Books Culture

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

21 February 2016
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist is a selection of feminist essays that were written by Roxane Gay and published in 2014. I finished reading them about a month ago and I have been looking forward to telling you what I thought ever since! But first, the description:


Roxane Gay, novelist and professor, writes about her definition of a “bad feminist” and what that entails in today’s society. The essays tackle rape culture – ranging from Robin Thicke to Girls – as well as the author’s love of Scrabble and The Hunger Games.

What I thought of Bad Feminist

I have been trying to write a decent review of this book for several weeks. But it is just so brilliantly written that I feel like anything I come up with just isn’t good enough! Here is my latest attempt.

This collection of essays was a truly fantastic piece of analytical writing. I had barely finished the inspiring introduction that I was telling anyone who would listen all about it and wishing that it had been translated into French so I could give the book to my francophone feminist friends (pardon the alliteration!) and have lengthy animated discussions about it while munching crisps and having a glass or three of wine.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

The very notion of a “bad feminist” was a breath of fresh air. It is about embracing the fact that one feminist – or one feminism – will never be enough to represent the wide array of feminist issues that are out there. Each of us as men or women or something in between has a certain amount of power to be critical and aware of what we experience each day and how that is acceptable or not in terms of equality. And we will go through life with diverse opportunities that will face us with sexism in various forms. There is no point putting everyone in the same pot: there are people with money and people without, people with eating disorders or black skin or mental illnesses or wrinkles. And the concept that Roxane Gay advances liberates us from the obligation to be everything to everybody. A “bad feminist” can do their thing in their own scope and not necessarily be a model for everyone who has feminist ideas. You wouldn’t expect a politician to represent EVERYTHING you believe in politically, would you?

I have already written 400 words and I haven’t even got around to talking about the incredibly interesting insights on pop culture, a phenomenon I loved studying at uni. I also haven’t spoken of the many humorous passages of this book that provide welcome comic relief after chapters about subjects that are painful to discuss and read about but that we have a duty to face.

I know that I will read this book again and again and that it will continue to provide food for thought on many complicated issues our world is facing. I hope Roxane Gay will write more wonderful essays for me to devour. And in the meantime, I cannot recommend this book enough!

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

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