Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Incredibly insightful and honest, Bad Feminist comprises a collection of writings by Roxane Gay,  author, blogger, and “cultural observer”.  Her essays (loosely related though never seeming too disorganized) cover a range of topics from race and gender equality, the meaning of feminism and the ways media influence our attitudes and actions, to the perils of competitive scrabble and Sweet Valley High.

Gay explores questions about contemporary culture and media through the lenses of society at large and personal experience, and does so in a way that feels fluid.  Her essays speak calmly and powerfully at the same time, and her observations sharp and perceptive without feeling overbearing.  She asks questions, she explores, she discusses, though not always to a conclusion, which is admirable in and of itself - it’s hard to not feel the need to wrap up arguments in a bow, to leave readers with more questions than answers, and to do so in a way that doesn’t feel unfinished.

Each essay is thought-provoking - more than once I found myself stopping mid-chapter to mull over a sentence or section that was particularly poignant.  Or simply rewinding the audiobook to listen again.  I especially enjoyed her discussions of culture through the lens of books and movies (though that may just be the English major in me).  If you’re looking for a book that will get you thinking and eager to discuss and debate important, sometimes difficult topics - Bad Feminist is a perfect choice.

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