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- Bad Feminist
Complex conversations around race, class, and gender that have been happening behind the closed doors of academia for decades are now becoming part of the wider cultural vernacular--one pithy tweet at a time. These online platforms have given those outside the traditional university setting an opportunity to engage with and advance these conversations--and in doing so have created new energy for intersectional movements around the world.
It has been a seismic shift, and as Jones argues, no one has had more to do with this renaissance of community building than Black women. As Jones reveals, some of the best-loved devices of our shared social media language are a result of Black women's innovations, from well-known movement-building hashtags BlackLivesMatter, SayHerName, and BlackGirlMagic to the now ubiquitous use of threaded tweets as a marketing and storytelling tool.
For some, these online dialogues provide an introduction to the work of Black feminist icons like Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, bell hooks, and the women of the Combahee River Collective. For others, this discourse provides a platform for continuing their feminist activism and scholarship in a new interactive way. I felt like Roxane Gay was talking and discussing with me.
Her voice is distinct throughout this collection. And while some essays left a profound mark on me, others were simply entertaining to read in the moment. There is, indeed, something to admire in each piece. And it all comes down to this: Roxane Gay brings intelligence, gravitas, and heart to her words, so that even reading about her winning tournaments in competitive Scrabble read like the most fascinating piece of writing. She's talented and powerful beyond measure in my eyes. If you're interested in buying Bad Feminist , just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!
Buy a Coffee for nat bookspoils with Ko-fi. View 1 comment. Nov 18, Diana Stegall rated it did not like it Shelves: feminism , sassy-lady-realness , read-in I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when people talk about Roxane Gay. I went into this hoping to love this book, hoping it would be revelatory as promised or that I would be better off for having read it. But it was a slog to get through and I can't recommend it to anyone who's spent more than a cursory 5 minutes on the internet reading cultural criticism.
It's not just that she doesn't offer nuanced critique, or that she contradicts herself - it's that these essays are horrible written. They're I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when people talk about Roxane Gay. They're terribly, sloppily constructed. Fully half of the essays in this collection have my scribble in the margin: "What the hell is her thesis? Where is she going with this? No duh? I guess if all she did was rehash these issues in a coherent, thoughtful and elegant way, that would be enough. I can recommend a beautiful piece of writing, even when it adds nothing new to the discussion.
There's something to be said for elegant writing in its own right. But this book doesn't offer such writing. These read like the blog pieces they originally were. That's really the heart of the matter for me: I could accept sloppy composition, sloppy thinking, from hastily assembled blog posts. But this is a published essay collection! This was her big spotlighted debut! Considering the hype which preceded its publication, this book should represent the very best criticism she can muster: the most crystallized opinions, the most thoughtfully unfolded trains of thought.
If this meandering, pointless collection of dressed up Tumblr posts is the best criticism she can offer to a publisher, it's sorely disappointing. EDIT 2: Two years later, I'm knocking this book down to one star, because it still makes me angry to see it on bookshelves. I threw away my copy. This book represents the worst that 21st century criticism has to offer - thoughtless, incurious, lazy, and ultimately devoid of rigor. View all 11 comments. Sep 18, Jen Padgett Bohle rated it it was ok Shelves: cultural-critique , feminism , lit-crit , gender-studies , memoir-esque.
An inconsistent collection of ultimately shallow essays. Gay is funny, personable, thoughtful, and obviously intellectual but her essays don't delve deep enough into her subjects. Furthermore, I realize that essays can explore topics without coming to any definitive answers or conclusions, but I want more than an introduction to a problem. I want long and winding explorations with a surfeit of allusions, copious amounts of pattern-hunting from history, deeper thoughts on why something is the way An inconsistent collection of ultimately shallow essays.
I want long and winding explorations with a surfeit of allusions, copious amounts of pattern-hunting from history, deeper thoughts on why something is the way Gay says it is. A 3 or 4 page essay on the "women's fiction" debacle? Gay's "Scrabble" essay seemed to pay homage to David Foster Wallace with the use of footnotes, but was without Wallace's raucous humor or almost archaeological excavation of a topic.
