BOOK Bad Feminist

READER Ò DOC Bad Feminist À HANNAHREDHEAD ¸ Pink is my favorite color I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool but it is pink—all shades of pink If I have an accessory it is probably pink I read Vogue and I’m not doing it ironically though it might seem that way I once live tweeted the September issueIn these funnNsightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society but also one of our cultureBad Feminist is a sharp funny and spot on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are and an inspiring call to arms of all the ways we still need to do better I fucking hate Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist It’s disappointing on every level and has nothing thought provoking to say about anything It’s full of obvious statements juvenile essays about YA books she loves and easy breezy criticisms of other books If you want to read about feminism don’t start with this book It was reviewed and marketed as a book about gender issues and feminism Aside from the introduction the topic of gender and feminism isn’t broached in any serious way until page 71 in a terrible chapter called “Garish Glorious Spectacles” I wish the title had reflected the reality that this is a book of general essays in which feminism is just one of many topics I’ve also learned that many if not all of the essays were previously published on the internet Had I known this I never would have bought it Anyone writing any kind of shit can be “published” on the internet Bad Feminist is a deliberately provocative title designed to grab media attention thus readers’ attention Don’t fall for the hype The writing is technically competent but not at a level I expected Gay often tries to be funnyshe’s not In fact in other essays she demonstrates a very amusing lack of humor and inability to see the joke—particularly when it’s on her She has an unusual background—daughter of Haitian immigrants often the only black girl amongst white girls and later the only professional black woman in her department if not the whole university—but her experiences do not translate into dynamic details Her writing is as bland and as unremarkable as the popular white girls she worshipped in school and the creepy perfect blond girls in the Sweet Valley High books that she desperately wanted to become While I suppose that Gay is intelligent and accomplished and an adult I suppose this because she tells me so that does not come through in her essays In the first chapter “Feel Me See Me Hear Me Reach Me” Gay discusses how hard she’s worked to achieve her successes and how much she wants to be liked She comes across as desperate to be liked—both in her younger schooling days and now This impression doesn’t hold true for all of the essays but she still seems to be that young girl and grad student craving acceptance and affection from popular white girls Her essays have no teeth; they do not shock me surprise me or offend me I was promised a bad feminist and Gay does not deliver The essays are grouped into subjects “Me” “Gender Sexuality” “Race Entertainment” etc The essays in her first section “Me” are a colorless summary of her childhood and schooling leading into her career as a professor My opinion of those essays she watches too much crappy tv and needs to get a life She also needs to get some self esteem and uit wishing for people to like her Like yourself first The essay “Peculiar Benefits” takes on the subject of “privilege” She repeats the word “privilege” so many times it begins to sound weird in my head Privilege privilege privilege She talks about how she is privileged how others are privileged and the different types of privilege eg economic gender religious racial We’re all guilty of being privileged in some way or another and we shouldn’t judge others She talks about Playing the Game of Privilege and that it’s mental masturbation I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about and who plays this game I understand that yes if you’re white you have a leg up over all the other minorities If you’re also white male and wealthy then you’ve hit the jackpot of privilege But she goes on and on about this notion of privilege and I can’t help but think she’s dancing around the subject of affirmative action She never says that but she alludes to it not in this essay If she wants to discuss affirmative action as a way to correct white privilege then why doesn’t she Or if that’s not what she means then she should say that too It’s as if she’s saying look we all have some kind of privilege so stop judging the idea of affirmative action She’s defending it without being explicit That’s gutless Say what you mean for crying out loud That’s a good discussion to have and as a white person I’d be very interested to hear her thoughts on it But she hides behind the word “privilege” and avoids having a discussion that is worthy of having In “To Scratch Claw or Grope Clumsily or Frantically” Gay tells the reader all about her experiences competing in Scrabble tournaments I don’t give a shit about Scrabble tournaments After reading this trivial and not funny at all essay I give even less of a shit about competitive Scrabble I didn’t think that was possible but Gay with her 30 annoying footnotes and excessive details about the rules of tournament Scrabble proved to me it was I don’t know where this essay belongs but it does not belong in a