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Summary

Pink is my favourite colour. I used to say my favourite colour 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 colour (The Help) while also taking listeners 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 sincere 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.

©2014 Roxane Gay (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"Gay is my favorrite current writer." (Jessica Valenti, Guardian)
"Let this be the year of Roxane Gay." ( Time Magazine)

What listeners say about Bad Feminist

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    3 out of 5 stars

For a critical book of essays like this, tone is important

I’ve listened to a number of brilliant books written and performed by WoC on Audible and this was the first time that I felt that the tone was completely wrong. I really feel that having WoC perform books written by WoC is important, and I think that Roxane Gay would feel the same about this. There’s no doubt about the fact that the book itself is a mixed bag - some essays are brilliant, others less so, but there were times when I just got angry because the narrator made Gay’s narratorial voice sound sanctimonious and snobbish - and it was in these moments that I had to resist the urge to switch off, reminding myself that this was a WoC speaking (albeit a middle class one). I do think that the book is worth reading, but I would urge Audible to think seriously about its casting choices when putting together such audiobooks. I mean, I don’t really know why they couldn’t have had Gay read it herself (like Cullors and Eddo-Lodge) WoC are underrepresented in the publishing industry as it is, so representation is SO important. The personal really is political.

32 people found this helpful

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A Book For Everyone

This is a wonderfully balanced and intersectional examination of Feminism and it's complexities. I love the points about race in here as it's something I can't directly relate to and is therefore really important for me to educate myself on and listen to another's experience. I love how realistic this and how it doesn't try and simplify what Feminism is but points out that there are different kinds of Feminists. Absolutely fantastic and the narrator is really engaging.

5 people found this helpful

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A rambling list of random things

Aside from the first two chapters, which heavily focus on feminism, the rest of the essays are a random, nonsensical list of things that may or may not be related to feminism (the rest seems to be a cathartic writing exercise for Miss Gay to vent her opinions on race, body image, inferiority complexes etc etc). Furthermore, a lot of the content focuses on random TV programs / chess competitions without a great deal of analysis on the point of the description or acknowledgement that other people might take alternative view points on the same topic.

I think that the title is extremely misleading and perhaps this book should have taken the form of a biography rather than advertising itself as an "informative book". Just a rambling list of one person's experience of the world.

3 people found this helpful

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Perfectly captured so many of my own thoughts

Very relatable and accessible essays. Reflected so many of my own thoughts but in a far more eloquent manor than I've ever been able to articulate before. I found myself annotating more in this book than any other I've listened to to date.

2 people found this helpful

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A mixed bag of essays

Roxane Gay is a gifted writer no doubt, but like a lot of her more prominent work, there are huge amounts of autobiographical information that didn't seem completely relevant.

Her essays on the intersection of feminism with misogynistic pop culture was incredibly on point, exploring E.L. James' infamous BDSM novel Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as other popular novels such as Twilight. She briefly mentions rape culture and how all of the above feeds into this notion.

Similarly her discussion on how race is portrayed in major Hollywood motion pictures is accurately disturbing - showing how African Americans are used in plots as a way to prop up white protagonists (The Help, Django Unchained).

Some of her other chapters seemed disconnected as if they were put in the book because there was no other place for it. This appears in the chapter on Scrabble. (Playing Scrabble doesn't make you a bad feminist).

There were a lot of haphazard thoughts that didn't quite thread together with the rest of the book ie. abortion rights, and male politicians' views on body autonomy. Gay was pretty adamant on her views on this, which appeared to showcase her opinion that she truly is a feminist.

The underlying message was that you may have flaws by enjoying aspects of pop culture, but as long as you are aware of how important it is that women receive equal rights, you can be any kind of feminist. But the book does feel as if she's trying to prove it to herself and to the world which seems rather unnecessary. We believe you Roxane.

6 people found this helpful

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Read, don't listen, to this one.

Roxane Gay's essays are thought provoking and well written, I studied a few at university and so I was excited to hear the entire collection through an audio book, but listening to this recording was more of a chore than a pleasure. The narrators voice is jarring and distracts from the subject matter. Its not that the narrator is hard to understand, just that her voice does not fit this text at all. Audible, please re-record this, ideally with Gay reading her own, often incredibly personal text, or perhaps with one of the actresses mentioned, Lupita Nyong'o for example. This text deserves it!

1 person found this helpful

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Disjointed uninteresting stories

Very self-indulgent writing. No relationships to the topic or other essays in the collection. Couldn't finish.

1 person found this helpful

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Boring

Unfortunately, couldn't finish this book. Not what I expected as felt more autobiographical than anything about feminism. The blurb pulled me in but did not reflect the book as a whole. Wouldn't recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Intelligent, gripping and illuminating

Insightful, exciting, could not stop reading. Gay's view of the world, media and difficult issues is illuminating and her writing style is just as eloquent as it is fun and modern.

1 person found this helpful

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I'm a feminist, albeit not a very good one.

My first read by this author and I'm kicking myself for putting it off for so long. While it's not perfect; what essay collection/work of literature is; it gave me a lot to think about and gave me opinions of a person I regard highly on things I might not have seen from my pov as a white person from the UK.

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  • Lim
  • 09-02-21

The book is unrelated to the title

The title should've been called book/movie reviews on issues related to racism. There's hardly any content about feminism and if you haven't read all the books the author talked about, it'll be hard for you to relate.

Disappointing.

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  • Monty
  • 06-03-18

Eloquent introspection and acute observations

Ms Gay has a wonderfully nuanced and accessible writing style. I wish that I could write so well about my own introspection and convey so acutely my observations about the world and the insidious oppression that all marginalised groups experience in the face of oppression. The essays were so evocative of my own experiences and they gave eloquent voice to what I had previously identified as disquiet during the subtle exposures.