If someone were to ask me, I would definitely say I am a feminist. There is no question. I believe both men and women should be equal to one another, and I know that this is not currently the case. I know because I should not feel nervous when I am out after dark. There should not be a discrepancy in how much men and women are paid for the same work. There should not be an assumption the woman was asking for it or she is somehow at fault for abuse or rape (or even an assumption she was lying), nor should people automatically dismiss a man’s claims that has was raped either.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay is a fantastic book and I do believe everyone should pick it up, regardless of their gender or age. I know one of the criticisms of the book is how it jumps around, but I think the style of the book—the fact it is a collections of essays—actually works to the author’s advantage. The collection style permits Roxane to cover a wider range of topics underneath the feminist umbrella than she would with a more cohesive format.
A cohesive format would have forced Roxane Gay to seamlessly transition from subtopic to subtopic. Though this is possible to do, it would have cut out some important experiences. Cutting out anything, in my view, would then severely limit this window into feminism and individual experience. I personally believe we should get as much information on experiences with gender inequality and why feminism is necessary, if only to further educate ourselves.
While I can pick at some of the writing and the style—I would prefer a slightly different style of writing—this is not important for this book, in my opinion. I think Bad Feminist does exactly what it needs to do. It has made me rethink certain opinions I have had in the past about popular culture (books, movies, et cetera), but at the same time has provided additional evidence to back up some of my experiences as a woman. It made me uncomfortable at certain points—which I believe is essential. If people are complacent, if they are comfortable or try not to see outside of their comfort zone, I doubt anything will change. We need things to disrupt us and motivate us to make changes.
Before reading Bad Feminist, I had thought we have made a decent amount of progress. However, I now woud have to revise that statement and say while there has been some progress, there has not been nearly enough.
As I wrote earlier, I think everyone (men and women, as well as those who identify otherwise) should read Bad Feminist. If anything, it will open your eyes a little bit more. Just don’t ignore what you see. The personal nature of the writing shows through, and I think overall Bad Feminist is quite useful. I think it brings up amazing points, particularly the one from the quote at the beginning of this post.
If you have read Bad Feminist, I would love to hear your thoughts about it. If you have not read it yet, do you have plans to? What would you want to see in it? The discussion is open in the comments below!
Title: Bad Feminist
Author: Roxane Gay
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada