Nine Times Roxane Gay Was the ‘Bad Feminist’ We All Needed

At this point, we’ve pretty much all come to know and love Roxane Gay. Her book of essays, Bad Feminist recently became a New York Times Bestseller, her tweets are personable and often hysterical, and despite stating that she is in no way a leader, Roxane Gay is giving a voice to the lingering doubts and questions we all sometimes have about feminism and what it means. Gay delivered a book so full of hope and spot on observations about feminism and how it intersects in day to day life, that it’s hard not to see her as an inspiration. Here are nine outstanding quotes from Bad Feminist that show just how Roxane Gay was the feminist voice we didn’t know we needed.


On her goals:“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”

On pop culture: “The moment we see a pop artifact offering even a sliver of something different—say, a woman who isn’t a size zero or who doesn’t treat a man as the center of the universe—we cling to it desperately because that representation is all we have.”

On accepting differences:“We don’t all have to believe in the same feminism. Feminism can be pluralistic so long as we respect the different feminisms we carry with us, so long as we give enough of a damn to try to minimize the fractures among us.”

On the problem with criticism:“When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.”

On our lack of leadership:“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.”

On global equality:“I believe women not just in the United States but throughout the world deserve equality and freedom but know I am in no position to tell women of other cultures what that equality and freedom should look like.”

On confidence:“I approach most things in life with a dangerous level of confidence to balance my generally low self-esteem.”

On being misunderstood:“I get angry when women disavow feminism and shun the feminist label but say they support all the advances born of feminism because I see a disconnect that does not need to be there.”

On the big picture:“No matter what issues I have with feminism, I am a feminist. I cannot and will not deny the importance and absolute necessity of feminism. Like most people, I am full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman. I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

This was definitely one of those books I felt like I constantly needed a pen to read!

Have you read Bad Feminist? What did you think?

Leave a Reply


  1. I think we are riding a wave of feminist awareness right now and Gay has done a lot to contribute to that. For years it seems like people just weren’t talking about the everyday sexism in the world around us. I think it is really important that people are thinking and talking about it again.