book entitled Bad FeministIn the “Gender Sexuality” section the essays do not improve Her first essay “How to Be Friends with Another Woman” is a long list of mostly common sense items Seriously if you need to be told to be genuinely happy for your woman friends when they are successful and happy #5 then you’re probably an asshole who shouldn’t have friends Other items are so incredibly juvenile and immature #6B Begin serious conversations with an emphatic “GIRL” and #9 “Don’t let your friends buy ugly outfits or accessories you don’t want to look at when you hang out This is just common sense” 49—what the fuck Roxanne Are you 16 that I did a head smack when reading them This list completely undermines my efforts to take anything Gay says seriously That’s my biggest problem with Gay—I can’t take her seriously Her essays seem to have been written with barely any thought and very little research She wants approval for saying that yeah sexism is bad and racism is bad Really That’s not much of a stretch She reminds me of an idiot former co worker who often described herself as a “different kind of Christian” because she didn’t say anything mean about black people and thought gay people should be allowed to marry I mean wow Please congratulate yourself on meeting the lowest expectation of human kindness That’s how I think of Gay She seems to want to be loved respected and applauded for saying the most obvious fucking things Gay has nothing of interest to say to me Nothing She often doesn’t seem to understand the books she reads and criticizes She uotes two sentences from Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman and completely misses the point of the text and the joke Caitlin Moran “All women love babies—just like all women love Manolo Blahnik shoes and George Clooney Even the ones who wear nothing but sneakers or are lesbians and really hate shoes and George Clooney” This is how Gay interprets that “Again this is funny but it is also untrue and to try to generalize about women for the sake of humor dismisses the diversity of women and what we love Moran undermines herself by privileging there’s that damn word again feminism as something that can exist in isolation of other considerations Her feminism exists in a very narrow vacuum to everyone’s detriment” 104 The joke of course is that Moran is being sarcastic—women are supposed to like those things even if it’s obvious they don’t I would guess since Gay very carefully picks out sentences to criticize that Moran’s greater theme is that women are viewed in a very narrow spectrum by someone The second joke is on Gay for being oblivious of Moran’s joke This seems to be the norm of Gay’s critiues of other books She is uick to form criticisms of the books and doesn’t put enough effort into digesting what she’s readGay is clear about one thing her enthusiastic consumption of popular media Anyone over the age of 25 who has such fangirl reactions to reality tv The Hunger Games “Let me be clear Team Peeta I cannot fathom how one could be on any other team” 138 and the Sweet Valley High series has lost my respect Not that an intelligent woman can’t enjoy these things But her essays about these topics smack of school girl fervor Plus she included them in a book titled Bad Feminist a book I expected would be full of thought provoking essays on feminism not suees over Peeta Her essay about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is way longer than the subject deserves Gay makes the mistake of taking the books seriously She knows they are based on Twilight fan fiction correction they are fan fiction—James basically just changed the characters’ names however she feels the need to point out the obvious the books are sloppily edited poorly written and unrealistic Despite how incredibly silly and ridiculous the books are she criticizes them for “flagrantly pathologizing the BDSM lifestyle as strictly a way for fucked up people to work out their emotional issuesit is not an accurate portrayal of the community It sends a wrong and unfair message about kink” 200 Gay let’s keep some perspective It’s fucking Fifty Shades of Grey Anyone who takes anything in the books seriously is already a lost cause Plus it’s a fictional book Based on Gay’s logic any author who describes her serial killer character as a blue eyed blonde is also “inaccurately portraying” blue eyed blondes After all not all of them are murderers She continues “The books are essentially a detailed primer for how to successfully engage in a controlling abusive relationship” 201 As if men and women although really men need a “primer” for how to control women Yes I’m sure that men who decide to be controlling think to themselves “HmmI’d like to be able to completely control and dominate my woman but don’t know how to go about it I guess I’ll read Fifty Shades of Grey because it’s recommended as the perfectly detailed primer for how to successfully engage in controlling abusive relationships” What’s even dumber is that Christian Grey never does control Ana the idiot If anything she controls him with her whining her tears and her often unintentional slow response to answering his texts and emails Ana makes her own choices She chooses to stay with him He doesn’t force her Gay even unwittingly undermines her own “Mr Grey is an evil controlling asshole” assertion by writing he “tries” to control her; she “inexplicably” signs an agreement