Quotes from “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay

Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights
We have to be more interested in making things better than just being right, or interesting, or funny.
ike most people, I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman.
e need more. We need pop culture that demonstrates not only the ways people are different but also the ways we are very much alike.
Movies, more often than not, tell the stories of men as if men’s stories are the only stories that matter
You don’t necessarily have to do anything once you acknowledge your privilege. You don’t have to apologize for it. You need to understand the extent of your privilege, the consequences of your privilege, and remain aware that people who are different from you move through and experience the world in ways you might never know anything about. They might endure situations you can never know anything about. You could, however, use that privilege for the greater good—to try to level the playing field for everyone, to work for social justice, to bring attention to how those without certain privileges are disenfranchised. We’ve seen what the hoarding of privilege has done, and the results are shameful.
Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights.
My favorite definition of “feminist” is one offered by Su, an Australian woman who, when interviewed for Kathy Bail’s 1996 anthology DIY Feminism, said feminists are “just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.”
In “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous states, “Woman must put herself into the text—as into the world and into history—by her own movement.”
In Superman on the Couch, Danny Fingeroth writes, “A hero embodies what we believe is best in ourselves. A hero is a standard to aspire to as well as an individual to be admired.” We crave the ability to look up, to look beyond ourselves and toward something greater.
What often goes unspoken in this conversation is how debates about birth control and reproductive freedom continually force the female body into being a legislative matter because men refuse to assume their fair share of responsibility for birth control. Men refuse to allow their bodies to become a legislative matter because they have that inalienable right.
This, it would seem, is yet another example of white privilege—to retain humanity in the face of inhumanity. For criminals who defy our understanding of danger, the cultural threshold for forgiveness is incredibly low
There is a complex matrix for when you can be racist and with whom. There are ways you behave in public and ways you behave in private. There are things you can say among friends, things you wouldn’t dare say anywhere else, that you must keep to yourself in public.
As Judith Butler writes in her 1988 essay “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution,” “Performing one’s gender wrong initiates a set of punishments both obvious and indirect, and performing it well provides the reassurance that there is an essentialism of gender identity after all.” This tension—the idea that there is a right way to be a woman, a right way to be the most essential woman—is ongoing and pervasive.
Kathy Bail’s 1996 anthology DIY Feminism, said feminists are “just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.”
Then I feel guilty because the sisterhood would not approve. I’m not even sure what the sisterhood is, but the idea of a sisterhood menaces me, quietly, reminding me of how bad a feminist I am. Good feminists don’t fear the sisterhood because they know they are comporting themselves in sisterhood-approved ways.
Maybe I’m a bad feminist, but I am deeply committed to the issues important to the feminist movement. I have strong opinions about misogyny, institutional sexism that consistently places women at a disadvantage, the inequity in pay, the cult of beauty and thinness, the repeated attacks on reproductive freedom, violence against women, and on and on. I am as committed to fighting fiercely for equality as I am committed to disrupting the notion that there is an essential feminism.
The more I write, the more I put myself out into the world as a bad feminist but, I hope, a good woman—I am being open about who I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become.
I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.
But Django Unchained isn’t even really a movie about slavery. Django Unchained is a spaghetti western set during the 1800s. Slavery is a convenient, easily exploited backdrop. As
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