Am I a “Bad Feminist?”

After watching Roxane Gay’s Ted Talk of her coming out as a “Bad Feminist” it really got me thinking.  Am I a “Bad Feminist” too?  Roxane Gay listens to offensive rap music that degrades women, she likes the color pink and The Bachelor, she embraces women who stay at home and take care of their children, and she believes in “man work.”  I realized that I am very similar to Roxane Gay and we share similar beliefs like when she said that she would “Rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”  I completely agree.  Many women fear the label of being called a feminist because there are so many negative stereotypes out there about feminists like how people think they are all “hairy, angry, man-hating, sex-hating women.”  I will admit because of those stereotypes I have never once referred to myself as a feminist.  Although, I do strongly believe in equality for all including equal pay, equal work, and many other feminist ideas.  I never realized before that anyone can call themself a feminist and that many feminists are different from one another.  Feminists are under a lot of pressure to be perfect, but perfection is not realistic.  Feminists are fighting for what they believe in and they should not be judged for that by others.  Roxane Gay said, “None of us are the nothing the world tries to tell us we are,” which spoke to me because it felt like Roxane Gay was talking to me and saying that I can make a difference by being a feminist, even if I am a “bad feminist.”

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3 thoughts on “Am I a “Bad Feminist?”

  1. I completely had the same reaction to Gay’s Ted Talk, it really made me reflect on my role as a women and if I’m considered a bad feminist. Similarly to you, I also never would’ve called myself a feminist before taking this class, and I listen to explicated degrading-women rap music just because its catchy. After listening to Gay’s Ted Talk, now I also see that there is way more to being a feminist than the public portrays it, and the rude stereotypes overshadowing the connotation of being a feminist. Similar to you, I also strongly believe in equality for all including equal pay, equal work, and many other feminist ideas that I didn’t even know would qualify me to be a feminist. However, I guess I might call myself a bad feminist now, and many other women who watched Gay’s Ted Talk probably feel the same way now. Gay did exactly what she was intending to do: make women realized you can be a bad feminist, but still be a feminist.

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  2. After watching Roxane’s TED Talk, I also had the same reaction. Before watching it, I never considered myself a feminist and to be honest, throughout high school I would hear girls call themselves feminists and they were the stereotypical feminist; so of course I didn’t want to associate myself with them. Roxane was right when she talked about at first thinking of herself not as a feminist because she didn’t want to be associated with that and then came to the realization that she can’t help wanting these simple freedoms and rights that women are striving for and that it would be ridiculous not to be. After watching her talk, I would consider myself to be a feminist and even if I’m a bad one, I’d rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all. I also agree with you that feminists can be different and that we’re not all the same because quite frankly, we’re women that have many subcategories and we all have different wants and needs which is what Roxane touches on. As a now so- called ‘bad feminist’, I agree with you that it felt like she was talking to me and that I can make a difference.

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  3. After reading your post, I couldn’t help but think that I am the exact same way. Of course I am all for women and men being treated equally and so on; however, I was never one of those girls to be extreme feminist. Like Roxana Gay, I never considered myself as a feminist at all. I don’t think it’s because I don’t believe in feministic ways, but the amount of backlash and negativity extreme feminists get kind of ruined the idea of feminism for me. So I guess all in all, I would rather be a bad feminist than not a feminist at all.

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