Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gray



It's no secret that I went to school at a women's college in Massachusetts. It's also no secret that while I was there, I took an interest in and took many classes in what was then called women's studies. I have a passion for that particular topic as much as I do for reading, so when I heard about this book on NPR (I know, a shocker), I immediately procured a copy because it seemed fascinating to me to read about the intersection of gender and race.

Roxanne Gay, herself, is a fantastic person. She was at Yale for a while studying but then literally, as a woman in her late teens or early twenties, fell of the face of the earth. She boarded a plane to San Francisco t meet a man that she had just met online. What no one knew about her at that time was that when we was a child, she had been the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a 44 year old man. So when the man in San Francisco proposed traveling she jumped on board. She then spent a year there, without her family's knowledge (although they eventually tracked her down about a year later!). 

I knew that I was going to enjoy the book when I read, in the opening, she openly and lovingly and confidently accepts the label "Bad Feminist" because, as she puts it, she's human and flawed. Loved it! SHe admits that as a black, Queer woman, she didn't always feel that feminism was for her because it dealt mostly with the issues of white, straight women and didn't leave room for her or allow for people to make mistakes - again LOVE it! This book is, therefore, a collection of essay about how she comes to terms with feminism and how she agrees with its basic aims : equal opportunities for men and women, affordable health care and reproductive freedom.  These essays examine body image, pluralism, race, Orange is the New Black and competitive Scrabble. 

While her writing is intensely personal (she uses lots of personal stories to make her points), there are definitely times when she jumps into wider themes. For instance, in her essay "Not Here to Make Friends," she jumps from a story of a note that she wrote while in school to another female classmate to a discussion of female characteristics - need to be nice etc. Her voice is witty and her arguments ar logical and well thought out. Don't get me wrong, i don't want to give the impression that she imiraculously solves all of feminism's problems in this book. her essays are more of middle and beginnings then anything else, which i also kind oDefinitley a must for people to read and add to their library!f really like because I see it more of a way of starting conversations then anything else. 

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