Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay is an essential read for everyone.
What does it mean to be a bad feminist? Is it okay to listen to mysoginist rap music and still consider yourself a feminist? Can many forms of feminism co-exist? These are some of the questions that Roxane Gay answers in her essays. They’re also the reasons why I like this book. That, and, because it takes on the burden of educating us white girls about privilege and the responsibility that comes with it.
Here’s why you should read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Novel, yet shouldn’t be novel, ideas
It’s refreshing to read a book about feminism that acknowledges the nuances of being strong, feminine, and flawed. In Roxane Gay’s essays she owns her behaviors that contradict her feminist beliefs and lays it out as human and OK. She enjoys singing along to rap music—whose lyrics, more often than, not objectify women—but also acknowledges the systemic issue with said music. The music is catchy, and it’s flawed, and we’re only human. For this reason, I felt like I was given permission and forgiveness for my own behaviors that contradict feminist beliefs too.
Educating about racism
In Bad Feminist, Gay shares stories of what it’s like to be Black in America. The essays take on the burden of helping to educate non-Black folks about the insidious, omni-present nature of racism. It’s a read we should all be paying attention to.
Reads like a thesis
I recommend Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, however, it does read kind of like a thesis and often compares literature to pop culture. For some, this is exactly the type of book they’re looking for, but for others this may mean you need to take each essay on its own instead of the whole book altogether.