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Bad Feminist

Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Pink is my favourite colour. I used to say my favourite colour was black to be cool, but it is pink - all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I'm not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of colour (The Help) while also taking listeners on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown).

The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny and sincere look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are and an inspiring call to arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

©2014 Roxane Gay (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Gay is my favorrite current writer." (Jessica Valenti, Guardian)
"Let this be the year of Roxane Gay." ( Time Magazine)

What listeners say about Bad Feminist

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interesting and topical

I enjoyed Roxanne's perspective and her openess when commenting on current events and state of affairs. she does not pander to stereotypical feminist ideals and makes it clear that individuals can be feminists too.

6 people found this helpful

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Fabulous collection of essays

At times heart breaking, at times deeply witty this collection of essays is honest and thought provoking. Although Gay sees herself as a bad feminist, it defines what it is to be a feminist today.

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We should all be BAD feminists!

Often funny, always thought provoking I found this collection of essays fascinating. Being a more ‘mature’ reader I did not comprehend some of the pop culture references but this in no way diminished my enjoyment of this book.

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Title is misleading

Not what I expected it to be. The second half is more focussed and on-topic but after foreshadowing the premise in the first chapter, the book doesn't really fulfill what it sets out to. It is a meandering mix of literature reviews and personal anecdotes that don't always fit together.

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Accessible feminism

If you’re tired of intellectual feminism that turns everything into something lofty that nobody but a select few can understand, then you will love this. Gay’s ideas are relevant to ordinary life and they are eye-opening. She writes with humour and appeal. I love her. Normally I don’t like essays but I liked this book.

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Depressing and dark obsessed with darkness

I think this book is fixated on racism and has some very angry attitudes towards certain film makers and tv sit coms. There are good reasons for her anger but it was all too much for me. I’m not interested in American tv sit coms. This has lots of dark and depressing content. This is not for me. Maybe I’m not the target audience. I found the majority of it totally depressing. I like to be uplifted by what I read. This book is written well but is definitely depressing.

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Wanted to like it

If you happen to be familiar with all the diverse and, to be frank, outright obscure corners of pop culture that Ms. Gaye spends the book delving into and ruminating on, then you'll probably enjoy the read. If not, then not even her wonderful style will save it.

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  • Monty
  • 06-03-2018

Eloquent introspection and acute observations

Ms Gay has a wonderfully nuanced and accessible writing style. I wish that I could write so well about my own introspection and convey so acutely my observations about the world and the insidious oppression that all marginalised groups experience in the face of oppression. The essays were so evocative of my own experiences and they gave eloquent voice to what I had previously identified as disquiet during the subtle exposures.

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  • Erzulie
  • 16-08-2018

For a critical book of essays like this, tone is important

I’ve listened to a number of brilliant books written and performed by WoC on Audible and this was the first time that I felt that the tone was completely wrong. I really feel that having WoC perform books written by WoC is important, and I think that Roxane Gay would feel the same about this. There’s no doubt about the fact that the book itself is a mixed bag - some essays are brilliant, others less so, but there were times when I just got angry because the narrator made Gay’s narratorial voice sound sanctimonious and snobbish - and it was in these moments that I had to resist the urge to switch off, reminding myself that this was a WoC speaking (albeit a middle class one). I do think that the book is worth reading, but I would urge Audible to think seriously about its casting choices when putting together such audiobooks. I mean, I don’t really know why they couldn’t have had Gay read it herself (like Cullors and Eddo-Lodge) WoC are underrepresented in the publishing industry as it is, so representation is SO important. The personal really is political.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Miss Je Cooke
  • 27-11-2019

A Book For Everyone

This is a wonderfully balanced and intersectional examination of Feminism and it's complexities. I love the points about race in here as it's something I can't directly relate to and is therefore really important for me to educate myself on and listen to another's experience. I love how realistic this and how it doesn't try and simplify what Feminism is but points out that there are different kinds of Feminists. Absolutely fantastic and the narrator is really engaging.

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  • Aisha
  • 06-11-2018

Perfectly captured so many of my own thoughts

Very relatable and accessible essays. Reflected so many of my own thoughts but in a far more eloquent manor than I've ever been able to articulate before. I found myself annotating more in this book than any other I've listened to to date.

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  • Suswati
  • 23-11-2017

A mixed bag of essays

Roxane Gay is a gifted writer no doubt, but like a lot of her more prominent work, there are huge amounts of autobiographical information that didn't seem completely relevant.

Her essays on the intersection of feminism with misogynistic pop culture was incredibly on point, exploring E.L. James' infamous BDSM novel Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as other popular novels such as Twilight. She briefly mentions rape culture and how all of the above feeds into this notion.

Similarly her discussion on how race is portrayed in major Hollywood motion pictures is accurately disturbing - showing how African Americans are used in plots as a way to prop up white protagonists (The Help, Django Unchained).

Some of her other chapters seemed disconnected as if they were put in the book because there was no other place for it. This appears in the chapter on Scrabble. (Playing Scrabble doesn't make you a bad feminist).

There were a lot of haphazard thoughts that didn't quite thread together with the rest of the book ie. abortion rights, and male politicians' views on body autonomy. Gay was pretty adamant on her views on this, which appeared to showcase her opinion that she truly is a feminist.

The underlying message was that you may have flaws by enjoying aspects of pop culture, but as long as you are aware of how important it is that women receive equal rights, you can be any kind of feminist. But the book does feel as if she's trying to prove it to herself and to the world which seems rather unnecessary. We believe you Roxane.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-10-2019

A rambling list of random things

Aside from the first two chapters, which heavily focus on feminism, the rest of the essays are a random, nonsensical list of things that may or may not be related to feminism (the rest seems to be a cathartic writing exercise for Miss Gay to vent her opinions on race, body image, inferiority complexes etc etc). Furthermore, a lot of the content focuses on random TV programs / chess competitions without a great deal of analysis on the point of the description or acknowledgement that other people might take alternative view points on the same topic. I think that the title is extremely misleading and perhaps this book should have taken the form of a biography rather than advertising itself as an "informative book". Just a rambling list of one person's experience of the world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs Cathy
  • 01-09-2019

Intelligent, gripping and illuminating

Insightful, exciting, could not stop reading. Gay's view of the world, media and difficult issues is illuminating and her writing style is just as eloquent as it is fun and modern.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shell3y
  • 12-10-2020

Disjointed uninteresting stories

Very self-indulgent writing. No relationships to the topic or other essays in the collection. Couldn't finish.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-09-2020

Great book!

I love it. All feminist should read it. This is the sort of book humanity needs.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-09-2020

Boring

Unfortunately, couldn't finish this book. Not what I expected as felt more autobiographical than anything about feminism. The blurb pulled me in but did not reflect the book as a whole. Wouldn't recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-08-2020

Still very relevant in 2020...

... because not only has nothing changed, things have gone (way) further backwards since Roxane Gay wrote this astute, honest and very important book. I'm finding it difficult to choose further words to express how I feel about it so I will say, Please listen to or read this book and share it, whoever you are. And the narrator was fantastic.