In Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay takes readers on a journey through her experiences as a woman of colour. The pieces in this collection address Gay’s life and culture in the past few years. Gay shares her thoughts on competitive scrabble, film, television, and more, all the while exploring race and feminism.
Let’s get into it
I’m always a little hesitant about non-fiction, but it definitely didn’t take me long to fall in love with Gay’s writing. She is funny, inviting, and insightful and I truly enjoyed reading her essays.
The concept of being a bad feminist is one I appreciated. Gay welcomes readers into feminism by acknowledging that she makes mistakes and that it is okay to do so. As someone who is still growing as a feminist and still learning about intersectionality, I found this reassuring. It made me feel more like I was learning from a friend than an authority figure.
I found Gay’s views on race in film and television particularly insightful. She calls out the lack of diversity and examines the portrayal of people of colour creative works. This examination highlighted how limited my perception of diversity is. Though I am aware of the lack of diversity, I hadn’t really thought too much about how repetitive portrayals of Black characters can be or how exhausting it must be to have the slave narrative portrayed so often. I am grateful to have had a light shone on my own blind spots.
While Bad Feminist did make me realize my own shortcomings, Gay’s writing never made me feel guilty (and that’s something, because I am very easily inclined towards guilt). She does not demonize people whose opinions are different from her own, nor does she lecture. Instead, she simply shares her views clearly and in such a way that I found it easy to agree with her.
Gay also acknowledges that she is only one voice and that she may not be the ultimate say on any given matter. This, paired with the humility of admitting to being a bad feminist is kind of refreshing. I really enjoyed her perspective and will be putting her other books on my TBR list.
Final verdict: Bad Feminist is an all around delightful collection! It has everything you’d want in an essay collection and I’d encourage pretty much anyone to read it.