"Books are often far more than books."
-Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist
I'm still a little (re: a lot) behind on reviewing books I've read for the past 3 or 4 months, so bear with me while I attempt to catch up! This particular book I read back when I was in England in June, and though I don't read a ton of nonfiction books, I think that's going to be one of my goals for the coming year, at least until I go off into graduate school world. Then, reading for fun might be few and far between.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay is a series of essays on her own journey as a woman of color, taking readers through the culture of the past few years while commenting on the state of feminism today. The essays within the book range on a series of topics, from television shows to her personal experiences, working together to create an overall commentary on where we find ourselves in relation to feminism. Gay's essays really make the reader think about the way that they consume culture, and inspires readers to take action to do better.
This is a book that had been on my to-read list for a long time, and I'm so glad that I finally got the chance to read it. As a literature student, I've already been trained to critically consume culture, analyzing the way things are portrayed and what they're reflecting from society as a whole. Gay took this to another level for me, as I come from a place of privilege (being white) that she doesn't. Her viewpoint on different elements of culture opened my eyes to the ways that others might view some of the pieces of culture that I loved, forever showing that reading is one of the ways to help open someone's eyes to someone else's struggles.
The essays themselves are well paced, and flow easily from one to the next. Gay's essays certainly helped me to expand my thinking, and is a balance between social commentary, memoir, and critical analysis. Her points throughout left me thinking long after I finished the book, and there's certainly much to return to throughout her series of essays. Definitely a conversation opener about the topic of feminism.