A review by lady_moon
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay


Some version of the dream of this book still lives in the back of my head and maybe one day I'll find the excellent collection of essays that this book absolutely was not.

Bad Feminist had a good start. I had fun listening in the beginning, I enjoyed her talking about her time as an advisor, about privilege and her time as professor. There was an essay about scrabble...? That was boring and pretty pointless. Then there was an essay about how to have women friends, which was... a list with just common sense and stupid points. But I tell myself, okay I can ignore that.

But there were also essays that talked about random pieces of media? Some shows and books, some critique, like... I don't know any of this media, except The Hunger Games, so I wasn't really invested in all this. I wasn't fan of the The Hunger Games essay though. I just didn't care to be honest? It didn't add anything to the conversation. If this was a memoir or something, fine, but it isn't - this is book with essays named Bad Feminist. Such essays were just a little out of place. And I personally was annoyed at the unnecessary amatonormativity that was present.

Now, I could have ignored all of this. I really could have. But then the trigger warning discussion came. And it pissed me off. For the most part there was nuance and dissection, about censorship and what can be a trigger. But then she basically said she can't understand how some people live in the illusion of safety and that trigger warning won't protect them from what already is inside them. I'm sorry but what the fuck?? Does she know think "warning" means? It's not there to protect you or to prevent you from consuming this media (as she also thinks) but to warn you what you're going to consume so you can take care of yourself if needed. What was this bullshit, honestly? This is the first time I really felt there's something not quite right with this book.
(Not to mention before that there's a heavy discussion of rape and her own rape and right after that to have is an essay about trigger warning... I mean, that's petty.)

Then there's one waaayyy too long essay that criticize Fifty Shades of Grey. Woman, what the hell 😭 We all know this book is shit, there really wasn't need of such deep critique of it (half of which is a rant, honestly). I was really tempted to DNF at that point.

Other thing that baffled me: The hunting of witches is, apperantly, because rulers wanted to prevent abortions?? 😭 What is this woman talking about, I- Tell me you don't know anything outside of USA history without telling you don't know anything outside of USA.
The hunting of witches isn't some trick the government to take down people who know the medicine for abortion (maybe that was someone's idea, I don't know). Hunting witches was rooted in superstition, xenophobia, bigotry and most of all - misogyny. Don't make it related to something irrelevant just so it can appeal to American issue.

After that it was a series of discussion of different movies with Black representations. I knew exactly two of this movies/Tv series, one of which I haven't watched. This was curious for me, as a white person who doesn't watch a lot of these genres, let alone critique of it.

Overall, there just... wasn't anything new? Anything even remotely deeper to add to the discussion regarding feminism. Not even to the conversation about race to be honest? There wasn't anything new, anything interesting, not even in the way it was presented to us. I do enjoyed some things in the beginning but then it quickly became painfully average. Kudos for the advertisement lol, I was really convinced I'm picking up an amazing book. 

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