Bad Feminist: Essays

Roxane Gay
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (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 woman 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.


Reviewed: 2021-06-21
Maybe it's a dislike of the essay format. Maybe it's that I'm reading five+ years after most of the cultural events Gay discusses. Maybe it's something else. But this book just left me...underwhelmed. I enjoyed the first and the last two essays, which discuss feminism and Gay's view of herself as a 'bad feminist'. Everything in between was just a bit..meh.
Reviewed: 2020-05-27
Sometimes it's just nice to read a book that makes you realize how not alone you are in your thoughts. This is sharp, funny, and incredibly accessible. I'm heartened to know how popular it is, and I hope it keeps circulating for a while.
Reviewed: 2019-06-18

I wanted to reread this because some other books I've read more recently had me longing for the good ole days of 4 years ago, when I read this the first time. If you don't want to read the whole book, there are a few chapters and passages that are so on point, and have so much to do with how the world seems strangely turned inside out lately - even though clearly Roxane Gay wrote this book before that happened. 

I particularly wish every single person would read The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion - possible the best chapter on the difference between perceived safety and actual safety that I've found in regular non-psychobabble language.

I know Roxane Gay has newer books out, but this one has some very choice essays that will stand the test of time to become classics, I believe. While some of the essays are showing their age, she really does have her head on nicely and writes cogently and passionately about the things that really matter without ever delivering anything like some of the screeds I've read this year.

Reviewed: 2019-04-20
I think I wanted to like this more than I actually did. A pity, cause I still enjoy Gay's writing, maybe just not in book form.
Reviewed: 2019-01-14
I think I would have liked this book more if I was just getting into feminism or race studies. But for me now, it seems rudimentary and not critical enough in more expansive ways.
Reviewed: 2017-01-29
Like with many anthologies, I started putting stars next to the stories on the list in the front of the book that were particularly noteworthy. I put a star next to at 3/4s of these essays, whether for the depths of thought they contain or the soul-crushing, simplistic sentences they're written in.
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