Rating: 4.3 /5
Author: Roxane Gay
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication date: 2014
Genre: Non- Fiction
Cost: Rs. 346.92 (kindle edition)
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of colour (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful women 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, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.
The collection of essays is broken into five sections: Me; Gender & Sexuality; Race & Entertainment; Politics, Gender & Race; and Back to Me.
In an interview, Gay explained her role as a feminist and how it has influenced her writing:
"In each of these essays, I’m very much trying to show how feminism influences my life for better or worse. It just shows what it’s like to move through the world as a woman. It’s not even about feminism per se, it’s about humanity and empathy."
She talks about- misogyny, institutional sexism that consistently places women at a disadvantage, the inequity in pay, the cult of beauty and thinness, the repeated attacks on reproductive freedom, violence against women.
In a nutshell, the concept of ‘Feminism’ is not so complicated as people makes it to be.
1. Men and Women should be treated equally in every aspect.
2. Women should have the option to choose.
But today we make such rules around this idea that must be followed. Feminism is not the ‘one thing’ or ‘the other’ that has to be followed. This is what Roxane talks about, in a brilliant manner without sugar coating anything. She calls out the hypocrisies of the ‘seemingly united’ sisterhood. She said:
“I love dresses. For years I pretended I hated them, but I don't. Maxi dresses are one of the finest clothing items to become popular in recent memory. I have opinions on maxi dresses! I shave my legs! Again, this mortifies me. If I take issue with the unrealistic standards of beauty women are held to, I shouldn't have a secret fondness for fashion and smooth calves, right?”
Critic Kira Cochrane wrote, "While online discourse is often characterised by extreme, polarised opinions, her writing is distinct for being subtle and discursive, with an ability to see around corners, to recognise other points of view while carefully advancing her own.
About the Author:
Roxane Gay is the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, the novel ‘An Untamed State’, a finalist for the Dayton Peace Prize; and the short story collections Difficult Women and Ayiti. A contributing opinion writer to the New York Times, she has also written for Time, McSweeney’s, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Book forum, and Salon. Her fiction has also been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2012, The Best American Mystery Stories 2014, and other anthologies. She is the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She lives in Lafayette, Indiana, and sometimes Los Angeles.