Bad Feminist

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Bad Feminist audiobook

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Review #1

Bad Feminist audiobook free

Show me a strong woman with opinions and I’ll show you a line of detractors ready to fill her web page, her blog, her book reviews, with negative comments and thinly veiled slurs.

The more Roxane Gay I read the more Roxane Gay I want to read. Not because we’re so much alike, but because we’re so different. ‘Because we took such different paths, I being a fifty-something privileged white man, to reach the same conclusions. As I consumed Bad Feminist I found myself literally nodding in agreement, raising eyebrows in occasional astonishment, laughing out loud at her jokes and shedding a tear or twenty in painful empathy.

Gay, much like Lindy West, gifts me a perspective I would not otherwise have had. Each essay, each bit, becomes a piece of the mosaic of my worldview.


Review #2

Bad Feminist audiobook streamming online

I didnt know what to expect when opening a book entitled, Bad Feminist. I certainly didnt expect to read about Gays devotion to the Sweet Valley High book series, or her obsession with competitive Scrabble, or her enjoyment of the Hunger Games books despite their literary pitfalls. She offers these reflections alongside essays lamenting violence against women and the LGBT community, and the depressing persistence of rape culture and racism. The latter essays tend to be gritty, factual, intensely-layered with a complex and nuanced perspective; they showcase her ability to imbibe culture in all its formsmedia, news, movies, literatureand lay it out for us to see, think about, and agree or disagree with. In one notable essay, The Solace of Preparing Fried Foods and Other Quaint Remembrances from 1960s Mississippi: Thoughts on The Help, Gay bemoans the ever-lingering trope of the magical negro and its presence in movies and popular literature. She writes: In The Help, there are not one but twelve or thirteen magical negroes who use their mystical powers to make the world a better place by sharing their stories of servitude and helping Eugenia Skeeter Phelan grow out of her awkwardness and insecurity into a confident, racially aware, independent career woman. Its an embarrassment of riches for fans of the magical negro trope (Pg. 210). When I read this, other movies came to mind, such as The Green Mile, in which the person of color, John Coffey, significantly improves the lives of the white people in his life but doesnt save himself from being put to death by electrocution. Coffey brings animals back to life and sucks cancer from a white womans body, accepting it not without distress and pain to his own person, and reassures the whites around him that he is ready to die, and in fact wants to die. Gay wishes for a day when people of color play characters other than a slave or a magical negro or a combination of the two; she wishes for a day when the script has a person of color performing significant acts for their own destiny and not for someone else.

In a world where people think increasingly in absolutist claims, such as We versus Them, and use increasingly simplified and stunted language that can hardly do justice to the many ways life is lived, Gays writing forces the reader to consider the infinite shades of gray that exist in the world beyond the black and white, and demands through her logic that people be allowed to thrive in a variety of lifestyles, modes, and cultures and be respected and loveddespite religion, skin color, gender, chosen life paths, and level of so-called femininity.

Isnt this book about being a bad feminist? Yes, but Gays views of herself, what feminism means for her and what she thinks it should mean today are intertwined with her ruminations on literature and culture. Theres not just one right way to be a feminist; theres the way of being who you are, plus feminism, and then you can be both, even if it doesnt quite fit in the lines of what the perceived perfect feminist might be (for instance, Gay likes the color pink). As if sighing at the end of a lengthy conversation, she says in her last essay: I am a mess of contradictions. We are all; yet few of us are strong enough to admit it.


Review #3

Audiobook Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay writes in a casual, intellectual, and engaging manner that keeps your attention. The essays challenge your presumptions, often with dry wit and in-depth analysis derived from her education, observations, and life experiences. Her biographical stories and anecdotes are entertaining and enlightening, allowing you to empathize with her various experiences.

This book significantly impacted my perspective on feminism. In particular, the challenges of advocating feminism in our world. We all have different experiences and perspectives which drive our expectations. Gay has spent a lot of time and brain power deciphering exactly what feminism means to her, especially as compared to the feminist stereotype.

“I disavowed feminism because I had no rational understanding of the movement. I was called a feminist, and what I heard was, ‘You are an angry, sex-hating, man-hating victim lady person.’ ”

Precisely because she doesnt feel as though she fits the stereotype nor does she react to every scenario as she views a feminist should, she describes herself as a bad feminist. Gay uses these essays to empower herself and the reader to embrace her/their imperfections while still being a feminist.

How did this book affect me? It opened my eyes in ways I didnt expect.

