Fiction writer explains new book “Bad Feminist”

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Roxane Gay, author of “Bad Feminist,” takes questions from students and faculty during her talk about her book Monday. Gay read excerpts from her book and took questions from attendees.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Before reading from her book, Roxane Gay, fiction writer and blogger, talked about her tendency to write fantasies about famous men in her spare time. 

“I have one about Channing Tatum,” Gay said. “But I couldn’t read that one, or I would lose my shit.”

The Moody College of Communication hosted a discussion Monday in Calhoun Hall for Gay to talk about and read from her book “Bad Feminist.” Her book is a collection of essays in which she focuses on feminist issues, such as equal opportunity and reproductive freedom.

“My goal is to make feminism more inclusive,” Gay said, “It’s to differentiate between old feminism and to where feminism is headed.”

Gay gave reasons why she would be considered a “bad feminist.”  

“When I drive to work, I like to listen to thuggish rap music,” Gay said. “The classic Ying Yang Twin’s song ‘Salt Shaker,’ it’s amazing. ‘Bitch, you gotta shake it till your camel starts to hurt’— poetry.” 

Gay said this and other practices are defined by the “caricature,” that society has given feminism. She said the caricature is misleading for women, and some who are really just bad feminists do not consider themselves to be feminists at all.

Gay also talked about state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and her filibuster of Senate Bill 5, a legislative measure that would close 32 abortion clinics in Texas. She said she witnessed the June 2013 event via live stream.

“It was the sound of women fighting for reproductive freedom in the only way they could — with their voices,” Gay said.

Jessica Mitchell, educational psychology graduate student, attended the discussion and said she believes women should always strive to be feminists even if they consider themselves to be a “bad feminist.” 

“They can be a feminist and not be perfect, but that doesn’t make them any less of a feminist,” Mitchell said.

Despite habits that make her a “bad feminist,” Gay discussed current issues that make feminism necessary.

“I have a job I’m pretty good at,” Gay said. “I’m on committees. People respect me and take my counsel. I want to be strong and professional, but I resent on how hard I have to work to be taken seriously to get the fraction of the consideration I would otherwise receive.”