Book Review: Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist coverTitle: Bad Feminist: Essays
Author: Roxane Gay
ISBN: 9780062282712
Pages: 336
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre:  Nonfiction, Essays
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5


In Bad Feminist, author Roxane Gay examines the question of feminism. What makes Gay a feminist? What does that mean? And how have her life experiences informed that identity?

Snapshot Review:

An incredible book full of the honesty of the human experience, Bad Feminist: Essays is a collection that everyone—man and woman—should read immediately.

Full Review:

What can I say about Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist: Essays?I feel like any attempt to describe what I so loved about this collection will fall completely flat, yet of course, I will try anyways. To put it succinctly (and to be overly broad), Gay perfectly captures what it means to be a woman today. Regardless of your race, creed, or age, this book speaks to the experience of every woman, whether you realize it or not. It’s incredibly well done and is just one of those books I want to hand out on street corners to everyone I see.

Gay covers so many issues in Bad Feminist. The book isn’t just about feminism; it’s about what it means to be a woman. It’s about sex and love and race and culture and rape and The Hunger Games and Scrabble. It’s about those big, broad issues that we all hate having to deal with, like reproductive rights, but it’s also about the simple pleasure of losing yourself in a good book. The breadth of this collection is what makes it so remarkable. Gay writes beautifully on so many different topics, but she’s smart and savvy with each word she puts on the page.

Perhaps the thing I loved most about Bad Feminist, and what spoke to me, is Gay’s honesty. It’s not just that she speaks frankly about personal experiences, such as gang rape (just brutal), but she acknowledges that she has principles, but that she’s also human. She’s a feminist and firmly believes in the power and equality of women, and that women shouldn’t be objectified—but she also loves to dance to the song “Blurred Lines.” Being a human is messy and complicated, and it’s okay to give ourselves a break. It’s so much better to accept our flawed selves than to hold ourselves to standards we can’t attain. Roxane Gay is a bad feminist, and so am I, but we’re both trying to do better. And it feels so great to be able to admit that and accept it.

This is the book I’m going to be telling everyone—male or female—to read for the foreseeable future. It’s so good and so honest that you will crumple under the weight of its beauty. Gay’s voice will draw you in so completely that you’ll feel as if she’s speaking directly to you, that she’s airing the thoughts you’ve had over and over again. Somehow, you’ll feel as though this incredible author reached into your soul to write out how you feel, and seeing yourself reflected on that page is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. Bad Feminist is everything you could ever want in a book: smart, honest, witty, and self-reflective. You’d do well to pick it up immediately.

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