I saw Roxane Gay’s Ted Talk. In it, she read part of her book, Bad Feminist. It reintroduced me to feminism again, a word that I felt I had known when I took a Feminist Literary Theory class in college, but then questioned again after many women denied they were feminists in interviews. The word “feminism” usually brings up some stereotypical (and extreme) ideas, such as not shaving and hating men. When I read any articles about it, the writer always has to define feminism before proclaiming to be one. In Gay’s Ted Talk, she expressed her own faults in working to be a feminist. Through her admission of her flaws she demonstrated that feminism isn’t clear-cut, nor should we consider it only in a dogmatic sense. Rather, it’s a process of becoming, including an admonishment of one’s setbacks and never-ending goal for equality.
Gay’s collection of essays, Bad Feminist, elaborates on feminism, but it also delves into cultural topics of gender, race, and politics. Using popular culture as a pivotal part of her essays, she analyzes and questions our current rhetoric for dealing with these topics.
I personally enjoyed Gay’s essays. For me, it was such a different take on thinking about our current culture through popular culture, movies, television, and our news cycle. Her voice was very distinct to me, so I felt it was an easy read that did bring up some questions on some of the items we give importance (such as particular movies). She brings up Tyler Perry and her hatred of Fifty Shades of Grey and Django. I noticed a few online writings criticizing her for admitting to be a “bad feminist” and yet criticizing others, which appeared hypocritical. It brought me to thinking about a writer’s role when taking up arguments in cultural criticism–don’t we have to enter into it knowing there will be blind spots? It feels like, for Gay to be admitting her own flaws, she recognizes her own blindspots when she writes. There are many moments where she is self-aware of her position being problematic. And perhaps that’s where some of the issue comes when discussing her essays.
Nonetheless, I felt it was a good collection of essays and worth reading!