if she had no choice in the matter there’d be nothing “inexplicable” about it; he “offers” to travel with her; and “Time and again she chooses to sacrifice what she really wants for the opportunity to be loved by her half assed Prince Charming” 203 Ana wasn’t in a controlling abusive relationship He warned her about the kind of “relationship” he wanted She thought she could turn him into the perfect boyfriend That’s it What’s so amusing disgusting irritating about this essay is that one she put way fucking thought into it than she did her supposed feminist essays and two she says we cannot dismiss the flaws of the trilogy just because the books are fun and the sex is hot giggle Oh no “The damaging tone has too broad a reach That tone reinforces pervasive cultural messages women are already swallowing about what they should tolerate in romantic relationships about what they should tolerate to be loved by their Prince Charming” 204 Those aren’t the flaws of the books The “damage” of the books is that they are poorly written shoddily if at all edited and yet they were published and made a lot of money These books demonstrate that the reading public easily embraces shitty books—that’s as far as I’m concerned the real damage of these books At the end of this horrible book of essays Gay finally explicitly revisits her supposed main thesis in “Bad Feminist Take One” and “Bad Feminist Take Two” The first essay is a whole lot of privilege bitching about Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In The second essay explains that she is a bad feminist because she apparently doesn’t fit the very narrow definition of a feminist that Gay herself decided upon She likes the color pink She likes reading Vogue She likes dresses She shaves her legs sweet Jesus say it isn’t so She doesn’t know anything about cars She listens to music that has sexist lyrics She commits the unpardonable sin of liking men having sex with them no and wanting babies that’s it kill her Who is her audience Who the fuck is she speaking to It’s as if she’s trying to differentiate herself from Andrea Dworkin who probably would have throttled her for liking pink and wearing dresses but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Gay has not one fucking clue who Andrea Dworkin was So what is her definition of a feminist This is what she says “My favorite definition of ‘feminist’ is ‘women who don’t want to be treated like shit’ This definition is pointed and succinct but I run into trouble when I try to expand that definition I fall short as a feminist I feel like I am not as committed as I need to be that I am not living up to feminist ideals because of who and how I choose to be” 303 So what ideals is she not living up to Why does liking pink listening to misogynistic rap music and liking babies make you a bad anything Why does the definition she cites have to be expanded to include arbitrary conditions and limitations Basically Gay calls herself a “bad” feminist because she is gasp a human woman full of contradictions Just like I guess every other human woman on the planet She likes shitty reality television shows obsesses over YA novels and enjoys music with non PC attitudes towards women Gay admits this in her essays proclaims that these interests are bad for her feminist soul then pats herself on the back for being so so brave to admit all this to the world Now we the reading female public should wipe the tears from our eyes and thank her for showing us the way—we too can be brave and admit our love for shitty tv and garbage novels Thank you Roxanne Gay If you like all that stuff and still have the courage to call yourself a feminist albeit a “bad” one then we must be strong enough to hang out our feminist flags too Give me a fucking break Gay has absolutely nothing to add to the conversation about feminism As a black woman she has nothing to add to the conversation about racism either All her indignation is of the most obvious kind I’m angry because I believed a very polished and misleading marketing campaign and bought this book I’m angered by the sophomoric writing and juvenile essays and her complete lack of understanding regarding feminism To narrowly define feminism by the shallow guidelines of your favorite color your preference in entertainment and whether you shave your various body parts is fucking ridiculous and an insult to intelligent women and men who actually do call themselves feminists and actually do fucking think about what the word means A feminist is a person who demands to be treated as a human being A person who wants control of her body who refuses to be ashamed for being a sexual being who wants to be respected and receive eual pay for her knowledge abilities and accomplishments A feminist does not limit the idea of feminism to only professional women to only heterosexual women to only white women Gay is a bad feminist not because she likes pink or reads Vogue She’s a bad feminist because she thinks those fucking things even matter

BOOK È Bad Feminist Ê Roxane Gay

