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Bad Feminist: Essays
by Roxane Gay

Published: 2014-08-05
Paperback : 336 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members

From the author of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, the New York Times Bestseller and Best Book of the Year at NPR, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and many more

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her ...

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Introduction

From the author of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, the New York Times Bestseller and Best Book of the Year at NPR, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and many more

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.

Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: "These essays are political and they are personal," Roxanne Gay announces in the introduction of Bad Feminist. "They are, like feminism, flawed, but they come from a genuine place." This place, as displayed throughout the course of her excellent essay collection, is also one of daring intelligence, imagination, and empathy. Gay leads by example. To combat the demeaning stereotype that feminists are humorless, Gay imbues her essays with levity. One of the best pieces comes early in the book when Gay competes in a Scrabble tournament and her success as a beginner angers her male opponents. It's smart and laugh-out-loud funny essay, and in a humbling turn, Gay herself finds a similar unwarranted frustration toward competitors when she begins losing. Bad Feminist represents Gay's body of personal essays and critical work over the past several years, and if the book has a slight misstep, it's that it sometimes feels like these are articles that have been published elsewhere. (For example, Gay's takedown of The Help is extraordinary, but the same arguments return repeatedly in pieces about other films.) Still, this is such a small complaint in a rare collection where each and every piece is vital and the book as a whole feels important. --Kevin Nguyen

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Talking Points:

Icebreaker – What essay resonated with you the most and why?

What is your definition of a feminist? Who is this person? What type of values do they hold? What actions do they take?

Roxane Gay writes, ” I sometimes cringe when I am referred to as a feminist, as if I should be ashamed of my feminism or as if the word “feminist” is an insult. The label is rarely offered in kindness.” Why do you think Roxane, and the other women she mentions in “Bad Feminist: Take One, ” shy away from being called a feminist? What common misconceptions do people have about the words feminist and feminism?

Roxane points out her feminist failings: listening to rap music, wanting to be taken care of, liking the color pink – contradictions that make her a “bad feminist.” What do you think are the characteristics of a “good feminist?” Is there such a thing as a bad or good feminist?
(From https://itstaylorhenriquez.wordpress.com/tag/bad-feminist-book-club-discussion-questions/)

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