A review by laurenleigh
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay

dark emotional funny informative fast-paced


I enjoyed the breadth and complexity of this essay collection. Gay discusses such a wide variety of topics, touching on reality television, pop culture, literary criticism, modern journalism, body autonomy, Black artistry, slave narratives, personal memoir, and what it means to be a woman in today’s world. One common theme throughout these topics was Gay’s ability to uphold opposing views simultaneously. She is able to make a strong, cohesive argument, but she never does so without acknowleding or considering the other side. For example, she can explain how Django Unchained is in many ways a racist movie, but still commend the acting and editing. She can celebrate a feminist text while pointing out its flaws. She can enjoy a catchy song and also condemn its sexism. It’s easy to pick a side and decide that’s the only way. Dualistic thinking comes naturally to us. But to make a strong argument while also exploring the nuances of the issue is much more interesting to me. The book overall made me want to write more! It reminded me of what I used to strive for in my own essay writing back in college. My only struggle with this text was that it started to feel very heavy. These are topics that require discussion for sure, but I should have taken breaks in between the essays. I wonder what it would read like if the lighter essays were more interspersed to break up the heavier ones.

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