Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

review of bad feminist by roxane gay inluding quote Feminists are just women who don’t want to be treated like shit

I really wanted to like this book. I saw it featured heavily both on YouTube and Instagram and when I had the chance I picked it up. Even though social media might be responsible for me wanting to read this I picked it up for two main reasons:

  1. I have previously read other essay collections (f. ex. The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla) and I enjoyed them, thus I wanted to continue reading books in the same format.
  2. I am interested in reading about feminism, I am working my way through a TBR on the subject and this book was on it.

So what is this book about?

Bad Feminism is a collection of essays in which the author is exploring the topic of feminism through the lenses of who she is and the culture and society in which she grew up and currently lives in.

I loved the intro chapter where she explains why she is writing the book. Loved her direct, funny and down to earth way of her writing style. She explains how the term feminism is perceived by society and how she as a woman sometimes feels like a bad feminist because she is not a perfect example for other. And who is, for that matter?

‘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.’

‘It’s hard not to feel humorless, as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening; it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.’

The intro was amazing and I felt confident that this is going to be a great read. I ended up a bit disappointed for the following reasons:

  • It’s too many references to pop culture I couldn’t relate too made it a bit boring. There were too many unfamiliar topics for me which were taken as examples and I couldn’t be bothered to look them up. So, I lost interest when reading these. I did enjoy reading about topics I was familiar with, like her referring to Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey for example.
  • Not all of the essays seemed to be centered on feminism. There was too much debate about race and class and many of the essays were essentially excerpts from her life. Felt a bit too much like her personal opinions on an array of different subjects loosely related to feminism.
  • I really wanted to explore the subject of bad feminism and I didn’t feel like the book delivered.

This is not the book to read if you want to know more about feminism. I do not recommend it.

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