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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 members say

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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 4 people found this review 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.

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informative

I may not 100% Agree with or completely understand her point of view about everything she said but I do appreciate the articulate and knowledgeable nature in which her agreements are made. An excellent read and would absolutely recommend to everyone!

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read it

Thankyou Roxane. These insightful and deeply felt words taught me to think wider harder and better.

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A must read

Thought provoking and challenging, with a great analysis on contemporary culture. I which more people had views like this.

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Thoughtful essays

There are great insights on contemporary topics. It took me a while to adjust to listening to the actor narrate the book, and I kept wondering what it would be like to hear the author's actual voice. I think the book could have been even more powerful if she had read it herself. There are a number of pop culture dissections, and I was more interested in some of them than others. Some essays in this collection will probably feel dated as time goes on because of these references. I look forward to reading more from Roxane Gay in the future.

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Bloody Brilliant!

An actual delight, though this book requires a content warning Gay does hit home some honest truths. Beautifully written and well researched.

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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.