Gay basically just shines a flashlight at an issue and says "see that? View all 4 comments. Sep 30, Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it Shelves: feminism , read-in , audiobook. This was a very sophisticated book that blended memoir with an educational resource perfectly. I think the chapter that will stick with me most is the one about female characters having the quality of likability held over their heads moreso than male characters, and readers don't ever realize that. It wasn't something I'd never thought about before, and it made me think critically about my expectations of female characters.
I'm just gonna let the quote speak for itself: "In a Publishers Weekly in This was a very sophisticated book that blended memoir with an educational resource perfectly. I'm just gonna let the quote speak for itself: "In a Publishers Weekly interview with Claire Messud about her novel The Woman Upstairs, which features a rather 'unlikable' protagonist, Nora, who is bitter, bereft, and downright angry about what her life has become, the interviewer said, 'I wouldn't want to be friends with Nora, would you?
A reader was here to make friends with the characters in a book and she didn't like what she found. Messud, for her part, had a sharp response for her interviewer. Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Oscar Mao? If you're reading to find friends, you're in deep trouble. The relevant question isn't "Is this a potential friend for me?
Jul 11, Kristina rated it did not like it Shelves: hated-em , my-book , non-fiction , suck , disappointing , essays-and-poetry , got-rid-of , want-my-money-back , hyped , popular-culture-criticism. It was reviewed and marketed as a book about gender issues and feminism.
Had I known this, I never would have bought it. The writing is technically competent, but not at a level I expected. She has an unusual background—daughter of Haitian immigrants, often the only black girl amongst white girls and later, the only professional black woman in her department if not the whole university—but her experiences do not translate into dynamic details.
Her writing is as bland and as unremarkable as the popular white girls she worshipped in school and the creepy perfect blond girls in the Sweet Valley High books that she desperately wanted to become. While I suppose that Gay is intelligent and accomplished and an adult I suppose this because she tells me so , that does not come through in her essays. She comes across as desperate to be liked—both in her younger schooling days and now. Her essays have no teeth; they do not shock me, surprise me or offend me.
I was promised a bad feminist and Gay does not deliver. My opinion of those essays: she watches too much crappy tv and needs to get a life. She also needs to get some self-esteem and quit wishing for people to like her. Like yourself first.
4 Ways Mainstream Feminism Fails Black Women
Privilege, privilege, privilege. She talks about how she is privileged, how others are privileged and the different types of privilege, e. She never says that but she alludes to it not in this essay. Say what you mean for crying out loud. After reading this trivial and not-funny-at-all essay, I give even less of a shit about competitive Scrabble. Are you 16? This list completely undermines my efforts to take anything Gay says seriously. Her essays seem to have been written with barely any thought and very little research. She wants approval for saying that yeah, sexism is bad and racism is bad.
I mean… wow. Please, congratulate yourself on meeting the lowest expectation of human kindness. She seems to want to be loved, respected, and applauded for saying the most obvious fucking things. Gay has nothing of interest to say to me. Even the ones who wear nothing but sneakers, or are lesbians, and really hate shoes, and George Clooney.
Gay is clear about one thing: her enthusiastic consumption of popular media. But her essays about these topics smack of school-girl fervor. Plus she included them in a book titled Bad Feminist --a book I expected would be full of thought-provoking essays on feminism, not squees over Peeta.
Her essay about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is way longer than the subject deserves. Gay makes the mistake of taking the books seriously. Anyone who takes anything in the books seriously is already a lost cause. After all, not all of them are murderers. If anything, she controls him with her whining, her tears, and her often unintentional slow response to answering his texts and emails. Ana makes her own choices. She chooses to stay with him. She thought she could turn him into the perfect boyfriend. Oh, no. She likes the color pink. She likes reading Vogue.
She likes dresses. She listens to music that has sexist lyrics. She commits the unpardonable sin of liking men, having sex with them no! Who is her audience? Who the fuck is she speaking to? So what is her definition of a feminist? I fall short as a feminist.
9 Books That Your Feminist Book Club Needs To Read This Summer
So what ideals is she not living up to? Why does liking pink, listening to misogynistic rap music, and liking babies make you a bad anything? Why does the definition she cites have to be expanded to include arbitrary conditions and limitations? Just like, I guess, every other human woman on the planet. She likes shitty reality television shows, obsesses over YA novels and enjoys music with non-PC attitudes towards women.
