3.5 disco balls
Bad Feminist, a book of essays by Roxane Gay, is more than what the title may portray. There are essays on feminism but actually not as many as I thought. The beginning starts out discussing the author’s love of competitive Scrabble. I kind of was like “where is this going?” but realized this may be the way the author was allowing us to get to know her. (Since I was listening to the audiobook I didn’t have the breakdown of sections or essay titles. I would come to realize later that yes, those essays were her “Me” section.)
Gay’s essays touch upon various subjects such as body image, gender inequality, sexual assault, race, stereotypes in literature and film, and how media presents these subjects.
It is a thought provoking read and a conversation starter. It highlights very important subjects and makes you reflect on your own thoughts: I sometimes found myself thinking “hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way before” or that she stated more eloquently similar thoughts I had.
Chapter 14 of the audiobook will stay with me. If there is one chapter/essay you need to read/listen to: it is this one. It is the essay, The Careless Language of Sexual Violence. It discusses a newspaper article that when reporting on the gruesome sexual assault of an 11 year old girl, made the town and the boys the actual victims (yes I said boys – as in plural) whose lives would never be the same (how sad, was what they messaged). The focus on the actual victim was: where was her mother? That article still revs me up; absolutely horrifying. The journalist and newspaper should be ashamed of themselves; how irresponsible of them. Gay also shares her own personal story of sexual assault at a young age; her courage and confidence in addressing these subjects is empowering and inspiring.
Gay is very opinionated and although I may often agree with her on some things, sometimes I did not relate to her tone. She can come across mean and often pointed out what certain people did wrong or where they fell flat, but I felt it wasn’t constructive. To me it was just mean so she lost me a bit in those pieces.
As you have probably heard me say time and time again, I struggle with audiobooks but I still try to listen to at least one a month. I am getting better at paying attention and still have a ways to go. I will say the narrator, Bahni Turpin, did a great job.
Interesting tidbit: In one of her essay’s, Gay rips Kathryn Stockett’s The Help which was also narrated by Bahni Turpin. I wonder what Bahni was feeling when she voiced that essay.
Did you read/listen to Bad Feminist? Let me know what you thought.