Nny and insightful essays Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly i Trite trivial narcissistic and vacuous beyond belief There's nothing thoughtful or interesting here; the collection is one pretext after another for Gay to publicly exhibit her triviality and bad taste forgive herself for it and demand applause Readers are inveigled into service as Gay's indulgent confessors The repeated routine is a Gay admits to loving some god awful schlock b Gay ponders her own courage in making this disclosure c Gay discovers consuming this schlock is really both personally virtuous and politically salient which are indistinguishable You suspect I exaggerate I understateOn Reality Television Reality television often gives the impression that like gender the whole of life is a performance The Los Angeles mansion or the tropical jungle or the fading rock star’s tour bus is the stage and what a stage it is brightly lit lurid encouraging us to see the garish spectacle of life at it’s most artificially real I watch it all the faux highbrow fare of Bravo the booze soaked MTV programming the glossy competition shows on CBS the sleazy exploitative fare of VH1 and even the off brand shows on lesser cable networks like Bad Girls Club and Sister WivesNo one shines luridly on this faux real stage than a woman Whether it’s a modeling competition a chance to compete for love a weight loss show or a look into the lives of an aging magazine publisher’s harem women are often the brightly polished trophies in the display case of reality television The genre has developed a very successful formula for reducing women to an awkward series of stereotypes about low self esteem marriage desperation the inability to develop meaningful relationships with other women and an obsession with an almost pornographic standard of beauty When it comes to reality television women often than not work very hard at performing the part of woman though their scripts are shamefully shamefully warpedReality Bites Back The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV by Jennifer Pozner is a very smart book that skewers reality television for its sexist racist and dehumanizing tactics in nearly every genre of reality television While I think of myself as media literate and a feminist I don’t know that any book I’ve read this year has made me as uncomfortable as Reality Bites Back for its incisive examination of what I have often thought of as harmless entertainment programming I had to uestion what it says about me that I take so much pleasure in the drama of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or the drunken weave snatching antics of Rock of Love or Flavor of Love that I like many others take pleasure in what Pozner brands “the cathartic display of other people’s humiliations” These shows exist because audiences need reminders of the wrong turns our lives might takeOn The Hunger Games I have found myself inexplicably drawn to these books the complex world Collins has created and the people she has placed in that worldI am not the kind of person who becomes so invested in a book or movie or television show that my interest becomes a hobby or intense obsession one where I start to declare allegiances or otherwise demonstrate a serious level of commitment to something fictional I had no hand in creatingOr I wasn’t that kind of personLet me be clear Team Peeta I cannot even fathom how one could be on any other team Gale I can barely acknowledge him Peeta on the other hand is everything He frosts things and bakes bread and is unconditional and unwavering in his love and also he is very very strong He can throw a sack of flour is what I am saying Peeta is a place of solace and hope and he is a good kisser In December 2011 I didn’t really know much about The Hunger Games Given my abiding interest in pop culture I’m not sure how I missed the booksI do most of my leisure reading at the gym I hate exercise Yes it’s good for you and weight loss and whatever but normally I work out and want to die I really do I knew I was in love with The Hunger Games when I did not want to get off the treadmill The book captivated me from the first page I wanted to keep walking so I could stay in the world Collins created More than that The Hunger Games moved me There was so much at stake so much drama and it was all so intriguing so hypnotizing so intense and dark I particularly appreciated what the books got right about strength and endurance suffering and survival I found myself gasping and hissing and even bursting into tears than once I looked insane but I did not care I was completely without shameDoes any investigation follow these displays of pleasure Any inuiry into these effects of consumer ecstasy and the political aesthetic or formal aspects of the works that provoke them Nothing Like a tween's book report the shallow analysis is limited to descriptive characterization; the one relation Gay has to these fictions is identification and fantasy Two centuries of political and aesthetic theorizing and literary criticism and nearly a century of the critiue of mass culture have completely passed Gay by and she remains in a critical infancy celebrating her own every impulsive and naive reaction to the prods and stimulations of these processed snack entertainments These products Gay exhibits herself consuming serve her as occasions and instruments for the most solipsistic autocommuning and self exploration tossing up an endless stream of clichés My love for these books at its purest is not really about Peeta or anything silly though still I love that a young woman character is fierce and strong but human in ways I find believable relatable Katniss was clearly a heroine but a heroine with issues She intrigued me because she never seemed to know her