Gay admits this in her essays, proclaims that these interests are bad for her feminist soul, then pats herself on the back for being so, so brave to admit all this to the world. Now we, the reading female public, should wipe the tears from our eyes and thank her for showing us the way—we too can be brave and admit our love for shitty tv and garbage novels!
Thank you, Roxanne Gay! Give me a fucking break. Gay has absolutely nothing to add to the conversation about feminism. As a black woman she has nothing to add to the conversation about racism either. All her indignation is of the most obvious kind. To narrowly define feminism by the shallow guidelines of your favorite color, your preference in entertainment and whether you shave your various body parts is fucking ridiculous and an insult to intelligent women and men who actually do call themselves feminists and actually do fucking think about what the word means.
A feminist is a person who demands to be treated as a human being. A person who wants control of her body, who refuses to be ashamed for being a sexual being, who wants to be respected and receive equal pay for her knowledge, abilities and accomplishments. A feminist does not limit the idea of feminism to only professional women, to only heterosexual women, to only white women. Gay is a bad feminist not because she likes pink or reads Vogue. View all 19 comments. Aug 06, Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: own-physical , feminism , own-signed , five-stars , nonfiction.
I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. I do so because I am flawed and human. I am not terribly well versed in feminist history. I am not as well read in key feminist texts as I would like to be. I have certain I cannot tell you how freeing it has been to accept this about myself. In her collection of essays Bad Feminist , Roxane Gay blends anecdote, critical analysi I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. In her collection of essays Bad Feminist , Roxane Gay blends anecdote, critical analysis, and humor to create a set of pieces that feel human. She admits to not knowing all the answers, and to hear an empowered, intelligent, and independent woman say that feels so refreshing.
She writes about a gamut of topics: feminism, race, pop culture, and more. She tears apart the abusive and unhealthy relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey , she discusses how and why she loves The Hunger Games , she comments on the unhelpful way white directors portray black characters, and more. As a professor of English and an avid follower of pop culture, her ability to discern trends and patterns within the media shone through.
This passage about the unnecessary prominence of likeable characters acts as just of her many thoughtful arguments: In many ways, likability is a very elaborate lie, a performance, a code of conduct dictating the proper way to be. Characters who don't follow this code become unlikeable. Critics who criticize a character's unlikability cannot necessarily be faulted. They are merely expressing a wider cultural malaise with all things unpleasant, all things that dare to breach the norm of social acceptability.
Gay still stands out the most in her acceptance of imperfection. In her introduction, she writes that "feminism is flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed" and that "we hold feminism to an unreasonable standard where the movement must be everything we want and must always bake the best choices. But, even though she accomplishes so much, she recognizes her own contradictions and the contradictions inherent within the human condition.
She strikes a rough and fitting balance by ending her book by admitting this: I am a bad feminist. Jul 17, Diane rated it really liked it Shelves: brunch-club , essays. This book solidified my girl crush on Roxane Gay. Earlier this year I had the good fortune to hear Roxane speak at a conference, and she was so smart and funny that I kicked myself for not reading her stuff sooner. Bad Feminist is a collection of essays on a variety of issues, including gender, race, pop culture and politics. Basically it's a book for our times. The writing is sharp and insightful, but it also has wit and grace.
There were a few essays in this book that were so powerful I could h This book solidified my girl crush on Roxane Gay. There were a few essays in this book that were so powerful I could have highlighted every sentence. There is also an essay that moved me to tears, but I'll let you find that one yourself. It's difficult to critique a book I liked this much, but I think its only flaw is the same of any collection, which is that some essays don't age as well as others, especially pop culture pieces.
Roxane writes critically about some movies and TV shows that I haven't seen, so those sections weren't as meaningful to me. But overall this is a really strong book that I highly recommend to anyone who appreciates social justice issues or cultural writing. Favorite Quotes "I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I'm not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I'm right.
I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows , is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it's just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground. In truth, feminism is flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed. For whatever reason, we hold feminism to an unreasonable standard where the movement must be everything we want and must always make the best choices.
When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement. For them, it was a homecoming.
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For my brothers and me it was an adventure, sometimes a chore, and always a necessary education on privilege and the grace of an American passport. Until visiting Haiti, I had no idea what poverty really was or the difference between relative and absolute poverty. To see poverty so plainly and pervasively left a profound mark on me.
