Book Review – Bad Feminist

by Rose Hill


To be clear, this is a non-fiction book.  I read those on occasion.  😛

This is a collection of essays by Roxane Gay, covering a wide variety of subjects but focusing on women and race.

This is a very personal book.  No matter how much analysis Gay might include in her essays, each one is very personal to her.  They’re her reactions, her history, her life.

I’m not certain this is the sort of book a person can be said to enjoy.  It’s enlightening to get a look into someone else’s mind.  As a black woman and a feminist, she has a perspective that I think should be shared widely.  She’s open about her faults and biases, which is a rare thing to see.  But it’s not a happy book.  The experiences she shares are variously frustrating, horrifying, annoying, and depressing.  There are some bright spots of humor, but not a lot.

It must be said–Gay doesn’t sound like a bad feminist to me.  She sounds like a normal feminist.  Her conceptions of “normal” feminism sound–and she recognizes this herself–like ridiculous anti-feminist stereotypes.  I know a lot of feminists (and I mean a lot) and none of them act the stereotypes describe.  In my mind, feminism is about breaking stereotypes completely.  It’s not about being a housewife or a career woman or a rabid man-hating radical.  It’s about being free to do whatever you damn well please.  Do what speaks to your heart, whatever that may be.

That’s a bit off the topic of the book.  Sorry.

This book is heavy, but good.  Check it out.


Recommended for: feminists, people who don’t think there is a race/gender problem in America, people who say they are “all for equal rights, but I’m not a feminist,” worldbuilders interested in the experience of people belonging to multiple disrespected subcultures