Feeding My Head by Reading Better: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Part Two

What I love about Roxane Gay’s essays in Bad Feminist is that it feels like she is exploring imperfections and flaws with each subject matter. As she explores the subject matter, she questions the flaws while giving her argument and opinions. She allows herself to be imperfect while questioning the world around her while embracing that’s it’s OK to be messy. That has allowed me to take the pressure off myself and embrace that I am messy because it’s human to have faults, and our world is imperfect. I am messy, and I am a required taste and honest to a fault and here I am vulnerable and a mess while I write these blog posts right down to my wording and mistakes.

While what I am writing about here are my opinions and thoughts, what I am saying is related to Bad Feminist feeding my brain so not all opinions and thoughts are my own but can be what I have picked up from Roxane Gay.

As a writer, Gay is constantly thinking about “connection and loneliness and community and belonging.” She writes, “so many of us are reaching out, hoping someone out there will grab our hands and remind us we are not as alone as we fear” As a reader, I am always thinking the same. I find myself searching for those stories that connect us as humans so I can understand more and not feel as alone as I do. While seeing and admitting my truths and the truths in this world helps me understand the world better and I feels less alone. Looking for that understanding I seek by reading leads me to want more out of what I am reading. I started to think about how women are portrayed in fiction and how well the themes the author is exploring are represented in fiction. I find myself paying more attention to that and wanting to talk about representations in stories. While I am attempting to read better, I am still going to read what I want to read and continue to read for many different reasons. I might contradict myself, and I am going to be all over the place. Sometimes I am going to care and sometimes I am not. I might get it wrong and have no idea what I am talking about, but I will question things and allow myself be messy and flawed. As always I love to see what others think so please join me by commenting.

I have read a few stories that explore privilege, and I didn’t understand what privilege really meant until I starting reading about racism. Privilege is a theme in stories I feel is often misrepresented.

Gay says “The problem is, cultural critics, talk about privilege with such alarming frequency in such empty ways, we have diluted the word’s meaning. When people wield the word “privilege,” it tends to fall on deaf ears because we hear that word so damn much it has become white noise.”

Gay addresses a bit about privilege in her essay, Peculiar Benefits and talks about what privilege is and her own privileges are.

“Privilege is a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor. There is racial privilege, gender (and identity) privilege, heterosexual privilege, religious privilege, able bodied privilege, educational privilege, and the list goes on and on. At some point, you have to surrender to the kinds of privilege you hold. Nearly everyone, particularly in the developed world, has something someone else doesn’t, something someone else yearns for.”

The problem with wielding privilege around is that it implies that people with it have it easier than others when really, if you look at yourself, you will find you have an advantage in one way or another over someone else. If you can put food on the table, you have a privilege that someone else might not have. ” to have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged.” Life is hard for most people, and wealth privilege is not what privilege is all about. So I question when authors represented privilege to money.

Gay also addresses accepting your privileges(advantages). This was something I didn’t understand before I starting feeding my brain by reading better. I would get defenses about my advantages because life has kicked us when we weren’t expecting it. However, my advantages helped us get through that. So it’s ok to acknowledge your privileges because it helps us to understand the world around us. She also mentioned ” self-appointed privilege police,” and I started to question some stories I have read and wonder about authors doing that, or maybe I am being one when I do?

“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 the world and experience the world in ways you might never know anything about.”

The great thing about privilege is we can learn from one and another!!

Well that enough of my rambling for one post and If you have made it this far, thank you so much for reading my post. Do you have any comments? I would love to hear them.

2 thoughts on “Feeding My Head by Reading Better: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay”

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I think it’s one you need to be ready for and timing is important. Not only with finding your own feminism but there is a lot of information here with the essays packed into one book. Yes, I am getting so much out of it and it has helped quiet some noise in my head and it’s nice to find a quieter voice to listen and learn from. Not all of it interests me but what does has enlightened me! Thank you for commenting!!


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