Inside books I could get away from the impossible things I had to deal with. When I read I was never lonely or tormented or scared. There is nothing more inescapable. Our bodies move us through our lives. They bring pleasure and pain. Sometimes our bodies serve us well, and other times our bodies become terribly inconvenient. There are times when our bodies betray us or our bodies are betrayed by others.
I think about my body all the time — how it looks, how it feels, how I can make it smaller, what I should put into it, what I am putting into it, what has been done to it, what I do to it, what I let others do to it. This bodily preoccupation is exhausting. There are days when I think it has always been a strange and terrible time to be a woman. Womanhood feels more strange and terrible now because progress has not served women as well as it has served men.
Aren't we all just trying to tell stories? How do we keep losing sight of this fact? To read narrowly and shallowly is to read from a place of ignorance, and women writers can't fix that ignorance no matter what kind of books we write or how those books are marketed.
Sometimes, when you least expect it, you become the girl in the woods. You lose your name because another one is forced on you. You think you are alone until you find books about girls like you. Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember.
They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds. View 2 comments. I'll be returning to this audio collection of essays on much more than "just" feminism. View all 8 comments. Books on feminism. Because your favorite neighborhood snowflake here loves to read up on feminism in its many incarnations, to get the dirt on the latest schools of thought. BAD FEMINIST has the advantage, however, because the digressions are about subjects that are still highly relevant to feminists who believe in intersectionality with regards to class, race, and gender.
I learned about her teaching career and the struggles of reaching out to minority students. I learned about her absolutely terrible experience with rape. I learned about why she considers herself a "bad" feminist, per the title, and honestly, I don't see why liking girly things or exploitative content is necessarily bad as long as you are conscious of the flaws of such content and discuss the potential problems they represent. Part of being a feminist is empowering yourself to speak out against problematic representations and constructs of women, and with this book, I'd say Roxane Gay is off to a fairly good start.
Bad is such a highly charged and subjective term Some of the things in here that I think will turn off potential readers are the exhaustive discussions behind some of the catalysts behind the strengthened Black Lives Matter movement, privilege specifically white privilege and abortion, but what she said honestly needs to be said - as many times as possible.
I read this essay a while ago about women who identify as anti-feminist and it was interesting because it suggested that women do so because they are lauded by men as being "good" women: the ideal standard with regards to the feminine ideation. Women who don't want to be feminists because they want to be "good" wives and mothers as if you can't have both, and still be a feminist. Women who don't want to be man-haters. Privilege is something that many people aren't aware of consciously - or if they are aware of it, they accept it as the status quo, in the hopes that they too can be a part of that tapestry if they "play by the rules.
The same goes for BLM - some people have very specific ideas about the roles that people of color specifically black people have in the narrative of our society, and are reluctant to change their way of thinking - even when it results in violence. I honestly don't get why people get so freaking worked up about the Black Lives Matter movement, because the message is so important and keeps flying over so many people's heads.
It isn't saying that black lives are the most important; it's calling out a specific group of people who are repeatedly getting screwed because of stereotypes. It's the same reason that feminism is a better term than equalism - if you null out the disenfranchised group with a bland name, it becomes far too easy to shut down dialogues more than we already are and be all, "Stop focusing on black lives, don't you know that all lives matter?
Why do you keep talking about women if you want things to be equal? Oh, I see, so Sweet Valley is sacred but you're going to go ahead and tell everyone the m a j o r. I recommend it to people who are interested in frank discussions of pop culture and feminism and want to learn more. Jan 29, Christy marked it as to-read. HAVE to read something by this remarkable woman who just pulled out of her next new book contract as protest over the horrific contract given to the racist Black Lives Matter as "legal hate group" , sexist "feminism is cancer" Milo Yiannopoulos out of the Breitbart toxic waste dump that produced Trump's main thinker, Steven Bannon.
Maybe we should all read her as thanks!? Also LOVE her bit in NYTs this week, promoting Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City if you need not want to get mad about poverty, and also hysterically noting that she is beyond the "redemption offered by self-help books". Aug 12, Peter Derk rated it it was ok Shelves: did-not-finish. I gave up. I bought the audio for some dollars and figured it might be a great listen. But I find myself dreading listening.
