Books September 22, 2018

Gems From Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist 

This novel was a gift from one of my favourite people on the planet and a long read after, I am utterly smitten by the complexity and simplicity of Roxane Gay’s essays in Bad Feminist.

Swiftly moving from one of the most controversial schools of thoughts to the issues of race, representation to sexuality. I particularly love how enlightening and immersive it was to read Bad Feminist and feel, nod and research on the topics Gay speaks about.

She writes from a perfectly flawed perspective which speaks to the most human part of your consciousness. Perhaps, that is why I did gems from the novel. Nothing can better describe the art that Gay has created than he quotes (let’s call them gems) that flow through the pages and have been embedded deep into my psyche.

Bad Feminist

X – Feminism is flawed, but it offers at its best, a way to navigate this shifting cultural climate. 

X – I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. I do so because I am flawed and human.

18 – Playing the Game of Privilege is mental masturbation – it only feels good to those playing the game.

57 – We all have ideas about the way the world should be, and sometimes we forget how the world is. 

85 – In many ways, likability is a very elaborate lie, a performance, a code of conduct dictating the proper way to be. Characters who don’t follow this code become unlikable.

98 – What goes unsaid is that women might be more ambitious and focused because we’ve never had a choice. 

102 – Feminists are celebrating our victories and acknowledging our privilege when we have it. We’re simply refusing to settle. 

127 – Sometimes, and especially as a writer, I feel like I have no idea what happiness is, what it looks like, what it feels like, how to show it on the page. 

132 – We live in a strange and terrible time for women.

137 – All too often, representations of a woman’s strength overlook the cost of that strength, where it rises from, and how it is called upon when needed most. 

144 – Just because you survive something does not mean you are strong. 

150 – This is the uncomfortable truth: everything is a trigger for someone. There are things you cannot tell just by looking at someone. 

151 – The illusion of safety is as frustrating as it is powerful.

153 – There will always be a finger on the trigger. No matter how hard we try, there’s no way to step out of the line of fire. 

159 – And alongside these broken men are the women who all too often become broken too. It’s a spectacle in every way. 

169 – Too often, we fail to ask ourselves what sacrifice we will make for the greater good. What stands will we take?


172 – Vigorously resist the urge to dismiss the gender problem. Make the effort and make the effort and make the effort until you no longer need to, until we don’t need to keep having this conversation. 

172 – Change requires intent and effort. It really is that simple. 

185 – I am sorry our culture has treated women so poorly for so long that suffering abuse to receive celebrity attention seems like a fair and reasonable trade. We have failed you, utterly. 

189 – If there is a spectrum of misogyny with pop culture on one end and the disrespect for women’s boundaries in the middle, in the other end we have our nation’s lawmakers, who implicitly encourage this entire spectrum to thrive.

Bad Feminist

191 – Lighten up. Men want what they want. Sometimes they make their desires plain with music to which I can’t help but sing along. Blurred lines, indeed. 

193 – The thing about fairy tales is that the princess finds her prince, but there’s usually a price to pay. A compromise is required for happily ever after. The woman in the fairy tale is generally the one who pays the price. This seems to be the nature of the sacrifice.

204 – Fifty Shades is a fairy tale. There’s a man and woman, and an obstacle that eventually they are able to overcome. There is a happily-ever-after, but the price exacted is terribly high. It is frightening to consider how many women might be willing to pay that price. 

217 – I don’t expect writers to always get difference [race, gender, sexuality etc] right, but I do expect writers to make a credible effort. 

242 – It is bittersweet that something is better than nothing, even if the something we have is hardly anything at all.

248 – There is little room for error. For some young black me, there is no room for error at all.

257 – We hold all people to unspoken rules about who and how they should be, how they should think, and what they should say. We say we hate stereotypes but take issue when people deviate from those stereotypes. 

260 – We must look to how we can best support the least among us, not spend all our time blindly revering and trying to mimic the greatest without demanding systematic change.

273 – A woman should always have the right to choose what she does with her body. 

273 – On the scale of relevance, public approval or disapproval of a woman’s choices should not merit measure.

303 – I feel like I am not as committed as I need to be, that I am not living up to feminist ideals because of who and how I choose to be.

304 – …The movement has been warped by misconception for so long that even people who should know better have bought into this essential image of feminism.

305 – The most significant problem with essential feminism is how it doesn’t allow for the complexities of human experience or individuality. 

318 – No matter what issues I have with feminism, I am a feminist. I cannot and will not deny the importance and absolute necessity of feminism.

318 – I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.  

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