Like so many others in this world, after my parents divorced I was raised primarily by a single mother. That experience ingrained in me a sense of feminism that I didnt even realize was there for many years. While I have always respected women, appreciated them for who they are, treated them fairly, and supported equality at every opportunity I was aware of, I never really thought of myself as a feminist.

Perhaps its a larger hurdle to leap because Im a man. Im supposed to adhere to idiotic and outdated rules of masculinity if I want to keep my man card. In a way, labeling myself a feminist is the antithesis of the societal norms I experienced growing up in rural Illinois and the urban yet deeply-southern-in-beliefs Houston, Texas. Not all, but most of the men around me upheld those expectations while the boys strived to meet them. I suppose that makes for a long journey to embracing yourself as a man and a feminist.

Gays descriptions gave me a better understanding of a womans experiences, as well as those of a black woman. For her, its a double whammy. Her life is filled with peoples reactions to her both as a woman and a woman of color. Bias is present in our society and government, without a doubt, meanwhile, her essays provided a personal frame of reference to the subject. Her view on current movies and books that deal with racism were eye-opening. They often exposed the narrow scope and hypocritical story of enlightenment that the public embraced. Her analysis made me question why I enjoyed the movies she ridiculed. I dont have a definitive answer yet.

While not all of the essays resonated with me, the collection is well worth reading. Especially for those who are looking to understand feminism from a slightly different angle than the stereotypical one. The takeaway from Roxane is that your view of being a feminist can be your own and still be valid.

See more of my thoughts at todhilton[dot]com/reads.


Review #4

Audio Bad Feminist narrated by Bahni Turpin

Be prepared to have all of your righteousness torn out, chewed up, and spat out. Roxane Gay’s ‘Bad Feminist’ is possibly the most enlightening book I’ve ever read. There were two distinct themes throughout the book – the first being feminism, the second, racism.

I’ve known for a long time that I was a feminist, albeit a bit of a bad one too, which is why I was drawn to this book. What I did not realise is that unbeknownst to myself, I’m actually quite racist. I’m not racist in any way I could previously control, but in the way that was embedded into me by growing up in a white middle class neighbourhood. I was aware of my privilege, but now it’s like I can see it. Books and films that I thought served justice and were a great representation to black people, such as ‘The Help’ and ’12 Years A Slave’ are really not, and how could I not have noticed this before? Ideas such as the ‘magical black person’ will stick with me forever, and I realised that however far women still have to go for equality, black people of either sex are still trailing ridiculously behind, sometimes with a white man touting a gun not far behind them.

As for the feminist aspect of the book, you’ll find that you agree with everything. I too have often sang along to ‘Blurred Lines’, I have referred to fellow women in derogatory terms, I have judged a fellow woman by the way she looks. Gay does her bit, where she can, with complete honesty, and this is so refreshing to see. She lays herself bare on the pages of this book, divulging her secrets, her flaws, and her loves and hates. ‘Bad Feminist’ is in places hilarious, sad, and sometimes brutal. As many of the discussions are around popular culture, films and books, I’ve now a massive reading list, which may or may not include Sweet Valley High. This book encourages you to do your homework.

I can’t wait to read more of Roxane’s work, and hope that through her teachings I can actually become the better person than I always thought I was. Everyone should read this book. You will learn things about yourself.


Review #5

Free audio Bad Feminist – in the audio player below

This book is not about feminism. This book is a collection of essays about the author, who just happens to be a woman that enjoys criticising other people’s work, and who enjoyes talking about herself (for instance the first chapter is around 20 pages of how she plays Scrabble). It is as though Gay wrote a collection of confused essays and was told that if she put them all together as a book and plastered the word ‘feminist’ on the front in bold pink letters, that it would trick lots of people into buying it. This worked as I was one of the fools who purchased the book without first checking it was actually about feminism. Unfortunately the book is boring and much more an autobiography about a Haitian female who has struggled with childhood and adulthood but isn’t really a feminist. Gays real focus is absolutely race, specifically black men and women in America – but for some reason she has decided to pretend it’s about feminism… As a white British woman I am not the target market for this book; I did not understand a lot of her topics, and have not heard of many of the pieces of work she was critiquing. Gay talks about being a bad feminist, and I think that she thinks she is being ironic, whereas I got a few chapters in and thought, gosh you really are the terrible type of feminist. A feminist is a person who believes in the equality of the sexes. Gay is an angry soul who has a negative opinion on just about everything and has labelled herself a ‘bad feminist’ to try and explain herself. Sorry but this book is not for me… Because I am a good feminist.


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