Part of it is the bleakness of the current landscape. That's certainly not Roxane Gay's fault. Every day is something new. Author Colleen McCullough dies, and in her obit someone basically feels the need to point out how unattractive the woman was, physically. Patricia Arquette makes a speech about how women should be paid the same to do the same work, and Fox New Well Patricia Arquette makes a speech about how women should be paid the same to do the same work, and Fox News has to have an opinion about that.
What the opinion is I don't know. I'm still not entirely sure what the fuck Gamergate is, and frankly, I've been avoiding it because I like playing Castlevania. The main character in Castlevania wears a short skirt and has no face, so really that seems like the O. I just want to play Castlevania. Two buttons, no faces. If some of this was addressed later on, then please excuse my ignorance. The intersection of serious thought and pop culture didn't really work for me here. I'll be the first to admit, a lot of the pop culture items discussed in this book aren't ones I pay much attention to.
That's not in a holier-than-thou way. I'm not putting myself above pop culture.
- Prodigy: Legend, T2 (French Edition);
- Patricia Hill Collins.
- Whats In Your Closet?;
- Navigation menu.
- Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender;
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It's just that the pop culture highway traveled by Roxane Gay and the one I travel are different. Additionally, I think the idea of giving serious academic or emotional thought to an unserious topic, or a topic we don't typically consider serious, is not something that lights a fire for me. The discussion about what is and isn't high and low art, and the decision to give something more or less consideration because of that distinction, is really not an interesting conversation for me.
Whether or not you think 50 Shades is a good book, it warrants some discussion because of its cultural impact. Which brings me to The criticisms of media didn't get to the meat, or the meat I was interested in. I'm not going to disagree that there's something pretty racist about The Help. Why is a whitewashed in the most literal and figurative sense of the word version of black history one of the bestselling books of the last few years?
I think I'm more interested in knowing why people like The Help rather than having it proven to me that it's racist, and this is a critique I'd make of a few of the cultural essays. Rather than convincing me there's something racist about Tarantino, I'm more interested in hearing why he's such a darling. Now, I'm re-writing the book a little, and maybe what I wanted was never the intent. Which is cool, but it's one of the reasons I didn't continue on. I felt like the way this book dealt with pop culture didn't go where I was hoping. The language police discussions don't do much for me.
In one essay, Gay says how a rape joke can never be funny. Then, in the next, there's some discussion about how maybe a rape joke CAN be funny. There's discussion about Tyler the Creator using the word "faggot", and also some talk about how an audience received the word "nigger" in Django Unchained. This is such a hard thing to change someone's mind on. Which isn't to say a person shouldn't try. But frankly, I don't have much cause to make rape jokes, I don't use the word "faggot" and I don't use the word "nigger.
On the other hand, I'm not really into telling the general population what they can and can't say, or what they can and can't joke about. I'm not upset that Gay does it, I think it's just a message which I've heard, made a decision on, and feel pretty good about. Which brings us to I think the sales pitch for this book was I feel pretty strongly that the audience for this, we picked up this book with the intent of loving it. Or loving it as best we could, considering the hard truth of the material.
I think the issue I had, this book was sold to me as being a bit more poppy than it was. The Amazon blurb says it's funny. There were some jokes, there were some turns of phrase, but I'd be hard-pressed to call the book funny. Matter of taste, for sure, but I don't know that the book's purpose was to be funny.
While the book covers some very accessible topics, I didn't find the book to be, overall, accessible. Maybe that's too far. I think what I'm saying here, it's a book you have to reach out to. It's not going to reach out to you. As a whole, anyway. The first essay, I thought that was excellent. Some of the more personal moments throughout were very well-written and fantastic.
But as a whole I guess, she made a lot of points, some of which I agreed with and some of which I disagreed with. I like a dollop of ratchet reality television. I was a Fulbright Semi-finalist. Although I claim that every song is MY jam, I only know all the words to about three songs, four if the song is played in the background while I sing. Bonus Factoid: I love spending time with and in my thoughts.
But I do love people and hearing their stories, which makes me a great listener and the best secret keeper. Bonus, Bonus Factoid: I renounce, reject, and rebuke all gender, class, and race constructs that keep me from being authentically Kara. Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer Search this website. Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter. Our mission. Bonus, Bonus, Bonus Factoid: Disclaimer The information contained in The Frugal Feminista.
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