Here's To The 'Bad Feminists': Roxane Gay Is Right - It's Hard To Be 'Ideal'

14/08/2014 16:43 | Updated 20 May 2015

Do you ever feel bad because you're not the perfect feminist? Maybe you like dancing to Blurred Lines or spend your downtime in the pages of fashion magazines.

Maybe your end game is to get married, have children and stay at home. Maybe you're just not interested in discussing feminism because the conversation seems a bit, well, woman-hating.

If any of this resonates, allow us to introduce you to Roxane Gay - a writer whose collection of essays Bad Feminist, out on August 5th - tackles the politics of living out the ideology today. She's basically our new hero.

Roxane Gay Bad Feminist

Here's a quick excerpt:

Pink is my favourite color. I used to say my favourite color 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.

I'm bad at loads of things. Maths, geography, cooking, ironing, putting on black eyeliner without getting it everywhere. Yet the only thing that makes me feel guilty is when I'm bad at feminism.

"Hey Judas," whispers my internal snide cow when I dance to Kanye West referring to women, en mass, as bitches. "Do another spin for the patriarchy, why don't you?"

But it's unsurprising if we feel like feminism is another thing we have to perfect - it's the latest add-on to the having-it-all list, which is growing into something more unattainable all the time.

In the same way we shouldn't have to have the "perfect" bodies or clothes to be relevant, we shouldn't have to subscribe to one "perfect" strand of this ideology to be part of the fight for equality.

Gay's take is so refreshing because there are no rules, there's no right and wrong and she's definitely not trying to make you feel bad about how you choose to live out your interpretation of being a feminist.

So what is a bad feminist, by her definition? In an interview with The Guardian, she explained:

A 'bad feminist' started as a tongue-in-cheek thing but beneath the humor, the term acknowledges that it is hard to be an ideal feminist with perfect politics. I wholeheartedly embrace feminism and the equality of women throughout the world, but I also find myself dancing to misogynistic music and having opinions that at times feel so incompatible with feminist ideology. I'm human, full of contradictions, and a feminist.

I don't know about you, but this makes me feel a whole lot better.



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