own strength She wasn’t blandly insecure the way girls are often forced to be in fiction She was brave but flawed She was a heroine but she was also a girl who loved two boys and couldn’t choose which boy she loved best She was not sure she was up to the task of leading a revolution but she did her best even when she doubted herselfThroughout the books Katniss endures the unendurable She is damaged and it shows At times it might seem like her suffering is gratuitous but life often presents unendurable circumstances people manage to survive Only the details differ The Hunger Games trilogy is dark and brutal but in the end the books also offer hope—for a better world and a better people and for one woman a better life for herself—a life she can share with a man who understands her strength and doesn’t expect her to compromise that strength a man who can hold her weak places and love her through the darkest of her memories the worst of her damage Of course I love these books The trilogy offers the kind of tempered hope everyone who survives something unendurable hungers forThis is all a kind of advertising doubling as promotion of personal brand; Roxane Gay is developed as a vendible celebrity attention magnet because of her consumption of these brands with a ostentatiously childish naive appetite and trembling excitement that is repeatedly declared delightfully naughty in an innocent way In turn the brands are re energized and valorized by the spectacle of Gay's uirky celebrity self regarding narcissistic enjoyment

Roxane Gay Ê Bad Feminist EBOOK

Bad FeministPink is my favorite color I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool but it is pink all shades of pink If I have an accessory it is probably pink I read Vogue and I’m not doing it ironically though it might seem that way I once live tweeted the September issueIn these fu 25 starsEssays are one of my favourite literary genres and recently I've read some amazing essay collections that have introduced me to new ideas and new writing styles so perhaps I put overly high expectations on Roxane Gay's essay collection Overall I'd have to say I was disappointed but this might have a lot to do with my high expectations and perhaps that I am not this book's intended audienceThe book started off uite well I liked the introduction in which Gay discusses what it means to be a bad feminist an imperfect woman in a world in which women are expected to strive for unattainable perfection at all times I was able to relate to the sentiment a lot of women have of wanting to steer clear of the feminist title because of its often negative connotations and also because of not understanding what the theory was truly about There are a few reasons why this book didn’t do it for me1 This book is too heavy on pop culture which isn't really for me I'm probably the wrong audience for this book because after all I don't watch reality TV or any of the television shows Gay critiues I’m not interested in critiues of 50 Shades of Grey Gone Girl or Twilight at all so it's not a surprise that I didn't enjoy those particular essays2 I think I was confused by the main thesis of this book I expected all the essays to be on feminism an alternative and uniting for our diverse pluralistic society type of feminism This book was essentially a mixture of feminist essays loosely feminist essays essays on observations of race class and pop culture critiue and some memoir style essays I’m not even sure whether I can call the majority of them essays as they read like blog posts Although I've learned a lot from reading people’s blogs a paperback perhaps isn’t the right medium for this type of writing 3 I wasn't challenged enough I felt like Gay was trying to say look I’m an academic but I’m still cool I appreciate and admire postmodernist feminist writers when they write in their own styles and don’t feel the need to stick to conventional dry academic writing styles but this particular style just didn't engage me I read a lot of feminist literature and I guess what I always look for when I finish books like this are new realizations new ideas and things I didn't know before but this was simply a rehash of the last two years of pop culture discussion on Twitter 4 I was uite frankly uninterested in most of her essays Some of the essays ended too soon; I had no idea where she was going with some of them and when I had finally figured it out the essay had ended I can definitely see Gay's appeal and the idea of her appeals to me as well This is a world in which women are constantly being silenced or being called histrionic strident etc for having an opinion or talking about controversial issues that make people uncomfortable so I always support women who have found their voice and are able to express themselves Gay does bring up lots of important topics such as rape racismracial stereotypes and abortion and these topics still need to be discussed and dealt with With all that being said I did like uite a few of the essays The ones on race were decent Personally as a black woman in academia I enjoyed her discourse on the lack of black professors in academia and I have to say that it was not until graduate school that I ever had a black professor or even black classmates for that matter and that was a big deal for meGay is definitely a passionate and fearless writer It's too bad I didn't enjoy her essays as much as I'd expected to