Are You A Bad Feminist?

By Leslie Dawe

What is a bad feminist? A bad feminist is a feminist that is not 100% perfect at what they do. According to writer and “bad feminist" Roxane Gay, “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy… I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all of the answers.”  Being a feminist is not about being absolutely perfect, it is about standing up for what you believe in and in turn, it is meant to be beneficial to you and everyone around you. Feminism is equality.

Roxane Gay states, “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.” This  statement is one that I can relate to as an individual - it defines me as a person. This book shows many views that differ from most of society’s opinions of feminism - including sections about gender and sexuality, race and entertainment, and finally, politics, gender and race. Her writing shows what it’s like to move through the world as a woman. It’s not even about feminism - it’s about humanity.

Individuals feel as though they are a failure at whatever it is that they do. Gay states that, “I am failing as a woman...I am failing as a feminist … I am a mess of contradictions.” She is just like every other human in the world. Each and every individual may feel as though they are a failure or a mess. It takes someone special to look at their mistakes and put it into a context which helps others realize the truth about themselves and others.

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Today’s entertainment such as music, television, and books has ways that they portray women badly. In the essay, “Blurred Lines, Indeed,” Gay visits Robin Thicke’s song “that revisits the age-old belief that sometimes when a woman says no she really means yes.” The songs catchiness is unfortunate. I used to love that song. Even as a feminist, I still listen to them on repeat, although, they are as Gay says, “terrible for women…” 

She also mentions a comedian that encouraged his fans to lightly touch a woman’s stomach because that is okay for them to do. A woman’s body is not something that anyone can just touch. Men have their right to their bodies, and we deserve the same respect. It is not a matter of the fans adoring the comedian; instead, it boils down to the respect you have for others as people.

I did not fully agree with every statement by Roxane Gay in this novel, but I have learned that this book, like feminism, has flaws. Like I have flaws, like I am not perfect. I hope that you read this book, and that it enlightens you, that it helps you become a better person and realize that you do not have to be perfect to still be a respectful human.