where I am coming from but doesn’t agree with me on quite everything.
The thing I liked best was Gay’s stance, which she reiterates throughout the whole dang thing, that there isn’t a definitive right way to be a woman, or a feminist, or a pop culture lover, or a writer, or a thinker. She calls herself a bad feminist and through that models a great way to be a good one.