In 2020, I had the honour of attending writing webinars by Dr. Roxane Gay. I admire her writings, and follow her social media, and adore things like her cute puppy dog and strong opinions.
This year, I was determined to read Bad Feminist, which has been on my shelf and TBR pile for years. Sometimes books develop a hallowed status. Sometimes I want to read a book, but avoid it for fear that it won’t be as good as I want it to be, or because the anticipation of the book is just too good to pass up. But this year, after the webinars, I set myself a goal to finally pull this book off the shelf and read it. So, with two weeks left in 2020, that’s what I did.
How was it? Did it live up to what I expected? It was beautiful and well-written. It was filled with bite-sized and long form essays, reviews of books and movies – relating them to the public consciousness of a pre-Trump era. It’s truly sad how much has changed for the worse in the soon to be past presidential administration of the USA.
Dr. Gay is at times witty, others biting, and at all times incisive and clever, sometimes bringing in an opposing thought to her argument right at the end of the essay, leaving the reader to do a double take and reevaluate their understanding of Gay’s argument. Rather than feeling incomplete, it feels that Gay is forcing the reader to think critically, even about the arguments that she has presented.
Ranging from gender issues, racial inequity, sexuality, and self, Gay covers the spectrum of what it means to be a feminist and what it means to be a “bad feminist”. Overall, I loved the book, feeling that the anthology of essays were accessible, and interesting. While no book could live up to the enormous pressure that I heaped on this one, Bad Feminist held its own.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in recent history, social justice and personal growth. Sometimes a memoir light, sometimes a heavy critique on the justice system, Bad Feminist can be read as a whole or in short spurts of one or two essays at a time. (401 pgs)