On the 2018 Reading Challenge list is a book about feminism. This isn’t a topic I have had much interest in pursuing, so I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go with it. However, the writing of Roxane Gay must have recently come to my attention because Bad Feminist was the first title to come to mind when I went looking for a book to fill this prompt.
I decided I would listen to this book on audio. I’m not convinced that was the best choice for me. The only time I have for listening to audio books is on my commute from work. Since this is a collection of essays, the timing of my commute didn’t work well with the natural breaks of the book. As a result, my experience sometimes felt a bit disjointed.
Still, it is a good book. Gay takes on a number of difficult subjects, not just feminism. She also writes about racism, rape and rape culture, abortion and other issues facing women. Several of the essays are basically a literary criticism of a variety of popular books, movies and television shows, most of which I’ve never read or viewed.
In the first essay, Gay describes herself as a “bad feminist.” She goes on to explain what she means by this. The essays that follow are well organized, and they flow pretty easily from one to the next. She concludes the book with a two part essay referring back to the original, “bad feminist” idea, defending her position as such.
I found myself agreeing with most of what she had to say in this book. I think I too might consider myself a “bad feminist,” if I can be considered any kind of feminist at all. I don’t agree with everything she said, but she gave me much to think about on a lot of different subjects. Occasionally, Gay uses strong language, and at times that felt forced and out of place. That may have been more about the narrator reading the book than the writer herself, however.
The essays in Bad Feminist are well written and thought provoking. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes, not so much. Gay speaks openly and honestly about tough and sometimes deeply personal subjects. I would like to read this book again, though I’d like to be able to focus on just one essay at a time.