Monday, 20 February 2017

Lessons Learnt from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I recently finished Bad Feminist and it was so up my street. This is such a culturally aware book that doesn't just lecture on feminism but sheds light on race, gender and sexuality and looking at these in books, films, TV, politics - it's fab. Here are some lessons/thoughts I had whilst reading the book.

- Yes white privilege exists and is real but as a black woman, even I have privilege. We all have some sort of privilege and it's important to always be aware of it, you know, so that you don't say some whack stuff.

- I should start watching Girlfriends. (I have since started and it was revolutionary?! Oh and funny and intelligent and well written. How was this year the first time Tracee Ellis Ross won a Golden Globe? Girlfriends had 8 great, successful seasons! Sigh

- Don't tear down other women. I knew this before, obvs, but it's good to affirm it.

- "Tell your friends the hard truths they need to hear. They might get pissed about it, but it's probably for their own good ... Don't be rude about truth telling, and consider how much truth telling needs to get done"

-  "[Truth telling] conversations are more fun when preceded by an emphatic "GIRL"" Or in my case, throwing in a "Haha" every couple of words always softens the blow.

- Don't be so hard on Lena Dunham. Yes, there are enough while girl narratives out there - oh my, but she can't be the voice of everyone.

-  You are who you surround yourself with.

- Likeability is a lie, a performance.

- Stand up and speak up when you hear rape jokes/language surrounding sexual violence. There is power in language yet we're becoming more and more careless.

- Katniss really is a babe.

- Silence gives consent.

- Challenge the literature you read and the films you watch. I felt really uncomfortable reading: Men Explain Things to Me, How to be a Woman - both of which exclude women of colour and were problematic for many other reasons. And , I couldn't understand for the life of me how anyone could watch The Help, and feel warm and fuzzy inside. Anyway I never really voiced these but, challenging stuff a lot of people like is good. For you and them.

- "Any time your body represents some kind of difference, your privacy is compromised to some degree"

- "Women's fiction", "Chick Lit" are actually offensive. Since when were men the measure? And then when I read books that are labelled "Chick Lit", people assume that whatever you're reading, is light, fluffy and dumb.

- Are those girls who say that Chris Brown can beat them up, being serious?

- Stop listening to Blurred Lines. And anything else by Robin Thicke.

- It's okay to not want to see Viola Davis in another maid/slave/struggle role again.

- I'm tired of the struggle narrative concerning people of colour. But we should also constructively criticise those who try to do offer other narratives but don't get it right - that's what'll make them better. I was sh-oc-ked when Roxane Gay explained the plot of Tyler Perry's Temptation, a woman in an unhappy marriage, seemingly unsatisfied with her sex life? I don't know but anyway, she has an affair. Her punishment? The guy nearly kills her, her husband saves her life and then leaves her to have a happy life with a brand new family. Her punishment? She gets HIV and at the end of the film, is seen limping to church ....

- Twitter is can be great and powerful and be used as a source of good. Current favourite hashtag: thankyoumattdamon

- We all carry some racism.

- I too am a bad feminist. I'm full of contradictions - Woody Allen is one of my favourite directors, I love rachet sexist music, I make mistakes, I don't always word things in the most thoughtful or diplomatic way. But bad feminism is better than no feminism.



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