To define a ‘bad feminist,’ I guess we’d have to know the definition of a good one- but I’m not entirely sure what that is.
I’ve never questioned what kind of feminist I am; I just know that I am one, whatever that entailed. That was until, when procrastinating mid-way through an essay that was never going to happen; I came across a Ted Talk by writer Roxane Gay, talking about what it meant to be a ‘bad feminist.’
Dubbing herself a ‘bad feminist,’ she was making a joke, acknowledging that she couldn’t possibly live up to the demands for perfection of the feminist movement.
|"I am a bad feminist. I am a good woman-" Roxane Gay. Photograph: TedTalks|
This was a refreshing take on a much resuscitated topic. From all the feminist speeches I’ve watched, forced to by my all too liberal English teacher or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I could cram ‘feminism’ into a vagina shaped nutshell, because feminism is provocative like that. It hasn’t always sat well with me how seriously feminism can be taken. The only time you can laugh as a feminist is at men, and occasionally, at other women, as if to reaffirm one’s feminist status.
Gay was a breath of fresh air into a room that had been hot and stuffy for way too long. She gave zero fucks about confessing her love for rap music, despite the often less than poetic lyrics, and her hatred of what she called ‘man’s work,’ including ‘bug killing, trash removal, lawn centre, and vehicle maintenance.’ ‘I want no part of that,’ she declared proudly. Had I not been in a public library at the time, I would have jumped out of my seat with a sassy ‘YOU GO GIRL!’
Her confessions about being a ‘bad feminist,’ made me confident enough to share a little something-something about myself. So, last call, does anyone have anything they’d like to confess? Because I do:
Feminism will not stop me loving Hip Hop, despite the eye rolls from my friends accompanied with ‘how can you listen to this trash?’ I will be singing ‘baby girl you’re so damn fine though, I’d like to know if I can hit it from behind though’ * ALL DAY.
Feminism will not stop me from wearing my tightest skirt and cutest bralet on a night out, or liking compliments from men and women when I do.
Feminism will not stop me from kissing, sexting, sleeping with, canoodle-doodling with whoever I please, without the fear of being labelled a ‘slut’ by women who preach about their female solidarity and ‘squad goals.’
But, feminism will stop me from judging other women for their life choices; it will stop me from writing for publications which, although would further my career, continually degrade women, and it will stop me valuing myself according to how I am viewed by men.
And if that makes me a bad feminist, I couldn’t be prouder.
*Alas, not my own lyrical genius, but taken from Fetty Wap's '679,' for the lesser gangsters among us.
Watch Roxane Gay's TedTalk here
A final word...
This is part of a new series where I talk about stuff that no one likes to talk about, so I will. The first topic is feminism, and next week I'll be investigating the problems with modern day feminism. Hopefully I'll think of a catchier name by then, but in that unlikely event, I hope you stay tuned anyway.