I read Bad Feminist for a previous CBR, and really liked it a lot. Roxane Gay’s voice is crucial in feminist discourse, and I highly recommend her to anyone who wants to be a better intersectional feminist. That said, Bad Feminist was billed to me as a hilarious book, and it absolutely is not. That’s not a knock on it, but the marketing. I did feel, however, that the marketing for Hunger was much more appropriate and left me more prepared for what I was about to read. Except, with Gay, you are not to expect anything ordinary.
[Trigger warning for those who need it: rape and sexual violence]
Gay talks about being gang-raped when she was thirteen by her then-boyfriend and his friends in Bad Feminist, but here, she delves into this episode and the ripple effects it had on her self-esteem, self-worth, and relationship to her body. She discusses her weight and her body in minute, uncomfortable detail. This is a heartbreaking memoir about her body and the issues that come with being fat, and more crucially, being seen as fat. Gay packs a punch with every sentence and every short chapter.
This book was a challenge to read, but it was necessary and vital. Gay asks for no pity, but only understanding and empathy. I think this is a crucial read, in that it self-examines and then moves outward. I found myself absorbing a lot of ideas about body image and figuring out how I can change my own discourse to be more inclusive and less shaming. This is a difficult book to read, but it is an absolute must for a feminist bookshelf.
Cross-posted to my blog.